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.