Square Enix and IO Interactive have finally detailed how Hitman will be priced for its March 11 release on Xbox One, PS4 and PC. The game will release in episodes throughout 2016, starting with the Paris mission, which will be available for $15 for home consoles and PC.
Shacknews did a breakdown of the new model that Square is employing for Hitman, which they've dubbed as an “Episodic AAA game”. The company cancelled the previous pre-order model they had setup to announce something new.
After the base game launches in March for $15, additional story missions set in different locations will follow in each subsequent month. The Italy level will be made available in April for $10, followed by a Morocco mission in May. Thailand and the U.S., will both receive maps – most likely sometime throughout the summer – and things will wrap up in 2016 with a stage set in Japan.
Each of the maps following the March 11 release will total $60 if you buy them all separately. Square Enix has plans to re-release the game as a complete package in the fall of 2016 as a $60 physical package that includes all of the maps. This is $15 cheaper than paying for each map separately. It's a risky move given that the scattered release means that people who would rather get the full game will just wait to buy the full thing in the fall. Of course, there are going to be some gamers who won't want to wait and will likely want to test out to see if the game is worth owning as a complete package, and will likely purchase the $15 Hitman entry to dip their toes in the water.
IO Interactive and Square Enix are also planning to roll out a beta test for the game in February ahead of the March release. Starting February 12, gamers who pre-purchased the full game on PS4 will be able to beta test the game briefly ahead of the March 11 release. Additionally, PS4 owners will be treated to an exclusive Hitman mission called “The Sarajevo Six”. It's an additional mission set within the Paris map that sees Agent 47 attempting to subdue a group of former paramilitary soldiers going by the rogue codename “CICADA”.
PC gamers will also be able to participate in a special beta as well starting February 19. Just like the PS4 version of Hitman, PC gamers will be required to pre-purchase the game to gain guaranteed access to the beta.
The news has been received with somewhat mixed reactions. Some gamers feel as if the game is being stripped down from what the Hitman series once was. Others feel as if it's an experimental and creative approach to a AAA game, and if it's done well it could prove to be a useful way of selling AAA titles as episodic content. The $15 price tag also makes it look far less like a risk given that the hardcore gamers these days have become seriously burned out on very bad $60 titles.
According to the press release there may also be bonus content released throughout the year for Hitman. I imagine extra costumes and weapons will be on the table, along with maybe some new side-missions for some of the maps? They did mention previously that they would be making sure that each of the maps would have plenty of replayable side-missions for players to dabble in beyond taking out the main target.
The digital version of Hitman is due for release on March 11 while the full disc version will launch at the end of 2016.