The new Hitman is an exciting prospect, albeit one with an unusual release plan. Eventually, there will be a full Hitman game. What will launch in December, however, is a streamlined version that will be updated across subsequent weeks and months with new missions, locations and special time-limited events. It's simultaneously early access, episodic and 'none-of-the-above'.
When I spoke to IO studio head Hannes Seifert at Gamescom, I asked him outright: how much stuff will be in Hitman at launch?
"That's a very valid question, and we're going to answer that in a very detailed way very briefly after Gamescom," says Seifert. "And the reason for that is the following: we know that when we do something that new and ground breaking, people have questions ... What we want to do is we want to be very clear about what comes when over the course of the game."
Seifert stresses that Hitman will be a one-time $60 purchase, with "no other opportunities to spend money in the game." The game may be expanding through updates over the course of its life, but it will not have microtransactions nor DLC.
According to Seifert, IO doesn't want to announce specifics until they're sure they can keep the promises that they make. "It's really important for me," he says, "otherwise we lose the trust. When you do something new it's important to build and keep that trust.
"The thing we'll promise is what people will get at what time, and we want to make damn sure we keep that promise. The planning and our production needs to be solid enough that we can promise. For that we ask for a little bit more patience."
Seifert says he understands that people should be allowed to make an informed purchase decision. "That's fair," he says. "The one thing we can tell you already is we looked at the historic data from Blood Money and Absolution, so we know how long people took to play the single player missions." IO has compared that data with user researched and closed alpha tests of the current game. "We have a good feeling about how long [Hitman] is going to be. We know it's going to be bigger than Blood Money was.
"The single player experience will be a very big game, but that does not include the live aspect or Contracts mode. We're pretty confident that with all of that on top, it's going to be the biggest Hitman experience that we've ever launched."