The upcoming Hitman instalment hasn’t been without its controversy.
The third-person stealth game, which is set to follow up 2012’s Hitman: Absolution, has seen numerous changes to its structure, launch plans, and model in recent months. This has left fans scratching their heads, wondering what they’ll be getting at launch, but developer IO Interactive is well aware of this and studio head Hannes Seifertas has apologised for the confusion they’ve caused.
In an interview with VideoGamer.com, Seifertas said: “When we started after Absolution, this is when we actually decided we want to go down a route that, well, back then we didn’t even call it ‘episodic’ because the term wasn’t really coined at that time… we called it our ‘Expanding World of Hitman’, and how can we actually make something that becomes bigger and adds content in a reasonable way, where we can also make the game better, and it doesn’t take us six years like between Blood Money and Absolution?”
He continued: “So we had this [plan] pretty early, and then of course the market also had to evolve in a certain way for it to make complete sense. After all, [Hitman] is an AAA game, it needs its audience, it needs its target market, and it comes with a lot of expectations after 15 years of games.
“All of these things combined I think made us detour from our original vision a few times, and now we’ve landed back on it. This detouring caused some of the confusion that I’m personally really sorry for. I think we should have stuck to our guns longer, although it’s controversial, but now we’ve ended up on what absolutely feels right. The game is written in a way that it’s episodic, the gameplay itself is that, and our technological platform to allow us to actually make the game better is built for that.”
Hitman‘s launch model has changed multiple times since being announced at E3 2015. Back then, the game was due to launch as a full price title with limited content, but with additional levels to roll out throughout 2016 free of charge.
Then, in response to criticism, IO delayed the game to March to add more launch content and introduce a cheaper ‘Intro Pack’ for players uncomfortable paying the full price upfront.
Then, last month, it revised its plans again, adopting a fully episodic model and stripping the launch content back to a single location and the game’s Prologue mission. It also altered the game’s pricing and confirmed plans to launch a disc version containing all additional content at the end of 2016.
“For the people, I understand, it should be scrutinised, people should have strong opinions about it,” Seifert continued. “But I also want to put out there, people that asked us to delay the game, they can just buy it when the season’s over. They will get their fill for $60. Everything that’s not temporary live content will be available at that point in time, but we don’t want to make people who want to try [it] earlier, making it better and making this experience… why should they wait?”
Hitman‘s first episode arrives on PS4, Xbox One and PC on 11 March and contains the Prologue mission and Paris location. Five further locations, including Italy, Morocco, Thailand, Japan and the USA, are due to roll out in the following months.