The past month has been a big one for AAA releases with new instalments in several major series. Red Dead Redemption 2, Battlefield V, Fallout 76 and Pokemon Let’s Go to name just a few.
Certainly easy for a game or two to get lost in the mire, which was the case for the latest instalment in the Hitman franchise.
Hitman 2 has endured a lukewarm launch, only debuting at number 10 in the UK sales charts.
Sales are reportedly down 90% from Hitman: Absolution, the last game in the series to have a physical launch. The previous instalment in the franchise was released episodically and as such sales picked up over time with updates.
IO Interactive will be hoping Hitman 2 will perform similarly over time and already have plans for DLC. A season pass is already available for £32.99, so that should likely point to a good amount of extra content to come. The game has been largely praised by critics but has also endured common critiques across the board.
Namely the poorly animated story and the lack of new mechanics from the previous instalment. We could argue that perhaps IO Interactive haven’t added new features because they’ve already perfected the Hitman formula. How can you build on perfection? And with so many other merits, maybe this is another game that will see success in the long run.
The Hitman Formula
For anyone who may be unaware, the basic Hitman formula consists of finding and assassinating targets. Taking on the role of the titular Hitman, players are awarded additional points based on how unsuspicious the kill was.
Creating an unfortunately fatal ‘accident’ and exfiltrating without drawing attention being the perfect playthrough. The core element of a successful release is adding as many ways as possible to complete the objective. In this IO Interactive’s recent Hitman reboot is easily the best in the franchise.
Advancing technologies have allowed for larger more open-ended levels than ever before. Players can track opportunities throughout the map or can simply explore and formulate their own plan of attack. Putting the freedom entirely into the player’s hands, makes it really feel like their choices matter.
With added bonuses for using all the outfits or completing specific kills that encourage replayability. These bonuses also unlock perks in the form of weapons and new starting locations to create a different playthrough.
The in-game events known as Elusive Targets even add strict real-world timelines to jobs for added immersion. As far as locating and assassinating a target it’s hard to improve on the formula that was already established in the first Hitman reboot.
What Does Hitman 2 Add?
Realism, an update for the first Hitman reboot that didn’t come until late in the game’s life-cycle. NPC’s can now spot your actions through windows and in mirrors, adding an extra level of consideration.
Player’s need to check all angles, not just a cursory glance of the room if they are going for the perfect kill. CCTV cameras now play a more pivotal role too, if you are recorded trespassing or committing other illegal activities, guards will be notified. Evidence can be deleted to boost your score but it’s now easier to get caught for added difficulty.
Hitman 2 also features some larger and more diverse maps, creating greater variety and more opportunities for kills. There is also a new multiplayer mode in which players compete to get kills within the same shared map. The sniper level from the previous instalment is also now playable as a full solo mode, in single and multiplayer.
These could be perceived as minor additions, offering more of a polish rather than adding new mechanics. But more ways to play and a greater variety in playthroughs were the best options IO Interactive had.
Can it Enjoy the Same Longevity as Hitman?
Poor sales figures have led to a reduced price for Hitman 2, particularly following the Black Friday sales. At the moment of writing the list price is still below that of its fellow AAA releases and it’s well worth the price.
Sean Bean has already been released as the first Elusive Target with many updates and new targets planned for the future. Although IO Interactive scrapped the periodical release schedule Hitman 2 could still benefit in sales from later updates.
Hitman 2 also included one less map, so there’s the potential for an entirely new level still down the road. IO Interactive even added a second campaign to Hitman, so there’s every chance they’ll have similar plans for Hitman 2.
Sales could dictate the amount of additional content eventually released but if they continue to support the game, it has the potential to eclipse their first release. Hopefully, it will be a marathon not a sprint for IO Interactive.