Square Enix’s revival of the Hitman franchise has been going well after 2012’s well-received Hitman: Absolution, the fifth mainline game in the series, and 2014’s mobile ‘hit’ Hitman Go. At Sony’s E3 press conference in 2015, Square Enix revealed the next game, simply titled Hitman, to be in the works at developer IO-Interactive.
This past month saw the release of the beta for those who pre-ordered the full game or just Episode 1, which launches on March 11. The rest of the episodes will launch throughout the year before a retail copy of the entire game this holiday season. March 4th will see the launch of an open beta available for all PlayStation Plus subscribers on PS4. As the launch of Episode 1 nears, Square Enix has released another story trailer that longtime Hitman fans will enjoy.
The trailer, titled ‘Legacy Opening Cinematic’, showcases assignments and previous jobs Agent 47 completed from past games in the Hitman series, like the assassination of a Yakuza crime boss in Hitman 2. According to developer IO-Interactive, the trailer “bridges the twenty year gap in the new HITMAN game between the end of the Prologue and the Sanguine Fashion Show in Paris.” During the trailer, a voiceover can be heard - possibly the main villain - reciting a monologue about Agent 47. The character is shown briefly at the end of the trailer looking towards the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the scene of the first episode of the game, indicating players may get to meet him immediately.
Studio Head Hannes Seifert spoke about the benefits of the first beta saying, “Our initial beta was an extremely helpful moment for our new HITMAN game, as it gave us great insight into how the server game mechanics function under pressure.” The first Hitman beta on February 12 introduced Agent 47’s handler, Diana Burnwood, as well as giving fans more backstory on the famous assassin and how he joined the International Contract Agency. The developer confirmed those who missed the beta will still be able to play the Prologue missions with Episode 1 of the game.
Square Enix’s business decision to ship the game in parts could be costly for the franchise, especially after layoffs and cuts at IO-Interactive back in 2013. However, if the release format finds success akin to Telltale’s adventure games, it could launch more projects in the Hitman universe like Hitman Go on mobile, and maybe act as a justification for more triple-A games to release in an episodic format. This is also the case with Square Enix’s own Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which will be split into three parts.
Hitman launches on March 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.