Ryan Godling: Hotline Miami Comes To Steam

By Alec Meer on August 13th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

Sweet hat, dude

Hotline Miami will eat your children, and then you will ask to marry it. I have a new preview build on my PC, but I’m almost too intimidated by its brutal wonder to play it. While I attempt to gather courage, you could play it yourself if you’re attending GamesCom. Or, if you can wait a little longer, you’ll be able to buy it via Steam. That’s today’s announcement for Dennaton’s neon-hued odyssey of top-down sadism, though sadly it is not accompanied by a release date. You’ll have to make do with watching the new trailer below, featuring one of the best bits of the game’s soundtrack, and wishing Hotline Miami would somehow materialise on your hard drive.

Someone asked in a comments while back why RPS would enthuse over this when we’re so prone to being sneery about manshoots. Well, first of all, we’re only sneery about the manshoots that are broadly just repetitions of manshoots previous.

Secondly, HLM’s greatest trick – outside of its excellent style – is that each and every move and action must be planned in advance. In something like COD, you purely react to enemies as and when they appear in front of you. In HLM, you need to decide exactly what it is you’re going to do, where you’re going to aim and where you’re going to move to after each flash of conflict- all in advance of taking even your first step. It’s psychedelic chess in a blood-splattered sports jacket, not a pop-up shooting gallery.

More soon, once I’ve allowed this new build to dominate my being.

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38 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    After the last pragagraph, I have no idea how this will play.

    • Priestman says:

      After playing it at Indie Connect in Berlin, I can tell you that the game requires both a planned set of actions and a precise execution. You’ll die a lot, but it’s the kind of game you just keep at, finding pleasure in the violence and the release when you complete a floor in each building you invade.

      Essentially, you’ll pay for every little mistake you make.

    • Sean2D2 says:

      From the impressions I’ve read there is often a specific path and method for dispatching everyone in a level, and the solution is often found through trial and error. Failure comes often, but frustration is subdued due to fast respawns.

      I’m expecting the same addictive qualities and fun-not-frustrating difficulty levels as Super Meatboy.

  2. Premium User Badge

    bglamb says:

    Gonna have that stuck in my head all day again now!

    ~”Doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-doo-be-Wooo-oo.”~

  3. Premium User Badge

    mrwonko says:

    Ah, one of the few things I’ll check out at Gamescom for sure! All the “big” stuff will have queues to infinity (especialy Blizzard – theirs will probably go to infinity and back), but I expect this to be far more bearable. Nice to know the actual location, too.

  4. Premium User Badge

    felisc says:

    Really looks fun. I enjoy killing people with style listening to a punchy soundtrack (and in the game!).
    Splat sfx don’t sound very splatty though, after Drive i expect every stomp to the face to sound like a thousand melons being squished.

  5. Premium User Badge

    jezcentral says:

    I’ve never heard of this before, so my immediate reaction is “This looks like an absolute pile”. What about this should enthuse me about the future of gaming?

    It’s a sincere question. I’m not the type to turn a game down purely on graphics (and I love Frozen Synapse), but all I can see from this report is an 8-bit Rainbow Six, with a luxurious beard.

    • Chris D says:

      You know that link in the first sentence of the article? You should click on it. Quickly! before Alec finds you!

      • Premium User Badge

        jezcentral says:

        Alas, I am still unenthused. :(

        • hello_mr.Trout says:

          but it’s cactus! creator of mondo medical, and mondo agency, and norrland! fantastic games – & evenso you may not like the games, they are always interesting and do explore different gameplay themes/modes consistently – more than can be said for other ‘shinier’ releases perhaps. i myself am still avidly waiting for mondo nation to be released

    • Jesse L says:

      I believe in your sincerity, but you’re not going to change your mind.

    • One Million Monkeys says:

      “8-bit Rainbow Six, with a luxurious beard” would be a tagline that could sell any game

  6. Isometric says:

    Give it! Give it now!

  7. salejemaster says:

    MIAMIFACE

  8. Tei says:

    Our ancestor, the dinosaur, used to play videogames where muscle memory was more important than having fun. What teach us? nothing. The dinosaurs where killed by the reapers, and now is our turn.

  9. Bilbo1981 says:

    I love the theme of this game it reminds me of Postal/GTA 1, its cartoony but dark as hell. I mean you put on a plastic mask and go around killing people, also it kind of has the same vibe of an old Amiga game called DreamWeb

    • Leandro says:

      I’m personally reminded of Alien Breed: old-school 2D, bloody shooting from a 90° top-down perspective, and the way dead bodies lie on the ground. I’d guess Alien Breed probably was a big inspiration, but I’m excited about the difference mouse controls will make.

  10. sonson says:

    I don’t get it.

    I’m not worried about what the game will do to people. I don’t think that it will inspire actual, real life murder.

