Among the more unexpected announcements to arise from E3 2015 at the Sony Press Conference, Square Enix and IO Interactive are heading back into the world of assassination with Hitman later this year – leading into the game with a digital release this winter, IO took to clarifying some details regarding the game’s different release strategy from past games.
Developer IO Interactive posted a Q&A section to the official website of the upcoming Hitman, seeking to clarify and elaborate on the release strategy and content that players can expect from the sixth entry in the Hitman series, which seeks to reboot the series in a way with a brand new style of play.
In the Q&A, IO Interactive clarified that, as previously announced, Hitman will release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on December 8th, 2015 with the game to lead with a digital release: however, the expectations of what content and how it will be released has been detailed by IO Interactive, as the company explained that the game’s digital release this December is “when the experience will begin. And it’s really important to us that this is understood as a ‘beginning’.” IO further detailed in its Q&A:
What we release on December 8th is not the full game. It’s a sizeable chunk of it. Throughout 2016 we’ll release more locations and missions until the story arc is done and finished. All of that content is included in the $60 price.
We know that the specifics of exactly what is included on December 8th are very important to some of you. We’re finalizing those plans and look forward to sharing them with you. Stay tuned for more details on this.
However, IO Interactive also sought to quell the idea that Hitman will be an “Early Access” game, and instead is opting for more gradual releases of new content following the game’s launch, explaining:
That’s simply not the approach we’re taking. All of the content we release live to our players will be complete and polished, whether that’s the locations and missions we release on December 8th, the live events or the locations and missions that we will release in 2016. It will always be a polished Hitman experience.
Regarding the stance that Hitman may be following a release strategy more in line with an episodic game, IO Interactive also clarified that the game will not necessarily be “episodic” and didn’t want to categorize the game in that light, explaining:
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. Our ambition is to have a stream of content available from December 8th until the story arc is finished.
The thing is, there isn’t really a term to describe what we’re doing. That’s why we’re calling it a ‘live’ experience because it feels like that’s what it is – something that lives, grows and evolves.
While the game will be releasing first through digital platforms on PS4, Xbox One, and PC, (followed by a physical release in 2016), IO Interactive explained that the game’s $60 price tag will get players “everything we create in this story arc,” emphasizing that the full retail price will be getting players all of the content from its December release through the end of the story in 2016. That includes all of the live events, with no micro-transactions, hidden costs, no extra paid DLC, etc: the intention is for a full-fledged, all-inclusive $60 package for the upcoming Hitman.
To cap off the Q&A, IO Interactive explained the online/offline components of Hitman as well, explaining that “locations and missions” will be able to be played offline, while other content such as leaderboards, downloading updates, and live events will only be available online.
Hitman releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on December 8th, 2015.