I’m a big fan of the Hitman franchise. I played the first game back in high school when it originally came out, and have played every one of them since. Even the crappy one titled Hitman: Contracts, which is impossible to find.
I’m concerned about the newest addition to the franchise: Hitman. When first announced by developer IO Interactive, it stated that the game would be released in parts with additional content released at a later date to fully flesh out the game. The Internet naturally assumed that the game was going to be episodic. IO came back quickly saying that it wasn’t an episodic game… This is what it told Gamespot on July 9, ’15.
“We think the word ‘episodic’ sets up the expectation that we will sell individual content drops for individual prices but that’s not something we’re planning to do. That said, there are some episodic elements to the story in the sense that it’s delivered in chunks over time, so experiencing the story will probably feel episodic. But there is also a ton of other content including live events, which have nothing to do with the story. We’ll also be improving and changing the game constantly whilst you’re playing it.”
…and then it just gave up. Here’s a statement it posted to the Hitman (dot come) blog on Thursday:
After a lot of consideration, we decided to take the full leap and publish HITMAN as a truly episodic game experience with a major live component. It’s not a decision we’ve taken lightly and we fully acknowledge that the decision may frustrate some players. But it is a shift that we believe will ensure the best possible foundation for this game and the future of HITMAN.
That’s right folks, Hitman is now officially an episodic game. The game will be split into parts the first including Prologue and Paris levels for $15. Additional levels will be $10 each after that. Customers may also buy the whole package for $60 or wait for the disc near 2016’s end.
The Hitman franchise seems to be suffering an identity crisis. Hitman: Absolution, the last Hitman game, did some great things, but overall missed the mark of being a great Hitman game. It seems IO is struggling to get traction. The unfortunate thing in all this is fans know what we want.
Hitman: Blood Money is hailed as the best in the franchise. It’s the best because it nails the Hitman formula perfect, which was developed over the course of the last several games. If IO wants to make a good Hitman game, it just needs to duplicate the Blood Money formula. Instead we get weird release cycles, developer double talk and delays. As a fan of the franchise, I’m troubled.
Regardless of my thoughts, the first installment of Hitman drops March 11. PC players can get into a beta of the game starting February 19th, if they pre-order. Hopefully, I’m wrong and the game will be great!