In less than 10 minutes, Dennaton Games' Dennis Wedin has created a den of death.
It's a careful cluster of square and rectangular rooms filled with dogs, armed guards and pizza boxes — a staple of Hotline Miami's neon-soaked settings. Although players have always been at the mercy of Dennaton's tricky maps, they'll soon be able to turn the tables and unleash havoc of their own with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number's level editor.
The feature turns the process of murder and mayhem a technical one. Players lay down tile, erect walls, decorate and place guard dogs and guys with guns wherever they choose.
"It's important to know that this is a Hotline Miami level editor, not a top-down shooter level editor," Wedin said. "There are some rules that you need to follow, like how the enemies work. You should have some basic knowledge of what the game is about. You won't be able to do a free-roaming shooter. You have to work within the space and build the way we do it."
"It feels like a nice thing to end with."
Each new element is selectable from different categories on screen and can be searched by keyword. Dennaton's original names have stuck around in the editor, such as "toilet party" (a toilet that appeared in a level where a character threw a party).
"You'll see a lot of stupid names, but there was no easy way to rename them once we started," Wedin said.
According to Wedin, the editor has been a two-year project for Dennaton games — a feature that's been planned since "day one of the second game."
"I wish I had this tool when we made [our game], because this is way easier than how we're doing it," Wedin said. "From the beginning, we planned to make the editor and then make the game, but it took so long and we really wanted to start working with the game, so we kept doing it with the old one."
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is set to launch this year for Linux, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Windows PC. The editor will be available in every version of the game, though plans on how level sharing will work has yet to be decided. Players will also be able to set their own system of scoring on each level.
"The fans have been screaming about [the level editor] since day one," Wedin said. "It feels like a nice thing to end with, since this is the last game we are doing. We're done. Here, do whatever you want with it. If someone wants to make Hotline Miami 3, that's up to them."