Hitman’s convuluted release has taken another surprise twist, with Square Enix, the game’s developer, announcing that the game will now be a full-on episodic game. What does this mean for the average consumer, then? Well, it means you won’t get the full game on day one, and that it’s extremely likely that sometime after the game’s release, you’ll finally be able to pick up the entire game for a cheaper price.
The game will still release digitally on March 11th. PS4, PC, and Xbox One players will get the initial Prologue Mission and Paris location on day one, then the Italy location in April, and then the Morocco level in May. Square Enix promises that there will be continuous monthly updates for all platforms and they’ll include another three locations; Thailand, the United States, and Japan. The game will feature weekly live events with additional content planned between monthly updates. What those inter-update updates will include is currently unknown.
“We decided to take the full leap and publish HITMAN as a truly episodic game experience,”said Hannes Seifert, Head of Studio at Io-Interactive. “Part of that decision is for that little bit of extra time to ensure every location we release is at the quality level fitting for a HITMAN game. 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.”
A new Intro Pack now contains Prologue and Paris levels and will release at the new price of $15 (or local equivalent). Each subsequent location will be priced at $10 as an add-on item to the Intro Pack. Alternatively, players can buy the Full Experience up front for $60. This includes all of this year’s content as it’s released, and guarantees them not to miss any live or bonus content.
As stated earlier in the article, there will be a disc version of Hitman towards the end of 2016, and it’ll most likely contain everything that gets released within the game’s first year. Before Hitman releases there will be a beta. The beta starts on February 12th on PS4 and February 19th on PC. To get access to the beta, you’ll need to pre-order the game; it’s not an open beta.
It’s a bit of a weird one, really, but it seems that with the success of Life is Strange and its episodic format, Square Enix is trying to embrace the episodic release for more games. We’re not so sure it’s the way to go, but time will tell.