With the upcoming release of Hitman on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on March 11th, the biggest question on the minds of many gamers is if it is going to be a hit or a miss.
Certainly the beta divided a lot of opinions, although this was in part due to the so so performance of the game on certain system configurations. It could also be argued that since it was a beta and not the final product, any last minute glitches can and (hopefully will be) ironed out.
The thing is though with such an immersive game as that of the Hitman series, how many people will want to wait a month before the next level becomes available?
The biggest reason for IO Interactive to go down this route is that they feel that it will make for a more enjoyable experience for the gamer since the later levels will be finished to the highest possible standard. Further, each level that is released will have special events tied into them i.e. assassinations that will be able to tide you over until the next level becomes available. When you add to the mix that the much loved Contracts mode is returning to the game then it should be enough to satisfy new and old comers alike. It should also remove the somewhat sour aftertaste of Hitman Absolution.
Hitman compared to Blood Money
The thing is though, after the mixed response to Hitman Absolution it is rightfully going to mean that players will end up comparing the new Hitman to Blood Money which is arguably not only the best game in the series but one of the best games to be released since the turn of the millennium. What made Blood Money so amazing was the fact that you were able to carry out the hits in any way you wished (well to the extent of the limits of the engine at the time). However, the fact that the levels did tie up to each other in some shape or form also added to the experience.
When you factor in the issue that what made the game so immersive was that you couldn’t stop playing and wanted to see how you could progress in all the levels, it might leave die hard fans of the series feeling a bit lukewarm with the latest iteration. No longer will you be able to move onto the next level to see what devious characters you have to off and what equally devious ways you can go about doing this task. Well, you will, but you’re going to have to wait at least a month after completing the level you were already playing on.
For many, this stop start approach could ruin the overall atmosphere of the game since there’s only so many times you can replay the same level whilst waiting for the next one. Of course, the other way to look at it is that IO Interactive do have an amazing track record when it comes to the Hitman games (minus Absolution).
To alleviate any fears gamers may have, the game is also available to pre-order as either the prologue and Paris missions in one package, or to pre-order the entire game in which you’ll receive the new levels as soon as they become available. The benfit of pre-ordering the whole shebang just now is that it’ll be much cheaper going down the full experience route rather than having to buy all of the levels separately. The benefit of pre-ordering the game is that you’ll also get the Hitman Requiem pack which gives you that famous suit from Blood Money as well as an extremely shiny pistol and also an explosive white rubber duck. Yep, a white rubber duck that you can use to blow people to kingdom come.
Depending on the success of Hitman and how well IO can deliver the levels not only on time but in terms of quality could end up altering the gaming landscape. Whilst Nintendo would never go down this route, it wouldn’t be a shock if third party developers were more willing to adopt this approach. In some ways it is similar to the Greenlight system on Steam but on a much larger scale. The next 12 months is certainly going to be interesting, not only for Hitman fans but for the impact it has on gaming as a whole. Hitman is available to pre-order now on Steam.