Back in September last year, IO Interactive announced details of the unusual release schedule for its upcoming Hitman title. The developer said a "good chunk" of the game - the French, Italian, and Moroccan locations - would be available at launch, with three additional locations and extra missions arriving later. But now, IO has announced that things have changed, and that the Hitman reboot will be fully episodic.
The updated game is described as being a "truly episodic, triple-A game experience, with a major live component," by IO. Specifically, it will be released in March with only the Prologue mission and the Paris location; the Italian location will be released in April, followed by Morocco in May.
The company said that following the Morrocco release, there will be monthly content updates throughout 2016, including three additional locations: Thailand, America, and Japan. There will also be weekly live events released until the season concludes with the launch of the Japan location later this year.
"We decided to take the full leap and publish Hitman as a truly episodic game experience," IO boss Hannes Seifert said in a statement. "Part of that decision is for that little bit of extra time to ensure every location we release is at the quality level fitting for a Hitman game. But the main driving reason is that this will allow us to create a living game that will expand and evolve over time and establish a foundation for the future--this is the first game in a storyline which will continue and expand with future Hitman games."
The game's pricing structure has been altered to reflect the new changes. The "full experience," which consists of the game and all additional content, is still $60. The Intro pack, featuring the Prologue and Paris levels, is now $15, with each subsequent location costing $10 each. If you buy the Intro pack and decide you enjoy it and intend to play the full game, a $50 Upgrade Pack can be purchased. A disc version will ship at the end of 2016, which will presumably contain all the released content
Episodic games such as The Walking Dead and Life is Strange have proved successful, but it remains to be seen if the format will work with a game like Hitman.
Hitman will be released on March 11, but a PC beta will be available from February 19. There's also a Collector's Edition available to pre-order (below) for $139.99. If you want to know more, head over to Hitman.com.