The upcoming Hitman reboot which will be released on the 11th March will be fully episodic, Square Enix has announced. The publisher states that "Hitman become a truly episodic AAA game experience, with a major live component."
The Hitman that will be released in March will be just the Prologue and the Paris location, with other locations following, including Italy in April and Morocco releasing in May. From there, three more locations will be released on a regular basis; they will be Thailand, the United States and finally Japan. Square Enix promises the entire story will be finished in 2016.
The initial Prologue and Paris chapter will cost $15, while each of the next locations will be $10. However, it will not cost $65 to own all of the content. Rather, players can pre-pay for the entire series for a standard $60.
Developer Io-Interactive explained the decision to do a Telltale Games-styled "season" of episodes for a game that is decidedly not an adventure game. “We decided to take the full leap and publish HITMAN as a truly episodic game experience,” said studio head, Hannes Seifert. “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.”
Episodic games that were not adventure games have not fared well in the past. The Half-Life 2 episodes have been permanently stuck on a cliffhanger for the past eight years. The less said about SiN, the better. However, Square Enix and Io-Interactive are confident Hitman will be successful.
Cynical gamers probably suspect that the decision was made not to make more money, but that the game is seriously behind its production schedule. Rather than delay the entire game to the end of 2016, which is when Square Enix says the physical game will be available, they'll release what they've completed and release each chapter later.
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