IO Interactive does love a roadmap, and it's shared the latest for the wonderful Hitman 3 (opens in new tab). The biggest news is that the anticipated Freelancer, a new mode littered with roguelike elements (opens in new tab), is being delayed, and the developer expects to have it ready in the second half of the year.
"In short, this mode is quite expansive and involving," writes IO in a blogpost (opens in new tab). "It’s built for players that want to dive deeper into what a Hitman game can be and for that reason, we’ve decided to give it more time."
IO calls this "a luxurious decision" because of Hitman 3's commercial success, so "we’re able to give our team that extra time to tighten the bolts and make sure that the mode is as close to our ambitions as possible."
Freelancer is at a stage where playable builds are being distributed among certain community members, and IO reckons it's currently "in very good shape" but with the delay it can "improve several elements that we think will greatly improve the gameplay experience." The mode is now due in "the second half of 2022."
The delay to what is intended to be a major part of Hitman 3's future has had some knock-on effects on what's previously been announced. The next major patch will arrive May 24 and bring "a few more rounds of Featured Contracts than we normally release over the course of a month—although we are brewing on some exciting ideas for how to make the most of them…"
The studio's also bringing forward the release date of the ‘Rocky’ map first revealed in January, which is now due in July 2022 and acts as a prequel to Hitman 3. It apparently "fills in a few gaps from the World of Assassination storyline" and has a new screenshot and a name: Ambrose Island.
Hitman 3 has been a huge success for IO Interactive, and the trilogy surely now stands as the most complete assassin-em-up experience ever made. Freelancer is another brilliant idea in a re-imagining of the game that has been full of them and, if IO can pull it off, sounds like one of the best ways ever to play Hitman. Few fans will begrudge the studio taking the time to get it right—after all, when it comes to the World of Assassination trilogy, it has so far.