HOTLINE MIAMI 2

By Nathan Grayson on November 27th, 2012 at 11:00 am.

And then he decided not to walk through that door, turned around, left, and everyone lived happily ever after. Yes, everyone.

I dove back down Hotline Miami‘s blood-slick Slip ‘n’ Slide of utterly blissful brutality this weekend, and now it’s all I can think about. It’s a testament to the sheer refinement of its systems, I think, that it can so thoroughly hook me time and time again. But nothing is perfect – not even when it’s really, really close. So Cactus and co are charging forward with a full-blown sequel. Will there be more breeds of dog? More types of dudes with cat-like shotgunning-your-face-off reflexes? Cats? Um, well, no one’s really sure yet. Oh, but it will have music! This has been – as we say in nigh-impenetrable videogame parlance – confirmed.

Jonatan “Cactus” Söderström broke the news on Twitter, making casual reference to the previously unmentioned sequel’s soundtrack.

“Working while listening to the sweet tunes of a preliminary Hotline Miami 2 soundtrack that we’ve put together during the weekend.”

That said, Hotline Miami 2′s far from right around the corner, counting down the seconds until it knocks you flat with a door and then perforates your eye socket with a rusty drill. Söderström went on to clarify that “we’re still working on fixing Hotline Miami, we haven’t actually started working on anything new yet. We only have some general plans for the next game.”

He also explained to Eurogamer that the soundtrack’s far from set in stone, noting however that we could definitely see encores from members of the original’s star-studded lineup of musical maestros. That said, don’t simply expect more of the same. “We’ve been looking at some other bands as well,” Söderström said. ”Want to keep it fresh.”

So, in short, HOTLINE MIAMI 2. GUNS. BLOOD. NEON. WONDERMENT. MUSIC. EVENTUALLY. Got it? Good.

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54 Comments »

  1. Gwyddelig says:

    It’s testament to the soundtrack that I found my self wondering for a second, “Am I pressing R to have another go or to keep listening to this Phat Choon? – as the kids say”.

    • Dilapinated says:

      ..And when I got home, I found the guts of a Russian mobster dribbling down the bonnet, the windows smashed in with blunt instruments and the car and house riddled with bullet holes. Inside, I found that my cousin had had his eyes messily gouged out, and my aunt’s neighbor had a drill through her temple.

      Needless to say, I was sure glad I visited that SPAM website.

    • animlboogy says:

      I scoured this spam for an address. I had my knife and my wolf mask all ready to go.

  2. Diziet Sma says:

    I still can’t finish the game, it crashes repeatedly around chapter 12 or so. Re-installs and all sorts have not solved the fact that when I enter certain parts of the level the game crashes immediately and I’m not the only dude with the problem.

    It is however, despite this, a wonderful and superbly put together (in terms of gameplay, balance and controls) game and I would love to see a sequel, once I can finish the first one.

    ** Edit ** did have snark tags but the comment system swallowed them.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Got the Steam version ? Tried the latest gog.com version ?

      (nb: just want to help out someone to go past these crashes, only good intentions ’round here)

  3. RaveTurned says:

    I played this for the first time this weekend, and… well, it was OK I guess? :/

    From the amount of tweets from fanatical fans, I was expecting something more. I played for a few levels perhaps, died a lot, got bored, wandered off to do something else. Have I not given it enough time to sink its hooks into me? Is there a minimum skill level to reach before the game becomes really gripping? Does the plot take off on later levels?

    Failing all else, am I just dead inside?

    • The Tupper says:

      Yeah I keep wondering what’s wrong with me too. I just can’t see in the game what others seem to. Troubling.

    • Baboonanza says:

      You’re not dead enough inside.

      You have to play the game a bit to really get into the vibe of ambience of the thing, and while the difficulty is initially daunting you do get better quickly. Of course not every game is for everyone and if you don’t enjoy the core puzzle/murderous rampage game-play then maybe it just isn’t for you.

    • airtekh says:

      I’m the same.

      It’s a decent enough game, but I can’t quite understand why people are raving about it so much. I think it’s one of those things you either ‘get’ or you don’t.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Switch off all the lights
      Close the door
      Put headphones off
      Play for hours. Don’t let yourself stop until that infernal soundtrack is etched into your brain.
      Then you’ll understand.

      • Gregoire Simpson says:

        I haven’t been able to play for more than an hour at a time, I always came to the point where the repetetivness went from being hypnotical to boring. Beating four or five levels gave the same kind of experince, and the story didn’t exactly hook me.
        I enjoyed the game somewhat, but all the talk about it’s insane difficulty made me look around in the options menu for a way to play it on “hard” or whatever.
        Took me about 4 hourse to complete without any major problems, and I don’t really feel the urge to go back.
        Hard to understand what all the hype is about, it’s rather entertaining for a while, but so is a lot of games.

