Hotline Miami 2 Dev to Australians: "Just Pirate The Game"

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Hotline Miami 2 Dev to Australians: "Just Pirate The Game"

Hotline Miami 2

Lead Hotline Miami 2 developer Jonatan Söderström says he is OK with Aussies pirating the game if it gets banned in the country.

Well here's a new one for you: a developer actually encouraging his fans to pirate his game. As you may have heard, Hotline Miami 2 has been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it from sale in the region. Normally, developers can edit the game and re-submit a censored version in hopes that it will be approved, but as Devolver Digital has released a statement stating that it will not be appealing the decision, the odds of Aussies being able to buy Hotline Miami 2 are quite low. So, what should Australian fans do? Go ahead and pirate it, according to its lead developer.

A post popped up on the Australia subreddit, where a fan reportedly asked Lead Hotline Miami 2 developer Jonatan Söderström if there would be any way for him to get his hands on the game. Söderström appeared to give his blessing to simply pirate the game, and when we reached out to Söderström ourselves for clarification, he told us, "If there will be no way other way of acquiring the game in Australia, of course I won't mind if people pirate it," adding that "Money has never been my main objective when creating games."

This wouldn't be the first time the Hotline Miami team has embraced piracy. Back in the days of the original release, Söderström went to torrent websites and actively tried to help out pirates who were having trouble with the game, encouraging seeders to please update their torrents to the latest version.

So there you have it, Söderström himself has given Aussies the go ahead to just pirate the game if the refused classification decision sticks.

As a small legal note: while games that are refused classification are illegal to sell in Australia, they are not actually illegal to own if you manage to get your hands on them some way. However, we at The Escapist do not approve of software piracy in any shape or form, as it is still an illegal act.

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Hot damn I love these guys. Suck on that Classification Board!

Thank you for putting in the extra note informing people that it's legal to buy and own it :-)
For fellow Aussies who want the game may I recommend you go to GoG.com, Ozgameshop, Green Man Gaming etc and just buy it from one of them. A dev that says something like this deserves the little bit of extra effort it takes to pay them for the game they've made.

See, I completely understand these devs, because if I made games I'd be largely the same.

Money is important, because we live in a society where you need it to do just about anything (or even just survive)
But that doesn't necessarily mean getting money is the primary reason why people create stuff.

If I create things, at the end of the day I WANT people to enjoy them.

It annoys me how so many things can just get lost in the mists of time because as soon as they are no longer profitable they get abandoned somewhere in a way that makes doing illegal things the only really viable way of keeping them alive.

Still, as much as I believe all that, piracy is highly questionable, and I don't understand people that feel entitled to pirate anything and everything. Not for any real reason, just because they feel like it.

I don't mind turning a blind eye to piracy in 'grey areas' (old games that are hard to find, obscure software, etc. - Anything that is really hard to get hold of in any legal manner), but to advocate doing it just because you can is so, so wrong.

Anyway, good for you, Jonatan.

I, ironically am in Australia, but... I don't feel particularly inclined to go with this idea. I'm sure there's still ways to get it considering Australia's stance on imports...
(and the whole world-wide digital distribution thing. Though admittedly steam makes its content regional...)

Does the developer own the IP? If so, it's not piracy, if not, their opinion isn't that relevant.

Well damn, I have to respect that, I have to buy it now, one way or another.

thaluikhain:
Does the developer own the IP? If so, it's not piracy, if not, their opinion isn't that relevant.

im wondering that myself, is it illegal if the developer themselves gives people the go ahead to pirate the game.. that said the announcement has probably pissed off the censorship board and there might be fall out from that for them.

I am curious to see what happen from hear even though i have no interest in the game itself, i found the first one needed reflexes of a redbull addicted 12yo on crack.

*edit* its not the first time its happened though phantasmagoria was banned here for an implied sexual violence scene as well

Am I right in thinking that being gifted the game on Steam from someone outside of Australia would legally circumvent the 'ban'? I'm in Germany, and I did that with the original Borderlands. So maybe there could be a support thread for Australians to get in touch with people abroad who were willing to gift them the game in return for a small donation to their paypal accounts?

mjharper:
Am I right in thinking that being gifted the game on Steam from someone outside of Australia would legally circumvent the 'ban'? I'm in Germany, and I did that with the original Borderlands. So maybe there could be a support thread for Australians to get in touch with people abroad who were willing to gift them the game in return for a small donation to their paypal accounts?

