As fantastic as they are, there’s not a whole lot of indie games that stay on our mind half a year after release. Hotline Miami, however, was unique and bold enough that it’s hard not to still have questions lingering around it. We caught up with developers Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin at GDC to do just that and were updated on the current progress of the team.
Probably the most important thing to note is that Wedin and Söderström have officially confirmed that they were not under the influence of any illegal substances during the making of the game and have carried that tradition forward during development of the sequel. Of course, with its disjointed narrative, endless killing, trippy visuals and soundtrack and animal masks, it’s a reasonable thing to suspect. What they were under the influence of, however, was television and cinema. Of course, the similarities to Drive have been talked about to death, but one film that the pair claimed as influential was 2010’s Kick-Ass. While it’s hard to see an direct influences (maybe we need to watch it again; something hard to refuse), the surrealism of both properties can not be denied. In regards to influence for the sequel, the pair stated that the first game will be their biggest influence.
Music-wise, the team expressed their pride that the musical artists featured in the game have gone on to further success. Besides the exposure from the hundreds of thousands of copies the game sold, music from the game has since seeped into other forms of media (like Archer) and one artist even received a record deal in the aftermath of their appearance of the game. Some bands will return for the sequel, but the majority will consist of new artists. Neither expressed interest in doing original music.
If there’s one thing we’re suckers for around Hardcore Gamer, it’s merchandising. Whether it’s pre-order bonuses, collector’s editions or practically anything with game branding on it, they’ll be a post for it here. As such, we’ve been champing at the bit for some stuff to come along from Hotline Miami — a game that’s been rather devoid of merch. When asked if they were planning a vinyl OST, Wedin responded, “It’s been such mess trying to contact everyone and some people have agents, but we will plan for it better in the sequel.” Other merchandise was confirmed to be on the way.
As far as a sequel goes, the story is basically finished. It will build around the first game, featuring some sequel and some prequel elements. Jacket, a name for the main character the pair expressed their fondness of, will play a minor part in the sequel, but will not be the main protagonist. Gameplay-wise, the game will be “more of the same thing, but we tried to explore other things with the story,” said Söderström.
In regards to level design, the team is unsure whether or not unique levels like the hospital will return. “A lot of people hate that level, I liked it a lot; it was a pace changer” said Wedin. Söderström chimed in that a lot of people had problems with the difficulty of the bosses, something they will refine in the sequel.
Until we can get our hands on the sequel, we’ll have to be content with the upcoming PS Vita and PS3 ports of the game, which boast Cross-Buy and Cross-Play. The team has enough capital to complete the sequel, however, and without the distraction of narcotics, hopefully it will come sooner rather than later.