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Over on the Hitman blog, they've announced that a new "Professional" difficulty level is being added to the game. This difficulty setting is primed to tweak the game in six key areas that, in short, aim to make playing the game a heck of a lot more difficult. This new feature will be added into Hitman as part of its January update at no charge come Jan. 31.
The way the new Hitman was designed already offers a huge amount of replayability thanks to a dynamic world, varied objectives and a toy trunk full of options concerning how players want to go about achieving their goals. The new Professional difficulty level will add to that replay value exponentially, giving players even more challenges to overcome as they play their way across the games varied maps.
According to the announcement, the new difficulty level will offer its own mastery track boasting unique rewards, as well as more difficult game mechanics intended to put your skills to the test.
As you can see, those new mechanics include enhanced AI behavior, meaning that the baddies won't be quite so easy to fool or evade in Professional mode. There are also strict new rule sets that limit the player's ability to just play things by ear. To help keep the player in line, new security camera logic is also being implemented that, again, should make it harder for you to just whack a fool and hide in the crowd.
As if that weren't enough, you'll be limited in when and where you can save your progress in these more difficult missions and, yep, "lethal combat" means that the baddies are more likely to kill you after flexing their enhanced brain power. As mentioned above, this new difficulty will offer new rewards, too, so it's not like you'll be going through assassination hell for no good reason.
To help players with their bragging rights, leaderboards will now be divided based on difficulty level, so you'll have something worth being smug about if you can climb to the top of a Professional difficulty ranking.
In order to unlock the new difficulty level, you'll need to reach Mastery Level 20 for each location. All Year One locations in Hitman will have Professional difficulty, save the Prologue mission. So while you're waiting on those Year Two maps and missions to show up, it sounds like Professional difficulty challenges will help keep you busy...Or maybe drive you insane.