IO partners with Warner Bros for Hitman 2, ditches episodic format

New game won't have the bold structure of its predecessor, will launch in November

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has picked up the new game in long-running Hitman franchise - but it will not have the episodic structure of IO Interactive's bold 2016 reboot.

Hitman 2 will be the first game in the series' 18 year history not to be published by Eidos or Square Enix. IO Interactive, the Danish studio that created the IP, was previously owned by Square Enix, but it regained its independence through a management buyout last year.

However, the creative control promised by independence was apparently not great enough for IO to pursue its most ambitious idea for Hitman since the franchise started: a new structure similar to a season of television, in which the large, detailed locations that are the series' trademark were released and sold as discrete episodes, with live events to retain player interest.

When we talked to IO's then studio head Hannes Seifert in November 2016 was clear that the vision for the format stretched far beyond a single season.

"When we say an ever expanding world of assassination, it means we don't have to take everything that's out there, throw it away and make a new game," he said. "We can actually build on that. Just imagine after two or three seasons, you enter at that point in time, the amount of content will just blow your mind. That's where we want to be."

However, Hitman 2 will be a more conventional release, more in keeping with the series prior to 2016. Indeed, pre-orders for the game are already open on Steam, with a release date set for November 13, 2018.

Anyone that pre-orders the game will be able to access a new co-operative "Sniper Assassin" mode immediately.

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