        • Dilapinated says:

          I think it may be because a lot of people take a similar approach to playing it as they do to Dishonored; You can achieve a relatively easy win on most levels by just grabbing whatever guns come to hand, but your score and the atmosphere are punished for it. I found the game more enjoyable when I was the lone psycho with a lead pipe in a building full of heavily armed mafiosos than when I was run-and-gunning it (looking for secrets playthrough).

          • Gregoire Simpson says:

            I guess that’s one way to add complexity to the gameplay. I was never any good at making your own challenges in games however, but you obviously have a point. I guess it’s a game suitable for those kind of players who like making up challenges like doing a second playthrough going melee only in an fps or something. I did level 5 with fists only since I saw there was an achievement for it, but for me it didn’t change much. To me, knowing it’s only difficult because you decide make it that way doesn’t invoke the tension and stress that real ingame difficulty usually would.

          • MrLebanon says:

            I found I had more fun when I started thinking about score (and score awards you for variety). It’s fairly dul when you fire off a gun in the hallway and wait for everyone to funnel in and you shoot them all (although it’s hilarious)

            But the game really shines when you start pulling some ninja combos

            1) Walk in room, bash guy in back of the head with crowbar
            2) take his knife, throw it at the gun toting gentleman at the other end of the room
            3) run and take that gents gun. Bash into the next room knocking down the first guy with the door, and throwing the gun to knock over the second guy accross the room
            4) pick up the first guys baseball bat and bash his brains in while he’s on the ground, run to the other end of the room and smack the guy as he just tries to get back up

            etc.
            Trying to find a rhythm that’s smooth and scores you a killer combo is the most rewarding part of the game – especially with that soundtrack in the background!

        • SavageTech says:

          “I was never any good at making your own challenges in games however, but you obviously have a point. I guess it’s a game suitable for those kind of players who like making up challenges like doing a second playthrough going melee only in an fps or something . . . .To me, knowing it’s only difficult because you decide make it that way doesn’t invoke the tension and stress that real ingame difficulty usually would.”

          I’m the kind of guy who hates making his own challenges but I still loved this game. That said, I don’t consider high scores/grades to be an optional component of a game because they’re built into the systems and prominently displayed. When the game slaps you with a C+ rating it’s saying “You got through the level, but you’re a terrible player who barely scraped by. Try again when your balls drop, kiddo.” I can see how the game would seem boring/easy/short if you don’t care about digital insults to your testicular fortitude, but personally I’m too much of an egomaniac to accept such a condescending score and move on to the next level.

          Would the game really be any better if it added a “hard” mode that ended each level with an enemy you can’t kill unless you achieved an A/A+ rating on the level? Difficulty modes in any game just force you to meet a certain standard of play; playing for a high score accomplishes the same thing as long as you give two shits about it. To each his own, but I’d rather have a score system than a difficulty system.

    • Vorrin says:

      yay, finally. I agree :)

      I liked the game really well enough eh, just… I don’t see it being this ubermensch of gaming goodness, its systems are ok, though not so groundbreaking innovative and the basic idea is smart, but well, such perfect systems, are quite troubled by being very buggy, and I am somewhat put off by the amazingly idiotic AI (tho I get it, it’s that type of game, it wouldn’t work if they were smart).

    • Terragot says:

      “This is the best thing to happen this year, inside or outside of gaming” comment made me realise that the journalistic hype surrounding this game must be an inside joke.

    • zeroskill says:

      It might have been misinterpretated, considering the hype it got from RPS, that this is a game for everyone. It surely is not. It’s a niche game, but it is exceptional at what it does. If you weren’t familiar with the sort of games Cactus makes, I can see how this is not appealing. As far as I can tell, and considering how much it has been talked about positively in the RPS steam group, pretty much everybody had a blast with it though.

      However clearly Hotline Miami draws from game designs that might be considered outdated nowaday as games tend to more and more become entertainment products. This surely is not one of those games. It puts you infront of challenges that can be frustrating, challenges you have to make an efford to ovecome, much like a game like, let’s say Super Meat Boy, or generally games from the 90′ties. And it has been received much the same too. I have been recommending Super Meat Boy to people, since I believe it is a masterpiece, but some people just don’t like that style of game. I believe this has something to do with how people perceive failure states.

    • horsemedic says:

      “Have I not given it enough time to sink its hooks into me? Is there a minimum skill level to reach before the game becomes really gripping? Does the plot take off on later levels?”

      Don’t think so. I got bored after two levels, walked away, then forced myself to come back and play another six levels. Still bored, I walked away again and haven’t touched it since.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      Just like Drive, (which this game is clearly inspired by) it’s not for everyone. Alot of people will dislike the retro graphics, the chillwave soundtrack, the pure skill (no levelling up to make it easier) trial and error gameplay with no reward/progress loop, and the minimalist story with very little back and forth dialogue.

