A preview build of the indie title Hotline Miami 2 has drawn criticisms due to a scene where the player is encouraged to rape a female character.
According to a hands-on preview from PC Gamer, the game depicts a scene where an unnamed female enemy is attacked before the words 'Finish Her' appear on the screen.
Cara Ellison, the writer of the preview article, explained:
"I stroll up to finish the job. Instead, the control is taken from me by the game, and my character, the Pig Butcher, pins her down and drops his trousers.
It is understood that the rape is part of a fictional in-game movie scene between two digital actors. After the incident, a director apparently shouts "cut", though it is not known how clear this has been made in the game.
The writer felt "resentment" after the scene, she said: "This is it, I think. I am feeling betrayal. I feel betrayed by something I love".
Hotline Miami 2 is a highly anticipated sequel of the 2012 original, developed by the small indie team at the Sweden based Dennaton Games. The original was extensively praised, and its fictional exaggerated violence was one of the elements of the game that found favour among critics.
However, the rape scene appears to have crossed a line for some within the industry. Others have highlighted the importance of the preview write-up as the industry tries to balance creative freedom against issues of glamorising feared crimes.
Sean Duncan, an assistant professor researching games at Indiana University, wrote on his personal Twitter page: "this game disgusts me".
Ed Fear, a designer at London studio Mediatonic, said he hoped the developers would take a look at PC Gamer's article.
Michael French, the editor-in-chief of games industry publications Develop and MCV, tweeted:
Not surprised one bit that the almost-tasteless Hotline Miami has crossed the line in the sequel: http://t.co/JviEntzhR0— Michael French (@Michael_French) August 15, 2013
CVG has contacted Dennaton to ask if it wishes to respond to the criticisms.