Hitman publisher Square Enix is set to have a big year in 2016 with the releases of both Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Final Fantasy XV. Hitman, launching next month, is the first of the Japanese publisher’s three big games to release, although not all of the game will be playable at once. Square Enix has decided to release Hitman in an episodic manner with the first intro pack coming on March 11 and the last set to release in late 2016.
Pre-orders of the digital edition of the game were cancelled on PlayStation Network after the decision to split the game into episodes, though the complete game is now listed again alongside the first pack. Square Enix announced a beta for the game during the reveal at E3 2015. In a trailer for the beta at PlayStation Experience in December, it was confirmed to be a prequel that takes place 20 years in the past. With the beta set to release on Feb 12, Square Enix has shared more details on what players can expect.
The mission in the beta, named ‘The Prologue’, is Agent 47’s first job for the International Contract Agency. The trailer, seen above, is an extended cut of what was teased at PlayStation Experience and chronicles Agent 47’s handler, Diana Burnwood, choosing to work with him. Those who pre-order the game also get access to the Requiem Pack that includes classic items inspired by Hitman: Blood Money, as well as the ‘Sarajevo Six’ side missions available only to PlayStation players.
The ‘Sarajevo Six’ missions, six in total, will be released periodically with each different location and expansion that is added to the game. The pack sees “Agent 47 travel the world in pursuit of six former members of a paramilitary unit called CICADA.” Developer IO Interactive has confirmed the game will not be receiving a season pass with additional paid content, although having PlayStation exclusive missions does not seem consistent with their goal for players to pay once and play everything free as it is released.
Square Enix’s attempt to make Hitman a household name in the video game world once again will depend on how fans react to their decision on making the game episodic instead of releasing the retail version immediately. The title might see low sales from the various episodes but then a massive increase during the holiday season when the $60 retail version is out. This business model will also be adopted in Square’s own Final Fantasy VII Remake as that will also release in parts - although in that case the decision was probably made because a full retail release would not be seen until 2020. The company is also working in-house on Kingdom Hearts III and finishing up Final Fantasy XV.
Hitman is set to release on March 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.