Square-Enix recently decided to drop IO Interactive from their portfolio of development studios, which left IO’s series of Hitman (and other games) up in the air. Good news. IO is now the company that owns themselves and also owns the Hitman “Intellectual Property” according to the CEO’s statement. I have a few questions as to who owns the previous games and the right to publish those, and what this means for the remaining staff at IO after they recently had to lay off some, but I’ll be looking forward to playing the next elusive target.
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.
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?