Square Enix has at long last released the 2004 game Hitman Contracts on Steam. Unfortunately, the Steam release isn't a perfect translation of the original retail version.
Hitman Contracts stars Agent 47, an international assassin. Agent 47 travels the world to eliminate high-profile targets. He can use disguises, stealth or heavy firepower to complete his jobs.
The game opens with 47 severely wounded by an unknown assailant. While recovering he reminisces about past jobs. The campaign includes remakes of four missions from Hitman: Codename 47, the first game in the series.
Contracts was never released digitally due to licensing issues with "Immortal" by Clutch, a song played in the "Rendezvous in Rotterdam" mission. Square Enix apparently no longer has the rights to use the song in the game. They decided not to re-release the game in order to avoid legal problems.
Square Enix's ultimate solution to get Contracts on Steam was chop out every song. Steam owners of the game report that all of the music and voice-acting is gone. That's a damn shame, because Jesper Kyd's soundtrack for Contracts always felt like an essential piece of the experience.
This fix seems really heavy-handed. It wasn't possible to just cut that one Clutch song? Really?
There's reason to hope that the soundtrack will return, though. When Contracts was re-released in the Hitman HD Trilogy for consoles, the offending track was replaced with another. It's reasonable to expect that Square Enix will just patch that new song into the game along with voices and other music. They've made no announcement about this yet, though.
Hitman Contracts can be purchased through Steam for $6.99. It's currently not part of the Hitman Collection bundle, which includes Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Codename 47, and Hitman: Absolution.
While the Steam version of Contracts is missing some crucial elements at the moment, its release is well-timed. Last week IO Interactive announced the first details of Hitman 6, a brand-new game for consoles and PC. I imagine that the news put many Hitman fans in the mood to play or replay Agent 47's previous adventures.