At E3 this year, IO Interactive announced a new game in the Hitman franchise simply entitled HITMAN. In a Q&A posted on the game’s website, the developers explained a little more about how players will be getting and experiencing the game.
HITMAN will launch on PS4, Xbox One and PC on December 8th this year as a digital download, with a physical copy of the game coming later. However, what is getting released is on December 8th is not the full game. Rather, it’s a sizeable portion of it which IO Interactive will add to throughout 2016, releasing more locations and missions until the story arc is done and finished. All of that content will be included in the $60 price tag.
However, the studio does not consider this launch strategy as being early access, saying:
Early access can often mean something unfinished or unpolished. 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.
Nor does the studio think the franchise has shifted to an episodic style of content.
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. 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.
Instead, until a better term comes up, they describe the game as a “live” experience because “it feels like that’s what it is – something that lives, grows and evolves.”