I am willing to do that to get the game Senpai. i don't want to miss out on the uncensored versions of any games anymore.

I seriously don't understand that ... The devs say "asses feel free to pirate" but you guys say piracy is illegal? To me this like a girl saying "yes" to sex but you guys still saying it's rape.

If the people who made the game say go ahead, why are you cock blocking? This only applies to Aussies, so anybody else, I agree that they should buy.

small:
im wondering that myself, is it illegal if the developer themselves gives people the go ahead to pirate the game..

omega 616:
If the people who made the game say go ahead

One of them, who might not be the owner, or sole owner of the IP. Maybe they work with, or for, other people. Or sold the rights to someone else.

Good on 'em. Good to see them using a bit of common sense on the matter. If it's completely legally impossible for them to purchase it, what does it matter if it's pirated?

Also, who wants to play "how many winks were in that last paragraph" with me? I'm going with 4.

Well I was going to buy this anyway, but I'm.. going to buy it harder..(?) now.

I appreciate the thought of "does this come from this one guy and therefore does it count?" so I wonder if there's going to be some official stance of "knock yourselves out and pirate our game" from them just to clear things up.

I too would love to see clarification on the matter of whether it'd still be illegal to pirate if it comes with the creators' blessing. Although surely at that point it can't be classified as piracy and instead just becomes free copying and digital distribution..?

I'm just going to remind everyone that if you live in Western Australia, it is illegal to possess this game even with the consent of the creators. Hell, until recently it was a crime to own Left 4 Dead 2.

I was not really interested in the game.

However...
Now I am. Seems like they gained a sale here :P

thaluikhain:

small:
im wondering that myself, is it illegal if the developer themselves gives people the go ahead to pirate the game..

omega 616:
If the people who made the game say go ahead

One of them, who might not be the owner, or sole owner of the IP. Maybe they work with, or for, other people. Or sold the rights to someone else.

Jonatan Söderström is the co-founder and lead developer of Dennaton Games, the developer of Hotline Miami. Devolver Digital is the publisher who will actually distribute the game. While obviously I don't have a copy of their contract, it's incredibly unlikely that Söderström has any authority or right to allow people to pirate the game. I certainly sympathise with his sentiment, but anyone who actually pirates the game will not be doing so legally.

wow. thats something you dont hear every day from a developer. even when i still dont care for the game, they sure got my respect for this.

So instead of telling people to just find some work arounds... tell them to pirate it... whatever the guy has form in this stuff so oh well. I was going to get it but now I'll just wait for it be given out on +, got other stuff I'll be paying for to play anyway.

I'd like to see what The Escapist approves and doesn't approve going by that last line as I've never gotten a response on that, and likely never will as the nature of such things is nebulous on purpose.
I mean the escapist were running an article on that "illegal" or "disallowed" (likely better word for people not to misunderstand) emulator on iPhones telling us to "enjoy it while you can" so I'm sorry if I don't have the biggest faith on where they stand... but tiny minority and all that so who cares really.

RicoADF:
Thank you for putting in the extra note informing people that it's legal to buy and own it :-)
For fellow Aussies who want the game may I recommend you go to GoG.com, Ozgameshop, Green Man Gaming etc and just buy it from one of them.

Just to clarify, while I don't know of anyone personally who has had an RC game seized on import, it can happen, and you can be fined for it. I have had legal games opened and inspected (customs put a sticker on it telling you they've done so), but I've been lucky when it comes to RC games I've imported.

From the Classification Board website:

"Can I import something that is banned in Australia?

In short, no. If a film, computer game or publication has been classified RC (Refused Classification), or would be classified RC, it can be seized by Customs on the basis that it is a prohibited import. You should check the National Classification Database (NCD) to see if the product you plan on importing has been classified RC."

Just for the record, that has never stopped me.

Banned Game? Just pirate it and show to the government you don't care! - Hotline Miami 2 Developer

Actually, the only reason software piracy is illegal is because it's reproduction of a copyrighted work without the copyright holder's consent.

