Over the past year, IO Interactive has been constantly teasing gamers with little details regarding the next game in the Hitman series, Hitman: Absolution. While fans have received very little in the way of information about the game’s story or gameplay aside from the teaser trailer, in a recent interview, IO Interactive shed some light on the engine that will be powering the game, and how it will help the game to appeal to a larger audience than previous titles.
Powered by a newly developed game engine called Glacier 2, Hitman: Absolution promises to have some rather interesting new tech running behind the scenes, like its use of Hollywood motion capture which will aid in bringing the game’s characters to life.
In an interview with Digital Trends, IO Interactive’s game director Tore Blystad stated that the Hitman series has always been for hardcore players, but with Absolution the aim is to make it just as accessible to more casual gamers. According to Blystad, the new engine will be making it possible.
He didn’t go on to explain how this will be achieved, instead simply stating that everything about the game is being delivered with two distinct purposes:
“Even though the fantasy of the Hitman universe has a very universal appeal, the games have been so difficult to play, that it’s been more of an acquired taste. The biggest challenge that we had with this game was to make it much broader in every sense, so that it was easier to play and more accessible, but still retain a very strong, hardcore side as well. We don’t want to alienate any of our fans who have been extremely loyal for so many years.”
Blystad’s comments make sense from a developer standpoint, but the loyal followers of Agent 47 will likely find hisstatements somewhat worrying.
Not only did the shift to gain a more broad appeal hurt games like Dragon Age 2, but more recently, Bioware has stated the same about their eagerly anticipated Mass Effect 3, leading fans to worry about the consequences of such a change. What could this mean for Hitman: Absolution? For a game that has been adored by hardcore gamers for years, could simplifying it end up hurting its base?
Among the statements of broadening the series, Blystad also shed some light on how the game’s AI and world will be affected by the new engine. He stated that the engine was made specifically with Hitman: Absolution and the things they want to achieve with it in mind. Giving players a wealth of choice in any given situation is a large demand from a technical standpoint, with each potential decision requiring the AI to react accordingly.
The task requires significant work on both a gameplay and technical level, and IO is making sure they give each aspect the manpower it needs for Absolution to succeed:
“Everything in the game now is based on real-time feedback within the game engine…Every action is updating in real-time, which is a change from how we worked before. When it comes to the game’s features, we have a separate tech team and gameplay team that work together to ensure the new features work in the game.”
By giving each and every character a name and a certain way in which they react to the world around them, there will be a very human aspect to the NPCs which could provide gamers with a strong level of immersion. No two characters will be the same and as such, gamers will have to approach all situations with an open mind, never really knowing what to expect.
Whether the news that IO Interactive plans to change Hitman: Absolution so that it will appeal to a broader audience is bad news or not, it’s still exciting to learn that the AI in the game will have a very human-like characteristic to them, making each and every engagement feel like a new one.
Do you think the game’s hardcore appeal will suffer if it is broadened? Are you excited to see how the game’s advanced AI reacts to the player’s actions?
Hitman: Absolution is due out later this year with a large announcement expected next week at E3 2011.