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To return to the beginning, why, then, are you doing the modified edition?
GDF: The reason why we're doing it is that, well, there is this deal in place with this distributor. He wants to have a 16 version, so we are releasing it. It was also, I would say, an exercise -- it was an act for us to understand where the limit was.
And we were extremely surprised by what we've been asked to change in the game to go from an 18 to a 16-plus, which I think makes absolutely no sense. The difference between the PEGI 18 game and the PEGI 16 game is one scene: the scene with where Madison dances in front of Paco in the nightclub.
The scene in the office, in the nightclub?
GDF: In the office in the nightclub. We didn't really get a reason for that. Obviously, it's because she's forced to do it with the gun. Very honestly, if I would have had to put a token on the scene, I would never have thought it would be this scene. Because for me, this scene has been written... It's clearly over the top.
We wanted players to feel a little bit uncomfortable, because it's a scene where we wanted to show that Madison was ready to go very far to get to the information she was seeking -- that she was really strong-minded, and that she was prepared to take a risk to obtain what she wanted.
However, apart from the fact that she dances and has to undress up to a certain limit, she can't really come into harm's way. There's nothing you can do -- we didn't want her to be raped, or whatever. Of course not. So you feel uncomfortable, as the player, and we wanted you to feel like Madison -- like you know what's going on here, and I really don't want to undress, and I have to, etcetera.
On the other hand, the only outcome of this scene is you take the lamp, you slam the guy, and then you take revenge on him. But also in a really relatively humoristic way, I think. She presses his balls, and he has to say "Ahh!" And it's clearly over the top. For me, it's kind of strange humor, but it's not something [where] a 16-year old can't see this scene. Come on. There's nothing in this scene that's shocking to me. And we felt that this was an excuse.
GDF: That the wrong rating had been given in the first place, and they wanted just for us to cut something in there, to say there is a difference.
While it's true from the perspective that, if you're aware of what the choices and options are in that scene, we know that no real harm can come to Madison.
GDF: Of course.
But playing through that scene before you know what the outcome is, you can have a really sick feeling in your gut about what might happen there, right?
GDF: It is true. It is true, but this is also what we wanted. Because we want the player to feel uncomfortable -- and if you feel uncomfortable, it means that you're a normal person. You see what I mean?
But is there something shocking in this scene at the end? I'm sorry, no, there's nothing shocking. There's nothing, I think, that makes a difference between a 16 and an 18 rated game.
I expected for instance the finger cutting scene, maybe, because that's quite a dramatic, emotionally heavy scene, and some people might say that it's a bit violent. That, maybe, I could have maybe understood -- but not even. That wasn't the case.
What did you have to change about that scene that you're changing?
GDF: Well, they wanted multiple changes. At the end, it was so complex to do what they wanted, that we decided to go for a fade. So you enter the office, there's a fade to black, and you hear what's happening. And you basically understand that she's hitting him and is getting the information.
The topic of depictions of sexual violence against women is certainly something that needs to be handled sensitively.
GDF: Totally. But we're absolutely not endorsing it in any way. Or it's not an invitation to do that. On the contrary, it ends badly for Paco, and at the end you felt proud of Madison, the girl.
How do you feel about the treatment of Madison as a character in general in the game? Because I've heard criticisms. Some people feel like there's too much "woman in peril" stuff in the game.
GDF: She's a strong character, to me. The very first scene, she's fighting against, I think, three guys, if I remember well -- it's in her nightmare, of course. She's quite clever. She is athletic. I think it's quite a nice role.
Yeah, but nobody's chasing Jayden around in his underwear.
GDF: That's true. But there is a reason why she's in her underwear in that apartment. She can't find sleep. She was basically in bed -- you understanding me? She was basically in bed. We didn't want to show in a particular sexist way, just for the sake of showing a butt, or a breast. For instance, when she goes into the shower, there's also a reason for that.
We wanted to show, at the same time, that the character was strong but also fragile. Not because she's a woman, but that's the characterization of her. And I think she's a central character. If I compare it to other games, I think it's an interesting role for a female character.