The following is a noncomprehensive list of allusions (both confirmed and plausible) in Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
- The Rami mask is named after Rami Ismail the founder of Vlambeer Games, he is of Egyptian heritage which is why it is a Camel.
- The Brandon Mask is named after Brandon McCartin, who suggested the Panthers as a boss.
- There are numerous references to Dennis Wedin in the games, on Jacket's Delorean after Trauma, Dennis Wedin's initials are on it, The Dennis mask is a reference to the band he's in, Fucking Werewolf Asso, a wrecked car in Hotline Miami 2 also has his initials on it.
- The Phil mask is a reference to Phillipe Poisson, better known as Phil Fish, a French-Canadian game developer known for the indie game Fez.
- Beard is based on El Huervo, who made several songs for Hotline Miami, and Hotline Miami 2.
- Jake's Mask is a reference to the 1980's wrestler Jake "the Snake" Roberts
- The Henchman may be based off of Rivi Ayala, an enforcer for Griselda Blanco, the godmother of the Colombian drug trade during the 1970's and 80's. Rivi was featured on the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which greatly inspired the game.
- Alex has several cannabis plants and can be seen rolling a blunt in Moving Up.
- The Son is doing cocaine with strippers in the outro to Seizure.
- The Pills are references to LSD and also pill based party drugs in general that became increasingly popular in the 80s and 90s.
- The Colombian ship in Dead Ahead is used to store coke, with the rooms on its fourth screen having been cleaned meticulously to the point of sparkling.
- Manny Pardo, Rachael Ward, Jacket, Tony, Barnes, Daniels, The Colonel, Mark, The Son and Biker are all shown to regularly drink alcohol. Beard is implied to drink and is regularly depicted as a bartender, and Henchman can be seen pouring vodka for The Son in the Bar of Broken Heroes. Evan, Henchman and Jake all have liquor racks in their homes, the Russian Mafia regularly drinks vodka, the police desks in Caught store bottles of gin, and Jake has a unique weapon in the beer bottle.
- The mansions in Take Over and Showdown are implicitly built with cocaine money.
- The bar in Execution is being used to store coke and grow marijuana.
- The Gang in Moving Up has a large hookah bong on the third floor.
- Alex, Jacket, and Manny Pardo are all seen smoking cigarettes. Jake's apartment contains several ash trays.
- Sun Araw music from Hotline Miami is neopsychedellic.
- Coco Bryce's music is heavily influenced by drug usage, and is used over The Son's high in Apocalypse.
- Bongs are regular items seen in areas with The Fans, Gang enemies, and the Midnight Animal teenagers
- The Richard mask's name likely comes from the fact that both "cock" (a rooster) and "dick" (a diminutive form of Richard) are slang words that mean "penis".
- The filename of the sound of the Big Pipe being banged by the Gang Leader in Subway is called "GangBang.wav" This is a plausible joke refering to group sex or rape with multiple penetration usually performed by more than 2 or 3 people (gangbang can also simply mean an attack performed by gang on somebody).
- The achievement Always On Top is a reference to sexual positions.
- Beard's line in Stronghold agreeing with Barnes that they don't need D Company to fight off Russians but that "there's always safety in numbers" before smirking is a possible innuendo about threesomes.
References to other GamesEdit
- There are several arcade machines that can be found in both games that reference numerous 2008-2016 indie video games like Luftrausers, Super Meat Boy, The Binding Of Isaac and Mother Russia Bleeds.
- The Father is based on Mr. X from the arcade beat em up series Streets of Rage.
- The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) can be found in several locations.
- The Assassin's Cred achievement/trophy is an obvious reference to Assassin's Creed series.
- The character from Lone Survivor "You" can be seen in the outro of the first scene.
- In Death Wish, Ash's line "ok, here goes nothing", is the same that "You" says in the Yellow ending.
- Several playable characters from the 2013 indie shoot em up Nuclear Throne appear as cardboard stands in the Homicide, they are also required to be shot for the Nuclear Waste achievement/trophy.
- The appearance of the Toothbrush is a possible reference to the Top-Down prison escape game, The Escapists.
- The executions and the main focus of melee of weapons in the Hotline Miami series and also a character played by Martin Brown - Pig Butcher who is insane homicidal maniac wearing a pig mask are most likely references to the Manhunt games
- According to Dennis Wedin in his /r/HotlineMiami AMA Manhunt is one of his favorite games.
- Hotline Miami 2 has some possible references to Payday 2: Jake's mask Dallas can possibly be a reference to one of the Payday 2 protagonists Dallas, while name of the Fan named Mark can be a reference to the bear mask with the same name from Payday 2. It is also possible that name of the scene Death Wish can be a reference to the Death Wish difficulty from Payday 2
- It is possible that usage of Scattle's track "Remorse" in the level "No Mercy" can be a reference to Crusader game series.
References to MusicEdit
- The achievement "A BOX FULL OF SHARP OBJECTS" is named after a 2002 Rock song of the same name.
- The use of Scattle's track "Remorse" in the level "No Mercy" is possibly a reference to Metallica's 1982 song, "No Remorse".
References to Movies and Television showsEdit
- The Colonel is most likely based off of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now. They are both bald and promising officers in the military hierarchy who went mentally unstable at the end of a war.
- The achievement "These are my Rifles, These are my guns" is a reference to the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.
- Jacket's outfit was inspired by Eddy Murphy's outfit in the film series Beverly Hills Cop
- The Russian Mafia's main outfit a blue shirt and white pastel suit are a reference to one of Sonny Crockett's outfits in the 1980's Miami Vice.
- Manny Pardo may be based on Sonny Crockett from the 1980s television series Miami Vice.
- Ivan Lebedev is based on Marlon Brando's appearance as The Godfather, from the famous 1971 crime film of the same name.
- The entire premise, setting, and gameplay of Hotline Miami was inspired by the 2011 film Drive, and the 2006 Documentary Cocaine Cowboys.
- Demolition's VHS Cover is a reference to the 1988 film Die Hard.
- Stronghold's VHS Cover is a reference to the 1980 film Motel Hell.
- First Blood's title is a reference to the 1982 film First Blood.
- Final Cut's VHS Cover is a reference to the 1988 film Shocker.
- House Call 's VHS Cover is a reference to the 1978 film Halloween.
- The pause menu has the option to increase the Music to 11, this is a reference to a famous scene in the 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap.
- The Achievements Guns for Show and Knife For Pros are a reference to a quote from the 1998 black crime comedy Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.