      Those of us who think it’s the best game of the year like it for those same reasons.

      • Just Endless says:

        I think Drive is an incredible experience. I think the atmosphere of HM is incredible, and I think it’s soundtrack is in the running for best of the year. So I listen to that, I put it on my iPod. I think Hotline Miami is a broken, miserable, and supremely dull game, and I regret the 4-5 hours I put into it.

    • El_Emmental says:

      I think Gregoire Simpson explained it perfectly with the following sentences:

      1. “I haven’t been able to play for more than an hour at a time, I always came to the point where the repetetivness went from being hypnotical to boring. Beating four or five levels gave the same kind of experince, and the story didn’t exactly hook me.”

      2; “I was never any good at making your own challenges in games ”

      3. “To me, knowing it’s only difficult because you decide make it that way doesn’t invoke the tension and stress that real ingame difficulty usually would.”

      => Hotline Miami is really, really, about that. I think that’s the most accurate description of its core nature (once the novelty effect of the first playthrough is over) I have seen so far.

      The story only makes sense (and isn’t just an excuse for killing, hm well, not that kind of “excuse”, well you get the point) if you get into that core nature of the game, same with the music, the environment, and of course the gameplay.

      On my first playthrough, I started like you did: I need to go from A to B. However, I quickly noticed how I couldn’t make it with a traditional approach.

      Back then, I knew very little on each game mechanisms, things like doors or disarming punches spam were pretty unknown to me – I was really terrible at the game – and I refused to lurk for some online guide that early.

      So I tried to think of it as a puzzle, like “disable that guy, kill that second guy with a well-timed swing, back away as I throw that iron pipe on the third one, punch and finish the first one, finish the third”, to simply go to the next chapter (A->B).

      Then, progressively, I started to learn how the AI behaved (mostly regarding gunfires, but also regarding melee attacks), how doors and throwing objects worked, and pretty late, how the lock-on feature was supposed to functionate.

      But rather than making my playthrough “oh ok, it’s easier now”, it just motivated me into getting the most original/daring kills/tactics, by using these new gameplay mechanisms to outsmart the chapters. I never felt forced to do it, it happened “naturally” to me.

      I think this is where many people were left on the platform, as the Hotline Miami hype&fun train was driving off.

      If that short game-defining moment doesn’t happen by the fifth chapter, I think the game won’t be fun for you.

      At least, unless and until you put yourself in a very different context/situation a few days later, with a different mindset and be luckier this time. It’s really a subtle mutation.

      But if you manage to get that unconscious shift to a self-induced challenge, then it all makes sense: levels have different shapes/designs, you unlock more weapons, the score system, etc.

      When I found out about the machete execution kill, I think I wasn’t excited like that about a gruesome gory violence element in a video game since the early/mid 00s.

      And now whenever I saw it on the ground, I try to survive until I can reach it, as it’s so defining of the game’s approach on violence for me, I see it as its most symbolic weapon.

      And whenever I unlock a new weapon, I just want to see its own execution, I’m genuinely curious about it (which says a lot about the curiosity regarding violence people have, even when they’re firmly against it).

      Hotline Miami really relies on getting yourself into “gaming” that violence, turning the kills into a “challenging” game, and it really IS what the game is about (I won’t say more for the sake of spoilers).

      I think some people have a more rational approach when it comes to challenge, games and playing.

      They’ll enjoy rational experiences, and will find satisfaction in the frank, clear meanings and credibility of what they’re experiencing.

      Personally, I tend to as rational as I can regarding real-life, but when it comes to entertainment and having personal private* experience, I use it as an opportunity to stop gripping on rationality.

      * nobody gets hurt when I become irrationally entertained by a “pointless” game: when I spent hours being a completionist, or replayed that same level several times in a row, it remained my own thing.

      MrLebanon, DerNebel, zeroskill and Dilapinated also provided good approaches regarding where the games shines, and when (and how) it can fail to provide any fun for some people.

      Last thoughts:

      Hotline Miami is like a coin, an eraser or a pen & paper, left on the table of a waiting room.

      You can sit and wait, you can make them spin a little and put them back in order, or you can be that person using the books to make a ramp for the coin, stacking as many things as you can on the eraser resting on its edge, making an elaborate paper plane, and so on.

      • El_Emmental says:

        It’s like when you left a kid with a cardboard box, or a broken toy, or just in a small parc with a single swing about to break and a rusty slide (so you stricly forbid the kid to use these).

