Square Enix is announcing a beta for Hitman, as well as a beta launch trailer. The beta includes two training hits as part of “The Prologue” introductory mission.
The Hitman that so many expected went through a huge transition recently, shifting from a complete game sold as a single package to an episodic release sold in pieces over time. That won’t stop Square Enix from delivering a traditional lead up to the launch of Hitman‘s first episode. Today the publisher announced the Hitman beta, as well as releasing a launch trailer for the beta. The beta will be coming to both PC and PlayStation, though they’ll be running on separate dates.
Hitman‘s beta will include the introduction level of the first episode, titled “The Prologue.” It is not the full first episode though. It’s essentially a tutorial for the rest of the experient. In The Prologue, players are reintroduced to Agent 47, only 20 years prior to the main events of the game. This level will show Agent 47’s introduction to the ICA and his handler Diana Burnwood. Two hits are included in the beta, though they seem to be a part of a training exercise rather than full-on assassination. Square Enix is saving the real show for those who pay for admission.
On the PlayStation 4 Hitman‘s beta will be launching on February 12 at 8:00 PT, ending on February 15 at 8:00 PT. Oddly, AM or PM is not noted in the press release. The PC beta will come later, running from February 19 at 2:00 PT through February 21/22 (both dates are mentioned in the press release) at 2:00 PT. Sadly, it doesn’t look like there are any plans to bring the Hitman beta to the Xbox One. Sorry, Xbox players.
Hopefully everyone’s still reading, because Square Enix has included some fine print with regards to their Hitman beta. While beta access will be limited to pre-orderers only, not all pre-orderers will be provided beta access. That’s right, only pre-orderers of the digital versions of Hitman, or its Collector’s Edition, will be provided beta codes. Those who have pre-ordered the retail box from outlets like Amazon, which still lists that pre-orderers will get a beta code, will not be invited to the beta. Heck, Amazon still lists Hitman as a standalone $60 game, too.
For those who are excited about the Hitman revival, Square Enix’s decision shouldn’t prove too important. After all, the beta levels will be included in the first episode of Hitman and they’re only tutorial levels anyway. Still, considering that those who will be excluded from the beta will end up being those who pre-ordered earliest and when Hitman was a much pricier game, one has to wonder what Square Enix’s problem is. At the very least, everyone will be able to evaluate the game’s quality based on beta impressions.
The most likely scenario is that Square Enix hasn’t had enough time to prepare retail outlets for the shift to an episodic release schedule. Perhaps they’ve decided not to put out a retail release of the new Hitman until after all the episodes have been put out, much like Telltale has done for its episodic series. They’d lose a lot of preorders if they canceled the retail release though, so that seems doubtful. All that really needs to be said is that this feels messy and retail pre-orderers should be disappointed that Square Enix is ignoring them.
Hitman‘s first episode will launch on March 11 for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.