Square Enix and IO Interactive are doing things a little different with the new Hitman.
The game was unveiled over E3 as coming out on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on 8th December 2015 as a download. But there's more to it than that.
Today, in a new FAQ, Square Enix and IO cleared things up. 8th December is when the new Hitman experience "will begin".
What's released on 8th December is not the full game, rather "a sizeable chunk of it". Then, throughout 2016, more locations and missions will be released until the story arc is "done and finished". You get all of that in the $60/£45 price. The specifics of what, exactly, you get for your cash are yet to be announced.
Square Enix stressed Hitman is not an early access game.
"Early access can often mean something unfinished or unpolished," the company said. "That's simply not the approach we're taking. All of the content we release live to our players will be complete and polished, whether that's the locations and missions we release on December 8th, the live events or the locations and missions that we will release in 2016. It will always be a polished Hitman experience."
So is Hitman episodic, then? Well, it is and it isn't.
"We think the word 'episodic' sets up the expectation that we will sell individual content drops for individual prices but that's not something we're planning to do," SE said.
"That said, there are some episodic elements to the story in the sense that it's delivered in chunks over time, so experiencing the story will probably feel episodic. But there is also a ton of other content including live events, which have nothing to do with the story. We'll also be improving and changing the game constantly whilst you're playing it. Our ambition is to have a stream of content available from December 8th until the story arc is finished."
SE said the new Hitman will be a game that "lives, grows and evolves" over time. But the entire game will cost $60 and you won't have to pay any more.
"That $60 includes everything we create in this story arc; from what we release on December 8th through to the end of the story arc in 2016 and all the live events too. There's no micro-transactions or hidden costs in there. No extra paid DLC on top either. It's one package, all-in for $60. We want that to be simple and clear and it was important for us to be up-front about that."
While the new Hitman launches first as a download, it's not a download-only game. At some point in 2016 it will come out on a disc. And while you can play the locations and missions offline, to play the live events, download updates or see leaderboards, you need to be online.
That clears things up!