The Danish studio also talked about how they found the balance between zaniness and darkness in Hitman III.
„[Live service] could be [our future, but not definitively. I don’t want to say that’s what we’re going to double down on and that’s it – I think it worked for what we wanted to do for Hitman. It’s allowed us to engage more with the fans and community, to listen. We can tease things a little bit and see how that goes… but the magic happens when you release the game and get the feedback, where you can then really see what’s working and what isn’t. Then you get one to two years to iterate based on live feedback,” communication manager Travis Barbour told VG247.
He then explained how they ended up with this model: „I remember being at the [Hitman:] Absolution E3s where we had the game designer at the time saying the way we made Absolution was that it was like a suitcase where you jam everything in, you pack it down – and then you manage to go on holiday, but you can’t fit anything else in the case. If you try to change something, the whole thing explodes and all your clothes go flying everywhere. So we wanted to change from that learning how we make the game so that we could add things on or keep it going. We ended up with the live model that we have now, but at the time, that was almost unheard of, especially for a single-player game, and in a game of the scale and getting the attention we got.”
What about the zaniness in Hitman III? „In Hitman 2, it sort of took us by surprise. The first trailer had somebody getting hit with a fish, and everybody went nuts for this fish. One of the things we’ve heard is that not everybody likes that style for Hitman and it doesn’t always fit. Some people are like ‘Not the fish!! Marketing guys, don’t do the fish again!’ It sort of took us by surprise that it caught on, and we sort of rode the train a little bit, just like ‘Okay! People love this fish, there’s also a flamingo!’,” Barbour added.
IO Interactive‘s communications manager also revealed that the suitcase started as an unintentional bug: „The whole thing with the briefcase – it was a bug! It wasn’t supposed to be that way. Nobody put it in there, it was some quirk tied to the frame rate of your PC or something. But then we saw it and were like, you know what, just keep it there. It doesn’t make sense to patch it – it’ll take us time, and someone will have to fix it… we could just leave it for a little bit, and then we brought it back as a feature, as a bit of a joke. That was fun.”
He also said how they found the balance between the craziness and the tone that Hitman fans got used to: „We have a sort of focus on the first time you play through a level [in Hitman 3]. We want that to feel a little bit more handcrafted, a little bit more so you get a sense of the story. Afterwards, it opens up into complete freedom. That’s where you’ll more than likely find these weird and wacky things. They are still there – they’re just not quite being embraced in the same way,” Barbour added.
Hitman III will launch on January 20 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PC (as an Epic Games Store-exclusive), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. The Nintendo Switch will also receive it but as a cloud version.