Square Enix Montreal is no longer working on a next-gen Hitman game but series creator IO Interactive still is. Today they revealed the first details on the sixth Hitman, in development for PC and next-gen consoles.
Hitman 6 (or whatever) once again stars Agent 47, the infamous, bald killing machine. The concept art released in 2012 made me worry that they were going to switch protagonists. IO knows that it wouldn't feel like a Hitman game without him, though.
Agent 47 be taking assassination contracts from ICA and receiving assistance from his handler Diana Burnwood. While Hitman: Absolution mostly took place in the United States, the upcoming next-gen game will have a global campaign.
IO Interactive says that Hitman 6 uses the Glacier 2 engine created for Absolution. They emphasize that H6 won't be a retread of Absolution, though. They're drawing on the "best parts" of that game as well as previous titles like Blood Money and Contracts in building Agent 47's next-gen debut.
"That means we’re packing in an extreme level of detail on the largest levels we have ever built for a Hitman game," the developer said in their open letter to fans. "We’ve adopted an open, non-linear level design approach to the game, ensuring the game will play out across huge, checkpoint-free, sandbox levels. Our aim is to create living, breathing and believable levels which will allow gamers to play around with the AI to create those unique moments every fan of the Hitman franchise loves."
Absolution, by contrast, diced up missions into multiple small levels. I didn't mind it so much but it certainly was a jarring change from the massive maps of previous games. It's great to hear that next-gen platforms are allowing IO to go big again.
Contracts Mode, arguably the best part of Absolution, will be returning. Contracts mode allowed players to create their own missions with unique victory conditions and then share them with the community. Though the mode limited you to using prefabricated levels, it still provided vast replay potential to the game.
IO closed by saying that they took away Agent 47's "magic pockets." I guess that means he won't be able to carry quite so much equipment on his missions. That's a welcome change that should force players to be very specific with their strategies.
"As we get further into 2014, we will reveal more and get into much closer contact with all of you. There are so many things we have planned and we are extremely excited for the future of Hitman."