Hitman 2016 – the Episodic Adventure

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We’ve been getting a lot of email asking if the boxed edition of Hitman (2016) that is set to release before Christmas is worth buying? The simple answer to that is, uh, yeah! That said though with the release of the last episode it’s time to talk about Hitman.

The final chapter of Season 1 is the Hokkaido, Japan Episode (Episode 6), which released in October and marks the very end of the episodic release schedule for Season 1. We’re still not certain what caused the soap opera that seemed to surround it over the course of the past year, but when all is said and done, we are pretty satisfied with the way this all turned out.

When the reboot of the Hitman series – Hitman (2016) – was announced at E3, the game play video samples that they offered us at the Square Enix booth made a definite – and good – impression.

Originally the game was going to be released in the traditional manner, which is to say the wizards behind the game create it, it gets retail boxed packaging, and it gets played like most video games get played.

Then they announced that the game would be split up into several parts, with the initial release set for March 2016 and containing three locations — Paris, France; Sapienza, Italy; and Marrakesh, Morocco. But that was not what happened…

The Episodic Release Announcement

After the initial reveal and announcement – then the announcement that it would be split into chunks – the folks over at Square Enix – and the game wizards at Io Interactive – changed their mind and their plans for the new Hitman again, opting to release the game in two distinct stages.

The first stage would consist of the game engine and base game plus the first Chapter – the Paris Map – and the second stage would be made up of regular episodic releases.

Episodes (or chapters) that would arrive on a schedule of about one per month, which would contain a new map, and a new set of challenges built around the story mode level for that episode / month.

The way that they described it was as “a truly episodic AAA game experience, with a major live component.”

“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, in a press release.

“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.”

When the game launched on 11 March 2016 it did so in digital form; a physical copy in the form of a retail boxed disc would not be arriving until the entire set of episodes were released.

The game featured a rather creative form of pricing – the base game, which included the Prologue Chapter as well as the first Episode (Paris) could be had for $15, with each additional episode costing $10. Or the intro package could later be upgraded to the full package for an additional $49. Players also had the option to purchase the full game at $60.

Ultimately the first season of the game consisted of the following:

  • Prologue + Episode 1: France – Paris / The Showstopper (March)
  • Episode 2: Italy – Sapienza / World of Tomorrow (April)
  • Episode 3: Morocco – Marrakesh / Gilded Cage (May)
  • Special Summer Bonus Episode – Sapienza + Marrakesh / The Icon + A House Built on Sand
  • Episode 4: Thailand – Bangkok / Club 27 (August)
  • Episode 5: United States – Colorado / Freedom Fighters (September)
  • Episode 6: Japan – Hokkaido / Situs Inversus (October)

In addition to the above story-mode missions there were also Weekly live events that alternated between Elusive Target Contracts and Escalation Contracts, offering the players a combination of missable content and unmissable content in the form of escalating contracts.

Only the folks at IO and Square know for sure what the real reasons were for the game being carved up like it was – but we know that regardless, it turned out to be well worth the wait and the delay. Hitman (2016) ended up being a worthy successor to the last game in the series and we cannot wait to see what comes next.

That said though – if you were waiting to see whether this was worth getting you should really wait a little longer and buy the retail boxed disc rather than the digital version, because the disc comes with all of the extra content, including some sweet in-game items.  So yeah, worth getting, worth waiting a little while longer to get.

If you are curious about our impressions of the game, check out the game reviews we have written so far over at the Cape Cod Times:

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