The copyright holder just gave his consent, therefore "piracy" by Aussies isn't piracy at all. That means the disclaimer isn't really necessary because no one here is advocating an illegal act.

deth2munkies:
Actually, the only reason software piracy is illegal is because it's reproduction of a copyrighted work without the copyright holder's consent.

The copyright holder just gave his consent, therefore "piracy" by Aussies isn't piracy at all. That means the disclaimer isn't really necessary because no one here is advocating an illegal act.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotline_Miami_2:_Wrong_Number

They have a publisher you know. A more "sympathetic" than the norm no doubt... but I doubt they've given this "go ahead".

I don't think there's a "go ahead" that can be discussed here. I can literally see the guy shrugging and saying "well, there's nothing else for you to do, Australian gamers who want this, get it on torrents".

It's not "giving green light" or whatever, there's no legal discussion here. It's just a matter of fact statement.

If you're that upset about piracy, you can donate the cost of the game to the devs. There, guilty conscience averted.

I dunno man, I dunno... I was initially outraged when I heard that the game had been Refused Classification in Australia -why would they give us an R-rating if they're then not going to use it?- until I heard the reason it was RC: a scene where your playable character smashes into a room, viciously murders a bunch of guys, then knocks down and brutally and graphically rapes a woman in the middle of the screen. What the fuck, man? I'm not surprised it was RC and I'm not terribly sympathetic to the developers if they're going to refuse to edit the game and resubmit it for reclassification. There are lines you shouldn't cross. This isn't "artistic integrity", this is childishness. While I'm normally in favour of pirating games you have no legal access to, I feel this guy is just trying to flip off the Australian ratings board. "Oh, you don't like brutal rape scenes? Well fuck you Big Brother, you can't stop your people from brutally raping women if they want to! Censorship! Censorship!"

EDIT: OK, I checked out the updated news article and found out that in context your character is acting in a movie and the director calls 'cut' right after the rape starts. Still strikes me as incredibly, dangerously tasteless.

Rozalia1:
So instead of telling people to just find some work arounds... tell them to pirate it... whatever the guy has form in this stuff so oh well. I was going to get it but now I'll just wait for it be given out on +, got other stuff I'll be paying for to play anyway.

I'd like to see what The Escapist approves and doesn't approve going by that last line as I've never gotten a response on that, and likely never will as the nature of such things is nebulous on purpose.
I mean the escapist were running an article on that "illegal" or "disallowed" (likely better word for people not to misunderstand) emulator on iPhones telling us to "enjoy it while you can" so I'm sorry if I don't have the biggest faith on where they stand... but tiny minority and all that so who cares really.

I know you see the world in black and white (which is IMHO a VERY dangerous way of thinking), but why does this rustle your jimmies so much :( ??

You see, what they did here had the opposite effect with me. I was no interested in the game, but now I am. They probably got a sale now. And dare I say, they probably lost very few sales and gained more with this move.

The publisher was the same for Hotline Miami too. So I guess Devolver is with the developers on this one.
Also, what alternative way do you recommend for Australians? I honestly dont know, we dont have anything resembling censorship on games here.

thaluikhain:

small:
im wondering that myself, is it illegal if the developer themselves gives people the go ahead to pirate the game..

omega 616:
If the people who made the game say go ahead

One of them, who might not be the owner, or sole owner of the IP. Maybe they work with, or for, other people. Or sold the rights to someone else.

It's published by Devolver Digitial. So the same people who publish Serious Sam ironically
.
I guess the publisher is very hands off when it comes to devs views and handles on piracy. As someone probably would have got told to stop it at some point.

thaluikhain:
Does the developer own the IP? If so, it's not piracy, if not, their opinion isn't that relevant.

Just out of curiosity, do you really consider that important? Not in terms of legality I mean, he probably isn't "sole owner of the IP" and pirating it probably would be technically illegal, but in terms of the morality of it?

If it were America, the government would go out of its way to track illegal seeding of the game to prosecute people for pirating it. You know, just to prove a point that they can't be defied or some nonsense. Hopefully, the Australian government is backwards enough to not track that, or just doesn't care in this instance. I just hope the ESRB doesn't rate the game AO. Then we're probably getting hit with a delay / publisher censored content.

