[dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]he sequel to 2012’s Hotline Miami, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is a bloodstained orgy of ever-escalating violence. The second game was confirmed to be the last in the series, and fans were eagerly waiting to see how it would wrap up the plot. Reactions to the ending have been somewhat mixed, to say the least. This article, which will discuss the ending of Hotline Miami 2, will quite obviously contain heavy spoilers. Read at your own peril!
For those of you who are reading this article despite never playing the game or those who did complete the game but didn’t quite understand what occurs at the end of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, I’ll describe how the story ultimately concludes: the president of the United States and the president of the Soviet Union attend a Russo-American coalition press conference in Washington D.C. in 1991. During the conference, a general (heavily implied to be the Colonel, a character from a portion of the game set in 1985) leads an armed coup. During the coup, both of the world leaders are assassinated. This occurs completely off-screen, which is one of the complaints fans of the series have about the ending.
The game’s final level has no mention of any of this. Instead of focusing on this major event, the final level instead involves the player controlling a Russian mob boss in the throes of a hallucinogen overdose as he fends off an attack on his headquarters. In fact, the player has no idea the coup has occurred until after the credits begin rolling; mere moments before the Soviet Union retaliates by nuking the United States. This nuclear holocaust is yet another issue fans of the series have with the ending: it completely invalidates everything that occurs in both of the Hotline Miami games. Almost every protagonist is killed in the blast that destroys Miami. Each of their stories, struggles, and actions all turn out to be meaningless, turned to ash by atomic fire. While this fits the series’ overarching theme about the pointless and self-destructive nature of violence, the fact that everything the player has done in both games was made inconsequential has certainly rubbed the some of the game’s community the wrong way.
Don’t get me wrong here, the coup (and the resulting nuclear apocalypse) certainly doesn’t come out of the blue. Newspaper clippings the player can find describes the events leading up to the conference, and the Colonel’s dialogue and actions in the 1985 portion show his distaste for the way everything’s proceeding. Dialogue from the character Richard even anticipates the ending of the game, as well as the community’s response: “This ‘movie’ you’re making…you know how it ends? I believe there’s a pretty big twist at the end. I doubt you’ll like it.”
To be honest, I actually liked the ending. I thought it was a fitting conclusion, one that fit the game’s borderline nihilist message about the pointlessness of bloodshed. Feel free to share your opinion about Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number’s ending in the comments section below.