When the news broke earlier this year that Square Enix had bizarrely decided to drop Hitman from the company’s books, gamers were left both dumbfounded and disappointed. It seemed as though one of the most iconic and extensive game franchises of all time would be forced into extinction. Luckily, the developers of the hugely popular stealth action games, IO Interactive, have confirmed that Hitman season two will still be going ahead, despite the Japanese game company no longer being on board.
Square Enix, who were also responsible for publishing Final Fantasy XIII, shocked gamers when they announced that the partnership with IO Interactive would be coming to an end. In a statement released on March 31, the publishing company said that they had regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive but would seek to bring in new investors for the studio. IO later managed to complete a management buyout, which enabled them to regain their independent status and retain the rights for Hitman.
What made Square Enix dropping Hitman all the more astonishing was the fact that the franchise has continuously been commercially successful, across multiple different platforms. There have been more than ten games, along with the films Hitman and Hitman: Agent 47 which raked in around $180 million worldwide between them. The Hitman Go mobile app was extremely popular, and received a score of 8.2/10 from IGN, as is the Hitman online slot game which features cut scenes from the movies, and is listed as one of the top online slots Canada.
After the popularity of Hitman season one, the news that IO is able to go ahead and continue with the series is fantastic. The 2016 Hitman series was released in episodic format, with each instalment taking place in a different major city. Some of the locations used were Bangkok, Colorado, and Marrakesh. The best received game of the series, though, was set in Sapienza and earned a score of 84% from Metacritic. In the episode, Agent 47 is tasked to destroy a virus prototype housed at a biolab in the fictitious Italian town.
The new series of the game is apparently halfway towards completion, and is definitely going ahead. This is unquestionably a good thing, as critics believe that the episodic format will open up a new way of playing some titles. For instance, in season one of Hitman it encouraged much more exploring and replaying through levels to discover additional things. When players decided to repeat a mission, they would often be given additional targets to kill, as well as new costumes and weapons. This meant that they had to completely change their tactics for the level, adding an extra depth to the game.
Not much is known about the story line or settings of the new title yet, and there has been no official release date. But the news that Hitman is not dead and buried despite the breakup with Square Enix will be music to the ears of gamers the world over.
(Editor’s Note: This is a paid article from an advertiser.)