video games

Hitman (2016) 2 (2018) is Ready for Disguises and Murder

The all-caps sequel to the all-caps Hitman (2016) is out, Hitman (2016) 2 (2018) is io interactive’s first murder simulator post-expulsion from Square Enix and apparently this iteration has a magic briefcase. It also has all of the missions from the first (2016) game upgraded a bit for people who already owned that. If you don’t, they’ll make them available for a twenty.

There’s a freely-downloadable prologue on Steam for Windows that lets you play those upgraded Hitman (2016)’s campaign missions, if you have access to them, as well as redone training missions from Hitman (2016) that include the new features like vegetation you can hide in.

I loved Hitman (2016) for all its quirks, it’s the best goofy action game where you can dress up and get shot for pulling a fire alarm. Although this game drops the episodic format, Hitman (2016) 2 ( 2018) still includes the scheduled elusive targets that were the reason I returned for many more silly one-off assassinations every month.

PC Gamers’ Phil Savage likes this sequel well enough:

Mumbai is like a better version of 2016 Hitman’s Marrakesh, with large, bustling crowds that border more restricted areas that, crucially, are more enjoyable to traverse. A construction site that doubles as a movie set is a particular standout, with a clever placement of guards that ensures that—even with the right disguise—you’ll need to take a circuitous path or scale the unfinished elevator shaft. A great Hitman level forces you to adapt and respond as you go, and Hitman 2’s environments excel at providing the routes and options needed to adjust your plan on the fly.

Hitman (2016) 2 (2018) is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Steam for Windows at $60 all the way up to an eye-watering $140 for the ridiculous edition that includes a briefcase with a rubber duck inside.

There was a version of the previous Hitman game for Linux and macOS but I haven’t seen anything promising those ports for this sequel.

video games

Hitman’s Elusive Targets Are Coming Back

Io Interactive has their first announcement since going independent and getting ownership of the Hitman license. There’s a GOTY edition of HITMAN (2016) coming, it’ll include a new “Patient Zero” campaign and other stuff, as well as reactivating any missed “elusive target” missions starting in early November.

I loved these elusive target assassination missions, and missed out on a bunch of them before I got the game last August. It’ll be good to get a second chance at the ones I missed out on. Any that were attempted already won’t be available again.

The GOTY edition is going to be out on November 7th for $60 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The new campaign and other stuff included in this edition will be $20 for existing players who have the rest of HITMAN’s first season already.

video games

IO Interactive Dropped From Square-Enix

Square-Enix put out the amazing Hitman (2016) last year, I love that game and it’s disappointing to hear that Square-Enix is dropping IO and probably will end up keeping IO’s creations:

To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO INTERACTIVE A/S, a wholly?owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.

That loss is almost 43 million in US dollars. To paraphrase Moe Szyslak, you don’t leave the lid off of a pickle-jar like IO Interactive.

video games

Hitman: World of Assassination, Fashion, and Fire Alarms

To me, 2016’s Hitman is this bizarre game about planning and murder, where you’re also trying to make your cloned assassin (Agent 47) dress up and act normal to the other NPCs in the game. They aren’t particularly concerned with anything going on around them, and generally won’t be upset if you walk into a room and walk out two moments later wearing a completely different outfit, or were the only person to walk out of a room alive. They do care if they see you change outfits, or if you have the same clothes as some other bald clone who they saw do something bad recently, so the rules are a little different than reality.

Each level has new outfits for 47 because they allow him different kinds of access, into a guard post, or into a silent auction for evil billionaires who want to bid on people or state secrets.

It gets completely ridiculous when Agent 47 is required to do things like get dressed up, put make up on, and walk a runway in France, nailing his pose as perfectly as he nails a drum solo when he’s trying to blend in during a mission in Thailand.

IO Interactive’s Christian Elverdam in an interview with Matthew Pellett:

One thing we learned pretty significantly is that some of our best moments aren’t assassination moments; it might be walking onto a catwalk, simply because it’s a cool experience. Isn’t that weird? In a game about assassination and silent assassins, one of the marquee experiences is: “Do you want to be a male model?” People were like: “YEAH!”

Most modern character-driven games are either/or propositions. Either your avatar is perfectly capable of murdering hundreds of people without flinching, or it’s some kind of narrative exploration. Hitman’s Agent 47 can’t take much fire, doesn’t talk much, and can’t fight very well unless it’s planned out in advance and goes off without a hitch.

The assassinations never go off without a hitch, it’s just not really possible for 47 to use a gun and clear out a room of more than three people without getting dropped by security guards.

Last week I was playing one of the elusive target missions where you’ve only got one shot to complete the mission. No saving, no loading. It took over an hour to figure out how I was going to assassinate the target, and I did, but then I had to complete the second mission objective and use the key the target was carrying to open a safe and retrieve a flash drive with information the client wanted.

One problem: The safe was in a hotel security office brimming with guards and military. All armed, and because there were two types of personnel I couldn’t just have an army costume on and open the safe. The regular Hotel guards would freak out and shoot me.

Bewildered, I cheated a little bit and read on a forum for Hitman players that you could pull the fire alarm and the room would empty out. Great idea!

Of course, no Hitman plan survives contact with the game.

I had Agent 47 pull the fire alarm in the security room, and then everyone in the room immediately got their guns out and lit Agent 47 up. Hours down the drain because it was an Elusive Target mission I couldn’t replay, and I was laughing the entire time it happened because it was just so ridiculous. Who shoots somebody that pulls a fire alarm?