Many fans of the Hitman video games were elated when Danish developer IO Interactive revealed earlier this month that a new content announcement would be made on October 24. Some had speculated that a new episode of expansion for their latest Hitman game would be coming soon, or even than a world-famous French video game company had bought the studio (a swirly shape in an image used to tease the reveal looked quite a bit like Ubisoft’s logo, you see).
In the end, IO Interactive’s reveal turned out to be something of a disappointment, as the Danish studio just announced that a Game of the Year edition of their Hitman 2016 game would be released this November.
But to be fair to IO, the company had already stated they would not be announcing season 2 of Hitman. And at least existing owners of their latest Hitman game will be able to upgrade to the new GOTY edition for a reasonable fee too. Also, the new edition of last year’s Hitman game features a new campaign titled “Patient Zero”, which does look interesting enough, while the fact that IO is bringing back Hitman’s Elusive Targets starting next month surely is icing on the cake.
Looking at what’s featured in this GOTY edition, though, it’s hard not to notice that IO has dropped the word “season” and “episode” for this upcoming release. Actually, the Patient Zero extra content is split into several missions and has been branded a “campaign” instead of a “bonus episode”.
This is significant (aside from the fact that IO previously said not to expect any season 2 announcement this month) and suggests the Danish studio might have dropped their plans to release further episodic seasons of Hitman.
This makes sense taking into account that releasing last year’s Hitman game episodically seems to have been something of a disaster for IO. Because looking at unofficial sales data on VGChartz and the likes of Steamspy (which shows that less than 1 million users own the game on PC) it’s clear this is nowhere near the best-selling Hitman game to date, that being 2012’s Hitman: Absolution. Actually, Hitman 2016 likely was a minor disaster for publisher Square Enix last year, leading to the Japanese company’s decision to dump IO last May.
It’s unlikely that we will see another episodic release of Hitman anytime soon then, meaning we shouldn’t expect season 2 in the near future, and this is a pity. I personally enjoyed each of the 6 episodes that IO released as part of season one last year, the enormous maps and beautiful locations offering countless possibilities to deal with targets, this allowing me to be creative when carrying out the game’s assassination missions.
So instead of last year’s open-ended episodes we’ll likely now get campaigns split into several missions, with the new Patient Zero campaign featured in Hitman’s GOTY edition being a taster of things to come.
It makes sense, though, that IO would make their next Hitman game more like 2012’s Hitman: Absolution (their best-selling game to date) than last year’s effort, despite the latter getting so much praise from hardcore fans and the gaming press in 2016.
So even if some could be annoyed by the fact that the next Hitman game is more likely to play and look like Hitman: Absolution than last year’s episodic release, here’s hoping that Agent 47’s next game turns out to be a good entry in the franchise that both hardcore fans and casual players can enjoy.