The first episode is set to release March 11, and will include a prologue mission and one location, Paris, and will set you back $15(USD).
Hitman will get its second contract killing and location, Italy, in April and another, Morocco, in May. Square Enix says developer IO Interactive will then “deliver regular monthly content updates, including three additional locations; Thailand, the US and Japan until the season concludes in Japan later in 2016.” In between these monthly updates, IO will also deliver weekly live events and “additional planned content”, according to a Square Enix press release.
“We decided to take the full leap and publish Hitman as a truly episodic game experience,” said Hannes Seifert, head of studio at IO Interactive, in a release. “Part of that decision is for that little bit of extra time to ensure every location we release is at the quality level fitting for a Hitman game. But the main driving reason is that this will allow us to create a living game that will expand and evolve over time and establish a foundation for the future — this is the first game in a storyline which will continue and expand with future Hitman games.”
As a consequence of Hitman’s release format changing, the pricing structure is also undergoing changes. As previously stated the Intro Pack (first episode) will cost $15(USD), with each addition location (episode) releasing for $10(USD) as an add-on pack to the Intro Pack.
Alternatively, those who purchase the Intro Pack can upgrade to the full game with the $50(USD) Upgrade Pack or drop $60(USD) up front for the ‘full game’. Square Enix and IO Interactive have also disclosed that a disc version of Hitman will ship at the end of 2016.
This drastic change in release structure explains the removal of Hitman from the PlayStation Store, with effected pre-orders being cancelled and refunded.
The Hitman beta starts on February 12 on PlayStation 4 and February 19 on PC.