It’s a time of change for Square Enix’s Hitman franchise, which is making the move from a full, upfront release to a digital, semi-episodic approach. Rather, make that fully episodic, as the upcoming game just switched gears again.
Instead of releasing a sizeable starter pack and then adding free content to it over time, Square Enix and developer IO Interactive will instead parcel out the stealth assassin game in small chunks throughout the year. Each piece of the experience will be separately priced, all adding up to what might have otherwise been a full, all-in-one campaign.
The first chunk will release on 11 March, bringing a prologue mission and the sandbox Paris location to players. Italy will be released in April, Morocco will follow in May, and then locations based on Thailand, the United States, and Japan will come monthly thereafter. Eventually, a disc-based release will collect everything for anyone who feels like waiting several months for a hard copy.
Players can buy the entire season of content upfront for $60 (or a rough equivalent – It’s about a grand right now), or buy the intro pack for $15 (R250) and the five remaining packs for $10 (R170) each. PlayStation 4 buyers also get exclusive Sarajevo Six missions set across all six locales, plus there will be time-limited “live missions” that pop up on all platforms in the months ahead.
“Part of that decision [to go episodic] is for that little bit of extra time to ensure every location we release is at the quality level fitting for a Hitman game,” explains Hannes Seifer, IO Interactive studio head. “But the main driving reason is that this will allow us to create a living game that will expand and evolve over time and establish a foundation for the future – this is the first game in a storyline which will continue and expand with future Hitman games.”
IO will run a beta test on PlayStation 4 and PC next month, with the PS4 beta beginning on 12 February and PC following suit on 19 February. It’s not an open beta, but anyone who pre-orders the intro pack or the full game experience will gain guaranteed access. There’s no beta on Xbox One, but the game itself will hit Microsoft’s console in March, as well.
Source: Square Enix