In anticipation of the game’s imminent beta test, developer Io-Interactive has touched base on the key elements of its upcoming Hitman reboot and, specifically, those “controversial” release plans.
Originally, the title was pitched as a $60 experience that would introduce additional content after launch, before the studio opted to postpone the game in light of criticism. Fast forward to 2016 and Io has settled on the “fully episodic” blueprint, likening Hitman‘s release plans to a televised series, with a physical version capping off the season at the end of the year.
Reflecting on this “soul searching,” Studio Head Hannes Seifert admitted that Io-Interactive’s chopping and changing has led to confusion among its audience. Per VideoGamer:
“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 a 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.”
Now that the content plans have been locked down, Hitman will debut in March heralding one location and the Prologue mission, before a series of free updates roll out after launch layering Agent 47’s journey with new missions, contracts and locations.
“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?”
Before its initial launch on March 11, a Hitman beta is due to go live for PlayStation 4 on February 12.