Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number: the level editor in action at E3 2014

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number raised some excitement earlier this week when Dennaton Games and publisher Devolver Digital officially unveiled the game's level editor. During this year's E3, Shacknews had a chance to take a look at the level editor in person, watching the delightfully simple creation system in action.

There's hardly anything fancy to be found in the Hotline Miami 2 level editor, but that simply means everything is easy to find. Setting floor plans is as simple as clicking and dragging, not unlike an image editor. Players can then set each room to whatever color pattern is available, making their maps look however colorful they'd like.

But a map is nothing without decorations and Dennaton offers any object available in the game to play with. Since that ranges across dozens of objects, Dennaton has made specific ones easy to find. An intuitive search feature quickly and automatically narrows down selections based on any text that has been inputted. For example, simply enter "sink" to find all of the game's kitchen sinks. With so many assets to work with, it's easy to get lost in the minute details of level editing.

That won't nearly be so much of a problem with enemy selection, as there are only seven to choose from. Six of them are of human guards, with different weapons or walking patterns and one for dogs. While the selection might be small, it's hardly noticeable given that Hotline Miami's draw is about difficulty more than variety.

The level editor is kept very simple, with a near bare bones appearance and a user interface simplicity that's on par with Microsoft Paint. There's absolutely nothing complicated here, which means that even the most amateur of creators can make a full Hotline Miami level within minutes.

There are seemingly few limits to Hotline Miami 2's level editor (aside from making curves), as Dennaton offers up enough of the game's assets that a full remake of the first game is entirely possible. But since the studio is offering all their tools, creators must follow the Hotline Miami rules, meaning giant open worlds are not on the table. However, there currently doesn't seem to be a limit on how many floors can be created. I asked artist Dennis 'D.W.' Wedin whether it'd hypothetically be possible to create a "99 Levels of Hell" type of scenario with nearly a hundred floors filled with enemies. He responded that while multi-floor exercises in masochism are possible, the studio is looking into exactly what the limit on floors will be.

While distribution methods have not been confirmed, Hotline Miami 2's level editor is likely to utilize Steamworks and Steam Workshop. However, Wedin adds that the feature will also make its way to all versions of the game, which means it'll also be available on PS4, PS3, and Vita. Distribution methods and user interface are still being determined, but console players will not be left out of the customization fun.

Dennaton is still not quite ready to issue an official release date for Hotline Miami 2, but notes that a release date is rapidly approaching. The studio is aiming to have the game released simultaneously on PC, PS4, PS3, and Vita during Q3 2014.