Hitman to be an Episodic Game and Why We Should be Excited
Our favourite modern-day assassin, Agent 47, is back in the latest instalment of the Hitman game series. The new game will find globetrotting Agent 47 in the prime of his career, stalking and bringing to end the life of his preys in trademark cold blooded Hitman style.
This latest instalment takes us back to a time before the chaos of Hitman Absolution. A time in which Agent 47 is an operative of the International Contract Agency, and Diana Burnwood still his handler helping 47 take out high profile targets from around the world.
This new game is set to be released in an “Episodic” manner, with the first episode consisting of the prologue and the Paris Map slated to go live on 11th March, 2015. This will be followed by the next episode set in Italy in April, and Morroco in May. Further map locations such as the USA, Japan, and Thailand will be released along with monthly downloadable content.
Square Enix and IOinteractive with this strategy of releasing episodic content are looking at redefining not just the Hitman video game series, but the way mainstream games work in particular. The game studio has revealed that this is not just a simple marketing gimmick which will see the studio trying to tap changing consumer behaviours of the population of today, but will try to achieve something more.
Travis Barbour, a senior figure at IO posted on the PlayStation blog that this game will unfold over multiple seasons. Different Episodes of the game in the beginning will run parallel with each other, however, towards the end the end of the season they will merge together.
He further stated that the episodic nature of this video game allows them to create individual stories, and also create stories involving all of the new cast something which will not be possible if the developers are confined within the narrow structure that the industry currently follows for mainstream games.
This format will allow the developers to create a living world that will expand and evolve over time with the help of updates, and content additions helping the game to expand with future Hitman games.
Coming to the gameplay, the new game will also see a much-wanted return to the old stealth strategy gameplay for the franchise. The trailer hints for the game to be going back to its violent ways that made people like it in the first place. This new game will feature the classic Hitman formula of the puzzle game rather than simply being a gory blockbuster.
Like the earlier instalments of the series, the structure of the new Hitman game is based on killing a specific target or targets across each level but, disguises, exploration and concealed weapons will play more of a part than they did before because of the expanded sandbox nature of the game. The episodic format will now see big complex levels full of non-playable, but interactable characters and multiple options for terminating your targets.
Forget the fact that this game is an important milestone in the timeline of the franchise, the new Hitman has the potential of impacting the industry throughout. The episodic release structure has been typically used for smaller games such as Life is Strange or Minecraft: Story Mode but never before for big name titles such as the upcoming Hitman title. How the game does upon launch could persuade game publishers, and studios to come out with more such games which frankly could be a great thing for the evolution of the industry.