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New Hitman game switches to episodic model

By Matthew Handrahan

New Hitman game switches to episodic model

Fri 15 Jan 2016 3:26pm GMT / 10:26am EST / 7:26am PST
PublishingDevelopment

"We fully acknowledge that the decision may frustrate some players"

The next game in IO Interactive's Hitman franchise will be episodic, a different structure to the one the Danish studio described when the game was first announced.

It has always been clear that IO's plans for the plainly titled Hitman were rooted in a live experience that evolved based on its players' actions and responses. However, as Square Enix's Phil Rogers explained to GamesIndustry.biz at Gamescom last year, the intention was to, "keep the business model very simple. There's going to be one price, so we're not talking microtransactions."

To be perfectly clear, we still aren't talking microtransactions, but a blog post from IO Interactive has described a change in strategy around the structure of Hitman that will complicate its pricing model.

"After a lot of consideration, we decided to take the full leap and publish Hitman as a truly episodic game experience with a major live component. It's not a decision we've taken lightly and we fully acknowledge that the decision may frustrate some players. But it is a shift that we believe will ensure the best possible foundation for this game and the future of Hitman."

Frankly, this decision arrives surprisingly close to the game's scheduled launch on March 11, and only a month before the beta is expected to go live. Those plans remain the same, but the product released on March 11 will be an "Intro Pack," which includes the Prologue and the Paris location, priced at $15. Other locations will be released on a monthly basis, and each will cost a further $10. Alternatively, those still interested in "[keeping] the business model very simple" will be able to purchase all subsequent locations and updates in a $50 "Upgrade Pack."

"Weekly live events and additional planned content will give you plenty to do in the time between location releases," IO explained.

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6 Comments

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

200 279 1.4
Digital only or a retail sku? Not much trade-in value for a $15 game.

Posted:4 months ago

#1

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing

684 446 0.7
It's almost certainly digital only, with a complete edition retail SKU at the end

Posted:4 months ago

#2

Sandy Lobban , Noise Me Up

375 312 0.8
From a business point of view, episodic delivery has a lot of dangers. It's not like TV where a network signs up for the season and costs are covered. The marketing of a new episode probably doesn't lead to the same hype around the product either. Big one, but will be good to see if they can make it work.

Posted:4 months ago

#3

Richard Browne Partner & Head of Interactive, Many Rivers Productions

200 279 1.4
Its a system of two selling windows with large dropoffs in between ; make the first episode good enough to get people to subscribe, give that episode away later down the chain to pull in new users. It can be very effective as Telltale has shown.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Richard Browne on 18th January 2016 4:59pm

Posted:4 months ago

#4

Fazi Zsolt Game & Level Designer @Atypical Games

38 19 0.5
I see this announcement in two ways:
1. We finished the game, but thought maybe it's not as polished as we would want it to be, so let's just split up the game into several episodes. This way we get extra time to finish up the parts that we are not satisfied by and it can also be an experiment, trying the telltale model of episodic play and see how it works out.

2. The game was planned to be released as usual, but the marketing department along with studio big wigs decided to break the game up into several parts, to see if they can milk more money out of it. + the entry fee is more accessible to players across the board than the original full priced model. So even if half of the players opt out of buying the third episode, they will still get between 25-30$ from the first two episodes.

This may also look like a low risk vs high reward situation, because in the worst case scenario they will just withdraw from the episodic format and release it all as one content. (worst case if the community backlash is harsh)

Posted:4 months ago

#5

Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany

1,112 1,214 1.1
Well. Hope this works in the end. Personally this makes me less interested; I'm the person who didn't play Walking Dead and Life is Strange (still not done with it) until the full season was available.

Posted:4 months ago

#6

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