Hitman Interview: We talk delayed releases with Hannes Seifert
X-ONE talks with Hannes Seifert, studio head at IO Interactive, about the all-new Hitman title, and tries to work out exactly how the timed distribution system is going to work…
X-ONE: It’s been a few years since the last Hitman, and this new instalment is looking pretty great. What have you looked at to lead your vision forwards for the new game?
Hannes Seifert: We looked at the 15 years of Hitman and we looked at the five key games we released, and we tried to identify and distil what it is that people liked about each of these, but also be self-critical and see what people didn’t like about each of them.
Then we looked at what could we do with the new generation of hardware, because now we have the Xbox One we have these tools that can do more stuff than ever before. And the combination of that, bringing the AI features, the render technology, the density to this new generation allowed us to have the level of detail higher than we ever have before.
There are many games that are big, and have a lot of square miles of map, but what we have is… You can interact with the glass, and you can interact with a light rig – you can interact with everything! This is a high-density Hitman sandbox, and there are no corridors. The amount of death-traps per square metre is pretty high, and that’s something we’re really proud of.
X: So this Hitman has got something of an unusual release method – we were also hoping you’d be able to break that down for us…
HS: Yes! So, just to give you context on that, when you’re a blockbuster developer, what you do is you work for three years in your ivory tower. In between Blood Money and Absolution was six years, which is a very long time. And what you do is you launch a game to the world, and you see what people like, what people hate, how they played with it, what you could have done… And then it’s another few years before you can take that into account in your next game. After Absolution we thought ‘There’s got to be a better way than that.’
So now, with the generation we have now, 99 per cent plus are connected. So a pitched release feels very natural to us. What’s very important about the message is that the game is going to cost €60, or the equivalent in your country, and nothing else. There is no other way of spending money in the game – no DLC, no microtransactions. Everything we ship for this game is included in that price, and we want to be crystal clear about that, because we know people need to trust us. We actually intend to release exactly what we’re going to ship at what time, so people can make an informed decision about whether they want to buy the game or not. We as a studio are determined to keep our promises.
You can read the rest of this interview in issue 128 of X-ONE, along with loads of great features, the latest previews, and much more. You can pick it up from our online store, or download the magazine digitally for smartphones, tablets and PCs.
Hitman will launch digitally on Xbox One on the 11 March with its first area and assassination missions. More will release throughout the year as free add-ons.