        In the parc, some kids will walk in circles, eventually try to play with a stick, then ask to come home. Some other kids will instead climb on the benches, run on the grass (getting some mud all over the shoes), jump from small brick walls, climb on anti-parking bollards, hide behind the bushes, etc.
        > Oh the memories of running in the parc, finding mysterious castles and secret paths/shortcuts…

        With a broken toy, some kids will just try, but finally fail to see how it’s fun, it’s broken after all. Some kids will see it as a weird toy, something that is now a new toy, far from what it was originally.
        > I spent ages playing with action figurines missing a leg(s), arm(s) or even their head, or vehicles with missing tires, to me it was a challenge to reattribute meaning and context to that toy. Always preferred a box full of old various half-broken toys, to a small amount of clean, brand-new toys that I was afraid to even touch.

        With a cardboard box, some kids will move it around, get in it, and get bored of it in 5 minutes ; while some other kids will use it as a mountain or fort for their plushies/action figurines, as a shell (to be a turtle), as a hiding secret place, will try to sneak on their brothers/sisters/parents using the box like solid snake, will customize it, etc.
        > I remember playing with flexible plastic floor surface leftovers for months, I would build ramps, forts, slides, everything with these (I think I still have them in a box somewhere).

        Hotline Miami is a little like that, turning what’s in your hand into a game.

        [ V V V Spoilers V V V ]

        … without thinking much of what’s actually in your hands, and later on your hands, despite the gravity of it: violence and blood.

  4. Faldrath says:

    I bought the game for the music. Played a couple of levels, and it didn’t grab me, might go back to it later. But man, that soundtrack.

  5. Dr I am a Doctor says:

    Hotline MiamII if you would

  6. Alexander says:

    I loved it, although it could have used many improvements. Over all, please do this.

  7. DickSocrates says:

    I liked Hotline Miami. It’s more of a puzzle game than a skill based shooter. Perhaps that’s why some people don’t get it? The levels are laid out in such a way as to make strategy an important part of what you do.

    Also, if you don’t get the “vibe” of the thing, then I can see the rest of the game not being that interesting to you. For me, if the gameplay was identical but it was set in a fatansy world (orcs, elves etc) then I wouldn’t have given it the time of day., though I do like the game itself.

    • DerNebel says:

      Hotline Miami was weird for me. I loved it. Bloody loved it. Loved it with the all-caps LOVE that you have for some things. The vibe caught me, the rhythm of it all. I would find myself subconsciously tuning my murder spree to the rhythm of the music, sometimes waiting to swipe just so I could kill the russian on the beat. It’s a puzzle game. A fast, dumb, brutal puzzle game. It screams “I’m WHITE TRASH” at you, it reminds me of Black Flag and of Refused. They are dumb about their music, tbhey are simplistic, antagonistic and loud. But then you listen to it again, and you can hear the genius behind all the dumbing down. Same with Miami: The Hotliner: It is fast, dumb, actually not very hard. And then I got it. And it gripped me in the puzzle of murdering everyone as fast as possible. Point is, if you play long enough to immediately realize that the AI is stupid, then you are not fast or bloody enough and you haven’t caught the rhythm yet, and when you do, the game opens up.

      And then the drop hits you. You walk up to the last man, you knock him down and you pick up a sledgehammer and punch his face through his head and splatters it unto the wall behind him. And then you’re standing there, the game stops, everything seems to stop.

      And the game forces you to walk through every single man you’ve just murdered, look at all the havoc you’ve caused and makes you realise that you have no reason. You did it because a phone call told you to and because it was fun.

      I love this game, LOVE IT, but I can’t play it for a long time. It makes me feel sick after an hour or two. I won’t recommend this game to anyone, even though it the most fun, most GAME game I have played for years.

  8. BathroomCitizen says:

    I think it’s just a matter of getting the atmosphere. I loved every second of it, and at the end I wished for more.

    MORE!

  9. SonicTitan says:

    It’s a comment on our relationship with violence in interactive media. If you “didn’t like it” very much, I don’t think you were supposed to. An earlier comment in this thread about lack of feedback for your accomplishments made me realize this. When I can strap on my headphones and begin to play the same twenty-five seconds of content, somehow lose two and a half hours, and then realize that all I have to show for it is a pile of brutally murdered pixels and broken glass, something special is going on.

    For these reasons, it’s not only a good game or a fun game, it’s an important game. It’s one that needed to be made.

  10. Yosharian says:

    Fucking sweet game, and yeah the soundtrack just owns like woah.

  11. Bobtree says:

    I was really sucked in more by the amazing presentation than the gameplay. It’s very tight however, and tough and surprising at times, but rather haphazard and monotonous to play well.

  12. Vandelay says:

    Absolutely love this game, but still yet to actually finish it due to a bug. I was having some severe slow down that would steadily get worse the more I played. It becam pretty much unplayable by the time I got into a level. It was fine when it first came out, but a patch seems to have broken it. Another patch improved on it, but it still becomes a slideshow once I’m in a level for about a minute.

    Going to have to try it again tonight to see if that ever got fixed.

  13. brotherthree says:

    DO WANT NEW SOUNDTRACK. Dooooo want

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