‘Sizable chunk’ playable at launch
Amidst the rush of E3, I missed hearing about IO Interactive’s unusual release plan for Hitman. In a Q&A today, the studio reiterated some of those points and highlighted new details.
To recap: “What we release on December 8th [as a download for PC, PS4, and Xbox One] is not the full game. It’s a sizeable chunk of it. Throughout 2016 we’ll release more locations and missions until the story arc is done and finished. All of that content is included in the $60 price. We know that the specifics of exactly what is included on December 8th are very important to some of you. We’re finalizing those plans and look forward to sharing them with you.”
IO Interactive stresses that unlike early access games, this “will always be a polished Hitman experience,” and argues that its approach isn’t episodic. Not exactly. “We think the word’ episodic’ sets up the expectation that we will sell individual content drops for individual prices but that’s not something we’re planning to do. That said, there are some episodic elements to the story in the sense that it’s delivered in chunks over time, so experiencing the story will probably feel episodic. But there is also a ton of other content including live events, which have nothing to do with the story. We’ll also be improving and changing the game constantly whilst you’re playing it.”
The end result is that the game will be a digital-only release this year. The disc-based version will arrive “at some point in 2016.” Also, yes, Hitman will be playable offline. “You will be able to play the locations and missions offline,” but not participate the live events or leaderboards.
I’m not opposed to this concept, but I probably won’t be there on day one, either. Assuming it’s not a disaster, we should see plenty more “persistent online experiences” from Square Enix.
HITMAN Q&A [Hitman]