Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has had a fairly cryptic promotional campaign. The title, which is a followup to the hyper-violent indie smash Hotline Miami, was announced with a teaser trailer after being showcased at E3 2013. Since then, fans of the series have been given a few tantalising updates, including a new trailer and confirmation that the game will include a level editor.
The crown jewel of the Hotline Miami 2 marketing so far however, is a live-action short film that was released in October of last year. The video, titled "Do You Like to Hurt People?", was just as much of a blood-soaked and neon-tinged nightmare as the game itself, including brief shots from the franchise's signature top-down style. It brought a distinct - and terrifying - realism to a game built upon the detachment of retro graphics and a synth soundtrack.
It wasn't the only step that Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital have taken to bring Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number into the real world, though. Yesterday, a mysterious message was uploaded to the official Hotline Miami Twitter account. The update was a simple phone number with a Miami area code. However, fans calling the telephone hotline received a strange recording that repeats the word "March" - and some believe this has revealed the release date for the Hotline Miami sequel.
Curious Hotline Miami players who called the number immediately took to Reddit to share their theories and findings. One user, spacemanticore, even uploaded a recording of the message to Vocaroo. The repetition of March combined with the addition has led some online sleuths to believe that the release date of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is March 10, 2015.
It's not the first time that the fourth wall has been broken in video games. Metal Gear Solid gave players a memorable boss fight against the clairvoyant Psycho Mantis, who commented on the saves on the player's memory cards, and whose mind-bending effects could be negated when the controller was placed in the second controller slot. Even earlier, the NES game Who Framed Roger Rabbit? had an in-game telephone number for Jessica Rabbit. Players could then call the number to get a hint on how to beat the game.
Just how accurate this theory is remains to be seen - and whether, if true, the release date relates for all formats. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is set to release for PC, Mac, Linux, PS3, PS4 and PS Vita. The release date could, of course, be meant for only a selection of the devices. It certainly won't be the release date in all regions, either. The Australian Classification Board has refused to rate the title, citing graphic sexual violence. Given that developer Jonatan Soderstrom has told fans to "just pirate" the game, it's unlikely a middle-ground for an Australian release is going to be met any time soon.