Arcane Azmadi:
I dunno man, I dunno... I was initially outraged when I heard that the game had been Refused Classification in Australia -why would they give us an R-rating if they're then not going to use it?- until I heard the reason it was RC: a scene where your playable character smashes into a room, viciously murders a bunch of guys, then knocks down and brutally and graphically rapes a woman in the middle of the screen. What the fuck, man? I'm not surprised it was RC and I'm not terribly sympathetic to the developers if they're going to refuse to edit the game and resubmit it for reclassification. There are lines you shouldn't cross. This isn't "artistic integrity", this is childishness. While I'm normally in favour of pirating games you have no legal access to, I feel this guy is just trying to flip off the Australian ratings board. "Oh, you don't like brutal rape scenes? Well fuck you Big Brother, you can't stop your people from brutally raping women if they want to! Censorship! Censorship!"

EDIT: OK, I checked out the updated news article and found out that in context your character is acting in a movie and the director calls 'cut' right after the rape starts. Still strikes me as incredibly, dangerously tasteless.

Also, as a note, that scene doesn't happen the way it is described. I know this may seem petty, but the board describes the scene as the player "making thrusting actions" aka showing the rape, whereas in the actual video if I recall correctly he walks over her then the scene fades while the crew call a cut. Or a re-take or whatever.

Still, I find it a high hypocrisy that you feel that was the worst part. Before he does any of this he shoots four men in the head with a pistol. How horrible is that? Except people just don't care about that.

OT:
Awesome Dev is awesome. Still gonna try and find a way to pay for it though.

Arcane Azmadi:
I'm not surprised it was RC and I'm not terribly sympathetic to the developers if they're going to refuse to edit the game and resubmit it for reclassification.

Why the should they have to edit their game? because moralizing arseholes have decided they can restrict what adults can or can't enjoy without giving any real justification?

There are lines you shouldn't cross.

Oh and why is that? saying art shouldn't depict certain things because it may or may not be tasteless is absurb.

As a small legal note: while games that are refused classification are illegal to sell in Australia, they are not actually illegal to own if you manage to get your hands on them some way. However, we at The Escapist do not approve of software piracy in any shape or form, as it is still an illegal act.

It's not an illegal act if the owner of the copyright gives it the okay though, as in this case it won't be illegal for people in Australia to pirate the game, so it's okay to tell them to do it.

Arcane Azmadi:
EDIT: OK, I checked out the updated news article and found out that in context your character is acting in a movie and the director calls 'cut' right after the rape starts. Still strikes me as incredibly, dangerously tasteless.

According to the creator that's a main plot point to the game, and apparently has the female character talking about and dealing with that scene in the movie they were making. It sure is easy to make something look horrible when you take it out of context isn't it?

thaluikhain:

small:
im wondering that myself, is it illegal if the developer themselves gives people the go ahead to pirate the game..

omega 616:
If the people who made the game say go ahead

One of them, who might not be the owner, or sole owner of the IP. Maybe they work with, or for, other people. Or sold the rights to someone else.

He's part of the two man team which owns the company, and the project manager from Devolver digital didn't criticize Jonatan when he gave advice to people who torrented the game during an interview with Eurogamer.

Going off the website Dennaton Games owns the copyright to Hotline Miami, so it wasn't sold to other people.

Charcharo:
I know you see the world in black and white (which is IMHO a VERY dangerous way of thinking), but why does this rustle your jimmies so much :( ??

You see, what they did here had the opposite effect with me. I was no interested in the game, but now I am. They probably got a sale now. And dare I say, they probably lost very few sales and gained more with this move.

The publisher was the same for Hotline Miami too. So I guess Devolver is with the developers on this one.
Also, what alternative way do you recommend for Australians? I honestly dont know, we dont have anything resembling censorship on games here.

Because people want any excuse to excuse their rule breaking and this only emboldens them.

Could you quantify that for me? No that isn't possible, but I very much doubt this "goodwill" if you can call it that has made that many more people buy the game.

Australia isn't region locked on Steam is it? No don't think so but if a problem than GOG exists for example.
If that doesn't work than get it on console and use a European/American account to buy it and download it to your console.

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