After causing a bit of a stir by unexpectedly canceling pre-orders of Hitman, Square Enix has announced their decision to release the upcoming series reboot in six separate installments. This allows developer Io-Interactive more time to fine tune the game’s later levels while fostering a more dynamic gaming environment that allows for the inclusion of live gameplay events.
Square Enix will release a prologue and the first location, Paris, on March 11th. The next location, Italy will be released in April, with Morocco slated to come in May. The next three locations — Thailand, the US, in Japan — will be released in the months following. The first installment is priced at $15 and each subsequent location will run for $10 a pop. If consumers are feeling confident about Agent 47‘s globetrotting bounty hunt, they can choose to save $5 by buying the Full Experience for $60 up front.
Hannes Seifert, Head of Studio at Io-Interactive, had this to say about the decision:
We decided to take the full leap and publish HITMAN as a truly episodic game experience. 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 gaming has been gaining momentum over the years for a number of reasons. Releasing the game in parts allows developers to take extra care with later sections, fine tuning content that is increasingly neglected due to recent behavior trends that suggest a very small number of gamers are actually finishing single player campaigns. To that end, episodic releases allow players to tackle big games in more manageable portions and, if they’re not enjoying themselves, abandon them without having spent too much money.
Players who still want a physical collector’s edition, fret not: Square Enix has also announced a collector’s edition to be released later this year, containing a tie (yes, a tie), an ar tbook, an Agent 47 statue, and a digital copy of the game.
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