There's a lot of buzz brewing about Square Enix's upcoming Hitman title, scheduled to be released March 11. Set in exotic locations around the world, the game, and its protagonist, are reminiscent of James Bond movies, but the focus is on carrying out high-profile assassinations.
How you take out your targets is up to you, but no matter how you do it, it's bound to be entertaining. We here at Tom's Guide wanted to answer any questions you might have about Hitman before the beta-testing version becomes available Friday (Feb. 12).
What is Hitman?
I'm glad you asked. The Hitman franchise is a series of stealth action-adventure games, dating back to 2000, developed by Io Interactive and published by Square Enix. Each of the Hitman titles focuses around Agent 47, a cloned assassin with a flawless kill rate.
Employed by the International Contract Agency (ICA), Agent 47 is dispatched all over the globe to dispatch various VIP targets. Although he's the one getting his hands dirty, Agent 47 isn't alone on these missions — his handler, Diana Burnwood, gives him the necessary intel.
This latest game, and the first to be called simply Hitman, is the sixth in the series, and a reboot of sorts. The set pieces in the Hitman open-world sandbox are larger than ever, allowing the player to take out a target in the manner he or she sees fit. There's also plenty of time to admire the scenery, if you're so inclined. Just make sure you don't get caught.
Which systems can I play it on?
You can pre-order Hitman for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The two-mission Intro Pack is priced at $14.99, with monthly episodes costing $9.99 each. Or, you can forego the piecemeal payments and instead purchase the full experience for $59.99. The full subscription allows access to the Feb. 12 beta release, along with special modes, including Contracts and Escalation, and other unannounced content.
If you're planning to play Hitman on PC, here are the minimum system requirements for kicking off your campaign of intrigue and murder.
- Processor: 3.3-GHz Intel Core i5-2500K/AMD Phenom II X4 940
- Memory: 8GB
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 660/Radeon HD 7870
- Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit
- DirectX: Version 11
You said this is a stealth game, but I'm more of a run-and-gun-type player. Is Hitman for me?
Hitman is what you make of it. While the game is designed for players to stay in the shadows and strike when the time is right, there's nothing wrong with just busting into a joint, guns blazing.
Be it a silenced 9-mm pistol, a dose of poison or an assault rifle, the game is bursting at the seams with ways to assassinate someone. You can even set traps, such as rigging a huge chandelier to drop on your unsuspecting targets when they get onstage to give speeches. It's all up to you and your vivid imagination.
Best of all, this new take on Hitman brings back the ability to save at any point of the game. That perk can pay off big time if you want to experiment with different instruments of dispatchment.
I heard this game is going to be episodic. What does that mean?
Instead of getting the whole game at once, IO Interactive will be rolling the title out in increments, adding up to what the developer is calling a "full season" of content. When the initial game launches on March 11, gamers will have access to two missions.
The first will be a prologue that takes place 20 years prior to today, when Agent 47 was just a rookie in training. The other mission will take place in present-day Paris, where you'll be tasked with taking out the head of a criminal organization.
After the initial March launch, the plan is to release new content every month, featuring a new location. In April, the game will introduce Italian missions, with Morocco launching in May.
Is that serial format a bad thing?
Longtime fans of the 16-year-old Hitman franchise are worried that this change in direction means the latest game is unfinished or, worse, that players will be nickeled-and-dimed into paying a lot for additional DLC content or in-game purchases. IO Interactive promises that this will not be the case.
The company considers Hitman to be the first episodic triple AAA title, and has said that the game is inspired by current television shows and will have multiple tracks that coincide by season's end. The developer is also planning on delivering expanded stories, focusing on contract targets as well as Agent 47 and Burnwood.
Should I play it?
If you like the idea of hiding in plain sight, stealthily following your prey dressed as a waiter and serving up a poisoned beverage, then you should definitely give Hitman a try. Will you enjoy seeing breath-taking set pieces, such as a huge Parisian mansion with up to 300 non-playable characters, each with their own names and stories, on the screen at any one time? Hitman is for you. Does the idea of DIY murder get your creative juices flowing? Then it sounds like Hitman is the game for you.