Recently, I did an interview with JeuxVideo, the #1 indie video-gaming website in France. They featured Midnight Animal as the Mod of the Month, and did a Let's Play with a test build I provided them. You can watch the full Let's Play, and read their article in the following link:
Here's the interview in English:
Hello, Spencer, can you introduce Midnight Animal to our readers?
Midnight Animal's a full standalone modification to the game Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games, and can more appropriately be described as a standalone title of sorts. Officially supported by Dennaton themselves, it features a completely new story set over 20 years after the events of Hotline Miami 2, and brings to the table everything from new weapons, to new masks, to new visual effects.
What are the new features you plan to introduce with Midnight Animal?
The combat system has been redesigned in order to maximally facilitate speed and fluidity, and features things like a multidirectional aim system, which will allow the player to lock onto one enemy while controlling the cursor freely, allowing for the player to rapidly snap between targets immediately after killing them. On this note as well, the amount of weapons available has nearly doubled, ranging from environmental weapons to highly specialised weapons specific to certain masks.
Other features, such as an advanced dynamic lighting system, are being worked on, and will hopefully be able to be integrated into the final release. This will drastically improve the overall visual fidelity of the game, and really bring out the sensations of darkness which feature prominently in the game's aesthetic.
One thing that isn't talked about much is the addition of a thoroughly fleshed out story, and world exposition; in terms of dialogue alone, Midnight Animal features more dialogue than the first two games combined, with a much greater desire to create genuine and realistic characters who the player can, over time, begin to understand and even appreciate. Of course, for those less interested in exposition, I've also added the feature to press the right mouse once to skip entire passages of dialogue, making it ideal for speedrunners and the like.
You said that you're going to add new weapons; what is the craziest one?
Some of the more outlandish ones, such as flamethrowers and chainsaws make a return from the two previous titles; in terms of the completely new ones, though, I can't say much about it yet, but the game does take place in 2015, and experimental weapons are definitely a thing relevant to plot...
Can you give us a quick idea of the plot?
Basically, the plot rests on the premise that Fifty Blessings, following the events at the end of Hotline Miami 2, was able to take advantage of the ensuing chaos and, in the ensuing power vacuum, seize complete and absolute control of the American government. Over a period of twenty bloody, vicious years, they've paved the way for a new America, reformed in their image. Midnight Animal follows a brief period in the life of one operator, John, who acts as a 'cleaner' for a local branch of Fifty Blessings, responsible for completing and covering up the failed operations of other agents, through any means necessary.
Do you consider Midnight Animal like a Hotline Miami 3 or more like spin-off?
Some people are already calling it an unofficial third entry in the Hotline series, and while I stand firmly by the belief that this is entirely up to Dennaton, and the community to decide based on the quality of the final product, I have written Midnight Animal in such a way that takes the established canon, and real-world history, into serious consideration. As someone who finds concepts like retconning inherently cringeworthy, I really wanted to work within the realm of what I was given, rather than just making stuff up out of the blue without enough evidence to support it. In that way, Midnight Animal isn't so much a sequel as it is a personal exploration of the Hotline world - a singular chapter in the life of an individual who one day found himself unlucky enough to be written into a world so desperate, so cruel, and so broken.
How did you met Dennis Wedin?
I actually never personally contacted Dennaton, and they never approached me; my contact with them was purely coincidental, and owes as much to fortuity as it does to any semblance of active participation. I was working on another mod for Hotline Miami, whose project leader had previously contacted Dennis Wedin. One day, I told him I had some questions about the nature of my mod, and he set up a group conversation on Skype between us. From there on, I've remained in contact with Dennaton through Dennis. I've never met them in real life, but it would certainly be an honour to, as their efforts have largely inspired the current course of my life.
What do they think about your work?
I haven't spoken in great detail with him about what he thinks of it, but historically, Dennaton has been very supportive of fan endeavours, as evidenced by their numerous social media outlets, both public and private; and the very fact that they've allowed me to take the mod to Greenlight in itself speaks volumes about their generosity and appreciation for their fans, which is about as much as a dedicated fan-base deserves.
What is the future of the project? Do you have more ideas to add to Midnight Animal?
I have a number of other stories I want to tell in the Hotline universe, of characters from various perspectives and viewpoints that most mainstream fiction typically does not focus on. These will be released as free DLCs, and will tell short stories which will flesh out the lives of the operators the main character in Midnight Animal kills, as well as certain events in the game's world which are mentioned only briefly.
One last word?
I don't have much to add in context of my own game, except immense gratitude first to Dennaton for allowing me the opportunity to not only build something I love, but to give it to others who love it just as much as I do; and to the community, for supporting me all this time and giving me tremendous amounts of feedback and positive support.