    But in a month where dozens of people have been openly gunned down in places where they assumed they would be safe, I don’t think playing a game which simulates a home invasion is a savoury use of time.

    Yes, people should be allowed to make it, yes people should be allowed to play it, but people should also be permitted to question it’s decency, taste and proclaim that it seems pretty fucking disgusting too.

    I’m not sure what type of point it is trying to make;. I feel it is rather reacting to a straw man argument to begin with-Video game violence, oh no, think of the children etc-but if that is the case it’s just as sensationalised and removed of substance of worth as the media coverage it’s lampooning. An angry retort to people who aren’t interested in a reply in the first place. I don’t want gaming to become reactive like that. I like the fact that it has a strong element which makes it progressive, forward thinking medium. Leave the mud slinging and the tawdry shock tactics to someone else.

    If it isn’t trying to make a point, then I feel that it’s a pretty fucking nasty subject matter to use as empty inspiration.

    RPS is defending it because it’s different to other manshoots? Fair enough. What makes it a better commentary on the subject of murder than other games where you kill people? The fact that you plan it out beforehand? Why is that *better*? Solely because it’s different? Why is the subject matter necessary? How do the mechanics of solving puzzles and going postal fit together in a way that makes this something worthy of coverage and not just exploitative?

    Games like this make me feel..I dunno. Just because the usual case of videogames vs violence is a weak and broken one doesn’t mean that there aren’t stronger, alternative questions to ask. From where I’m standing this is being portrayed as something impressive or of substance because the reaction to it will be hysterical and confused. If you take away that context though it just looks sad, insubstantial and and nihilistic to me. Too many people buying into it because of what it will provoke rather than what it is, methinks.

    • BAshment says:

      The fact that you find it distasteful is to it’s credit in my opinion. sanitising violence seems a lot worse to me then showing it for what it is.

    • Jesse L says:

      Yeah, it doesn’t seem to be about home invasion. In Alec’s preview, the building contained an attack dog and about a dozen men armed with shotguns, baseball bats, and assault rifles. Not a home.

      This doesn’t seem to be a power fantasy where you bust into a house and brutalize a family. It’s almost the opposite – you seem to start each level with no weapon, and your mission is to kill a gang of armed thugs. One wrong move and you’re the dead guy. I think that’s where most of the excitement comes from – overcoming the challenge.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      While I do agree that there should be more games that actually do say something about violence, it seems strange that you automatically assume that this does. Not every game does or should do that.
      Your link to recent events also seems strange. Development of this game started before those events and release will be some time after. The first article linked here is from july 18th, while the shooting was on july 20th. As a developer you can’t really predict what will happen in the real world while you’re making the game. It’s a bit silly to assume it’s somehow related.
      If anything, this seems like a pastiche of a certain form of pop culture, commenting on, or at least playing off that rather than anything in the real world.

      • sonson says:

        I wasn’t suggesting for a moment that this was made in light of recent events, or anything of the sort. My point was just that I personally feel uneasy with engaging with some of the elements that made said events so horrific to us all-stepping into somewhere and shooting it’s inhabitants up, with no apparent goal beyond for the sake of violence and shooting people.

        Of course this is by no means the only game that does this, and I realise it makes it seem like I’m picking on this in particular, whereas it’s more just a case of it being the game which crystallizes the issue for me.

        In regards to why I think it is saying something about violence: Why use violence if not to make a point? Using violence in an empty, thoughtless manner is not something which I think is healthy at any point. If you want to reference something serious then I think your engagement with it should be thought through and serious as well; even if the manner in which you convey this is not po-faced and severe, which of course it doesn’t need to be.

        • The Random One says:

          Now, obviously I haven’t played the game yet, but judging from the trailers and from Cactus’ earlier works, I have the impression it will be exactly what you would like it to be.

          It seems that the game is about a man who receives orders to commit unspeakable acts of violence from hallucinatory anthropomorphic animals who then berate him for enjoying those acts. Such a character is clearly psychotic. The idea, it seems to me, is that anyone who would do what any GTA character does has to be psychotic, and we players are complicit in that. The visceral gameplay here serves the same purpose as the engaging gameplay in Brenda Brathwaite’s Train.

          If you haven’t yet I recommend you try playing Cactus’ other works before making a final call, especially Mondo Medicals.

        • VirtualNinjas says:

          See, your argument has a flaw: I have played the game and it is super awesome. If you don’t like awesome games, then by all means don’t play it.

  11. hello_mr.Trout says:

    ‘but people should also be permitted to question it’s decency, taste and proclaim that it seems pretty fucking disgusting too’

    perhaps they should only proclaim those things after having played it? otherwise they could assume things about the game which are not the case – like, from the things i have read, i don’t think it’s a ‘home-invasion’ murder simulator.

    edit: reply fail, meant for sonson :/

    • sonson says:

      It’s not the violence, and I agree that it shouldn’t’ be sanitised. It’s more the almost automatic support or unthinking lobbying of a game with very violent subject matter, based on-it seems to me-the fact that people will make poor arguments about computer game violence. I feel that it hasn’t been considered properly, maybe.

