Hitman 3 will retroactively optimise the first two games

Hitman 3 may be looking awfully sharp in Game Informer's new gameplay footage—but it appears Agent 47's previous outings will also be getting a spit-shine when the trilogy-closer arrives later this month.

Following the trailer's debut on New Year's Eve, a developer at IO Interactive took to ResetEra to explain some of the technical improvements the team is retroactively applying to Hitman 1 and 2. For starters, all three games have had their file structures optimised, fitting the entire trilogy into a tidy 100GB.

"One thing I think all of you will be happy to hear is that we have managed to get the size of the game down significantly," the IO dev wrote. "All three games with all content will take up around 100GB."

"Biggest wins are because of data management and file structures and how we deliver the game so we could remove duplicate data. We also use newer and better compression for textures—that helps too."

Despite being crammed into a smaller package, the first two Hitmen are also getting small visual upgrades. Hitman 3 adds screenspace reflections to the engine, a visual update that's turned out to be backwards compatible with the previous games. Those used clunkier, more expensive ways of handling reflections (effectively rendering the entire scene twice), but the IO dev reckons the improvements breathe new life into some of the series' older stages.

"We definitely hade reflections in the other two games, but we have indeed upgraded the engine with screenspace reflections and so there will be much more reflected goodness this time around. As an example, the Paris fashion show catwalk floor is now fully reflecting the models and the rest of the room, making the whole scenario look way more impressive."

While not explicitly stated, the framing of "backwards compatibility" suggests this'll apply to the old games themselves, and not just the old stages included in the Hitman 3 client.

Hitman 3 sneaks out on January 20 as an Epic Games Store exclusive, though IO promise your progress from Hitman 2 will carry over from Steam. It'll also be the last Hitman game for some time, as IO prepare to serve up an as-yet-untitled James Bond game.

Natalie Clayton
Features Producer

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time, and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and a part-time game developer herself, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She also unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.