Many people were ecstatic last November when IO Interactive revealed that they were working on a new James Bond game, codenamed “Project 007”.
This is the first time the Danish studio has worked on a movie licensed video game, having focused on its own original game series such as Kane & Lynch and Hitman until now.
The latest Hitman games have obviously been inspired by the James Bond movies, especially the “World of Assassination” trilogy which came to an end when IO Interactive released their critically-acclaimed Hitman 3 game this January, arguably the best game in the series so far.
This brought back Agent 47 for another bunch of missions taking place in locations all over the world, taking out evil, powerful people involved in shady business around the globe. And truth be told game makers IO Interactive seemed to already be thinking about their upcoming James Bond game by the end of Hitman 3, with the penultimate mission set in Mendoza, Argentina, really having a 007 feel to it. So was the case of Hitman 2016’s Paris mission, surely one of the best in the series to date.
And it’s likely that IO’s new James Bond game will bear more than a passing resemblance to their latest Hitman games, which are played from a third-person perspective. Actually, a recent job listing for an AI programmer published on the company’s website (via GameSpot) demands “experience working with 3rd person action games” from the applicant, amongst other things.
This means that IO Interactive’s James Bond game could be in third-person like Hitman, which would definitely make sense taking into account every single mainline Hitman game to date has been played in third person.
This wouldn’t be a bad thing taking into account this is the gameplay perspective IO is accustomed too, even if the top-rated James Bond to date (GoldenEye 007 released for the Nintendo 64 in 1997) was a first-person action game.
Also, in the job listing referenced above IO says their team will be “implementing our very own cutting-edge AI tech”, adding that “few AAA companies rely on their own AI technology”.
The artificial intelligence (AI for short) in the Hitman games has always been something of a mixed bag though: non-player characters go about their business in a convincing manner until you cause enough chaos, then the game switches to panic mode, everyone running around like headless chickens on steroids… Guards hunt the player in a convincing mode when on alert, but then go back to patrolling as if nothing had happened after a set period of time.
It’s a good thing that IO Interactive will be doubling down on AI for it’s upcoming James Bond game then, and here’s hoping it’s more convincing overall than that in the Hitman games, which is definitely a bit erratic at times.
Also, it’s nice that IO is in a strong position now to make its James Bond game, with the company opening a new studio in Barcelona, and talking about adding hundreds of new people to its staff. This is in no small part thanks to the success of their latest AAA game Hitman 3, one of the top video games of 2021 so far and the franchise’s top-selling game to date.
I worry, though, that IO may overreach and attempt to bite more than it can chew with the James Bond license… Company CEO Hakan Abrak mentioned this year that it would like to make a trilogy of James Bond games (Project 007 being the first entry in the series), but if the game turns out to be a commercial flop things could be worse at the studio than in 2017, when IO Interactive was dumped by publisher Square Enix and almost ended up closing its doors.
Here’s hoping, then, that IO Interactive’s James Bond game turns out to be a success, at least so that IO can come back to the Hitman franchise bigger and stronger, and also so that 007 fans who are also into gaming can enjoy another good James Bond video game in the future.