      I’m entirely entitled to not like the subject matter of course. I just don’t have the right to suggest other people can’t or shouldn’t enjoy it on that basis, which I’m not doing, to my knowledge.

      I’m more trying to make the point, maybe badly, that just because the sensationalised argument against computer game violence is weak dosen’t mean that violence should be given a free pass within games or not considered critically. Several times now the game has been mentioned as the type to cause moral outrage, which is undoubtedly true, but is that all the violence is there for? Is that enough for the game to be literally propelled by murder?

      This part of the content seems to have been given a remarkably blasé reception. As in, it hasn’t really been discussed. It’s just there. More of the comments have been about the difficulty, the music, the puzzle element. The violence is unquestionably a strong part of the game, so why hasn’t it also been discussed as opposed to just explained and accepted? I just think it’s interesting.

      Re The Home invasion bit-that was clumsily worded on my part, and I happily retract that as I have no knowledge as to whether that occurs. I was just trying to explain the concept of walking around a building killing people using the element of surprise, but I concede I plumped for a more lazy and emotive term in doing so.

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      aha, thanks for the clarification, sorry if my initial words seemed overly critical (unintentional). i think you’ve raised a really interesting point about critically evaluating violence in games – it’s such a ubiquitous, almost default inclusion in many so games (and across all genres of games also) that it can be hard to evaluate it from ‘outside’ of playing games (if you get what i mean?). maybe the blasé reaction comes from assumptioning that it just looks like some retro-shooter, and not really identifying with all the horror and gore depicted? hmm, not sure

      • sonson says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        I honestly wouldn’t know where to start, you raise many good questions. But I think these questions should be the start of a new dialogue, and that it’s time as a medium we actually thought about violence in computer games intelligently and critically.

        In the past, and up to now, the topic has been about perception as to it’s effects, in a real, behavioral sense. But there are other things to discuss about video game violence beyond whether it can make you more violent. There isn’t much of that as it stands.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I suspect it might have to do with the violence being the cartoony, splattery, over the top kind of violence. We don’t question this in zombie or horror games either. Or other media in those genres for that matter. It’s deliberately low-fi and retro making it less of a serious proposition. More of an unrealistic fantasy world than anything related to real life.
      Here, the violence seems to just be one of the stylistic choices of the game. This kind of setting, with these kinds of colours and this kind of music matches this kind of violence. Most of the things it references (Scarface, Miami Vice, GTA Vice City, Drive) also include this sort of criminal subject matter. We don’t know much about the story of Hotline yet, so it’s hard to say right now if it’ll be more like Scarface or Drive, in terms of morality.

  12. deadly.by.design says:

    Somehow, violence is more shocking when viewed from above.

    Something about splatter patterns and sprawled-out corpses, perhaps.

  13. Eight Rooks says:

    Strangely, I wouldn’t play anything by Cactus if you paid me and thought Drive was probably the most over-rated film I saw last year (despite a couple of very strong performances it was largely mediocre either as a piece of storytelling or an exercise in style over substance). But I can hardly wait for this. (It’s sort of how I wish the violent parts in Drive had gone, rather than being unintentionally comical, jarring tonal mis-steps devoid of any kind of impact or menace.)

  14. Snids says:

    I see a child in the pizza parlour. This makes me worry. I don’t think I have the stomach for this if there was anything involving kids with this level of violence.

    That being said, it looks amazing. It looks like it might play out like a real time Frozen Synapse with buckets of blood. I’m a sucker for blood and gore in games, meshed with the woozy, headache visuals I love what this game has to say. Transcendental Violence. Natural born killers. We’ve normalised death too much with our modern manshoots. Violence is sickening and messy and gets all up in your face.

    Now excuse me, I must return to my methamphetamine pipe.

  15. Bilbo1981 says:

    I don’t get why people are going uber crazy debating about video game violence, theres been far worse and more graphic. I personally think films have much more to answer too and so do books. This game looks brilliant, its retro and the violence seems original. I like games which push the boundaries whilst still having good gameplay, sick for sicks sake is pointless but I’m sure these guys will have some kind of cool plot or something.
    And to the guy who is moaning about the “MURDER OF INNOCENT PEOPLE IN THEIR HOMES!!!” well actually if you did research the game it isn’t about this. You are like some kind of vigilante type character who is a bit nuts and you basically go and kill bad people.
    I must say It makes me really angry when peope see a bit of violence on a computer screen and cry out “THE END OF THE WORLD” its an old story and can we at least get our facts right before shouting from the heavens….