The new Hitman (opens in new tab) sounds like an interesting prospect. At the Square Enix press conference, developer Io announced that, after the initial December 8 release, they would continue to expand the game with new missions and locations. That raised a question: How?
It turns out that the answer is free updates. All additional content through 2016 will be available to download at no additional cost, with "no DLC or microtransactions".
"It is fully complete at launch but it is not finished," Io boss Hannes Seifert told Videogamer (opens in new tab). "What we do is we start the journey on December 8 and what we put out there is going to be a big game. But over the course of 2016 we'll add more locations, more missions and we'll have things like targets that only appear for, say, two days. That's something you can only do in the live world."
Pre-empting concerns, Seifert confirmed that the game won't be Early Access. "Everything we ship on December 8 will be completely finished, it will be a very polished experience. It's also going to be a very big game."
Seifert claims that the base game will be bigger than Hitman: Absolution, and that its biggest levels will be "way bigger" than anything seen in Hitman: Blood Money.
I really like the sound of limited-time, single opportunity missions. It's a challenge that will require Hitman players to go out of their comfort zone—to accept an outcome that they can't engineer into a perfect rating. It's good to now have it confirmed that they'll be a free optional extra on top of the base game. If Hitman is a return to form for Io, 2016 is going to be packed full of virtual assassination.