Although sales for the last Hitman game, Absolution, were less than publisher Square Enix was hoping for, the good news is Agent 47 is making the jump to next-gen. Just how exactly this next Hitman game will differ from previous iterations was unclear when Square broke the news of a next-gen Hitman, but an open letter from developer IO Interactive has helped clear things up.
Without giving too much away, IO’s sets the stage for the next Hitman game, which is said to be a globe-trotting experience set at the height of Agent 47’s career. It also sounds like the most ambitious entry in the franchise, one that features “the largest levels we have ever built for a Hitman game.”
Story specifics are still a mystery but the letter says that Agent 47 will still be working alongside his handler Diana Burnwood and the whole of the ICA. So, rest assured this is the contract-killing Agent 47 fans that willfully travels to exotic locations, and not an agent on the run.
The new game is being built from the ground up using the Glacier 2 engine, and will reportedly incorporate lessons learned from the entire Hitman catalogue. IO Interactive cites Contracts and Blood Money specifically – a smart move considering those games’ places at the top of the Hitman series.
Gameplay will still favor a free form, open approach where players can eliminate their targets via a variety of avenues, but what will be different this time around is the level design. IO wants to create a “checkpoint-free sandbox” for players that will feels “open” and will hopefully bring about as many trademark “Hitman moments” as possible. The Hitman franchise has always been about freedom of choice when it comes to eliminating a target, and this game apparently takes that idea to a new level.
As far as returning features, IO revealed that the Contracts mode from Absolution will return. With the mode, players are able to create new challenges for their friends to complete in addition to the standard contract. What won’t be returning, however, are the magic pockets that Agent 47 tends to have from time to time. They don’t say too much beyond that, but IO suggests the inventory system in this new game will be more realistic than in past games. That design choice worked wonders for the Tomb Raider reboot, so we’re not surprised to see it trickle over to Hitman as well.
There is obviously plenty more for IO Interactive to reveal in the future about this next-gen Hitman game, but they wanted to set the stage for fans and give them some sense as to how this game will differ from or improve upon past games. No doubt, the game certainly sounds ambitious, and looks to incorporate many of the major buzzwords (open world, sandbox, checkpoint-free) of the next-gen, but these are only ideas at this point. But, for an detailed plan geared at reinvigorating a once-popular franchise, we’re intrigued.
How do you feel about IO Interactive’s proposed direction for this next-gen Hitman game? Is there anything you are surprised by?
Share your thoughts on this next Hitman game with me on Twitter @ANTaormina