The Hitman games have been entertaining people for almost 15 years. Playing as trained assassin Agent 47, Hitman fans have killed marks in a variety of ways including poisoning them with bad fish, shoving them out of windows, and killing them with a good old fashioned bullet from a sniper rifle. This gameplay has proved to be massively popular, having spawned two feature films and several spin-off games, such as Hitman Go, Hitman Sniper Challenge, and Hitman: Sniper, the latter of which was released on mobile devices earlier this month.
However, this longstanding legacy couldn’t protect the last game, Hitman: Absolution, from divisive reviews. While some enjoyed Absolution‘s various levels and the way that it let players come up with the perfect killing strategy, others weren’t convinced that the game had improved from Hitman: Blood Money, with some even suggesting that developer IO Interactive had forgotten what made Hitman great in the first place. It was also revealed that the game had failed to meet its sales targets. So with the fanbase and critics fractured over whether Absolution was good or not, it was clear that IO would have to try a lot harder next time to win everybody over.
Fans got their first taste of the franchise’s future yesterday, when a brand new Hitman game was revealed during the Sony E3 2015 press conference. While that initial reveal was incredibly exciting, it didn’t give fans much to go on and so in Square Enix’s E3 press conference today, the developer and publisher has shed a little more light on what Hitman will offer later this year.
In the new Hitman trailer, viewers see Agent 47 prepare to assassinate a character called Viktor Novikov. Novikov, despite being a philanthropist in the public eye, is actually one of the key figures in an international spy ring called IAGO. IAGO are not a good bunch, as they have unseated governments, trafficked, blackmailed, bribed and murdered their way into power and they also plan to reveal the identities of several covert operatives in a “major European country”.
To kill Novikov, and other enemies like him, players will have freedom to choose how they take out their target. For example, players will be able to use disguises to bypass a mark’s security, but they’ll have to have a backup plan just in case someone sees through the get-up and sounds the alarm. If players do manage to complete a clean kill that draws little to no attention and “master” the level, they can earn rewards such as new weapons, new ways to kill, new disguises and even new ways of infiltrating a level.
Furthermore, beginning in 2016, IO will release new locations, missions and targets at regular intervals as the developer wants to deliver “a true community experience” where Hitman players come together to discuss how they played through the content. Some of these scenarios may only feature in the game for 48 hours and so Hitman players will have to act quickly if they are to explore all killing methods and figure out the best way to put down a target without making a sound.
If players exhaust all of those options, though, they can always play the Contracts mode which makes a return from Hitman: Absolution. In Contracts, players can mark their own targets and challenge a “world of assassins” to see who killed the target best, which again feeds into that community spirit that IO is so keen to embrace.
Hitman will be released on December 8, 2015 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.