This week, in a new FAQ, Square Enix and IO cleared some things up. 8th December is when the new Hitman experience “will begin”.
What’s released on 8th December is not the full game, rather “a sizable chunk of it”. Then, throughout 2016, more locations and missions will be released until the story arc is “done and finished”. You get all of that in the $60 price. The specifics of what, exactly, you get for your cash are yet to be announced.
Square Enix stressed Hitman is not an early access game.
“Early access can often mean something unfinished or unpolished,” the company said. “That’s simply not the approach we’re taking. All of the content we release live to our players will be complete and polished, whether that’s the locations and missions we release on December 8th, the live events or the locations and missions that we will release in 2016. It will always be a polished Hitman experience.”
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“It’s pretty straightforward,” Hitman creative director Christian Elverdam told us, in an interview that you can find in the current issue of the magazine. “We’re building a substantial game, it’s bigger than Absolution. And what we’re basically saying is you can get this for sixty bucks or a standard price, and that’s all you pay. There are two different ways of doing it. You can be part of that live experience of the world unfolding and these locations appearing, and the joy and excitement of knowing that, ‘hey, this location is coming soon’, [and] being part of it when it happens. Or you can wait. At the end of it there’ll be a box. So if that’s what you’re more comfortable with, that’s what you get.”So we asked them “Is Hitman episodic, then?” Well, it is and it isn’t. Here’s their reply :
“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,” SE said.
“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. Our ambition is to have a stream of content available from December 8th until the story arc is finished.”
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Square Enix said the new Hitman will be a game that “lives, grows and evolves” over time. But the entire game will cost $60 and you won’t have to pay any more.
“That $60 includes everything we create in this story arc; from what we release on December 8th through to the end of the story arc in 2016 and all the live events too. There’s no micro-transactions or hidden costs in there. No extra paid DLC on top either. It’s one package, all-in for $60. We want that to be simple and clear and it was important for us to be up-front about that.”
While the new Hitman launches first as a download, it’s not a download-only game. At some point in 2016 it will come out on a disc. And while you can play the locations and missions offline, to play the live events, download updates or see leaderboards, you need to be online.