Hitman

Hitman rediscovers its agency in this strong start for IO's episodic series.

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IO Interactive confirms that there's a new Hitman in the works

IO Interactive confirms that there's a new Hitman in the works

"We can't wait to tell you all about."

IO Interactive has confirmed that there's a new Hitman game in the works.

"We're making great progress," IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak said of the next Hitman in a post celebrating the launch of Hitman's Game of the Year edition, "We have exciting new features and some franchise firsts, which we can't wait to tell you all about."

That's all the news we're getting for the moment though it seems, "We don't plan to start talking about that until some point in 2018," explained Abrak.

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Hitman's penultimate Elusive Target launches today

Hitman's penultimate Elusive Target launches today

Their identity is a mystery, and one that changes if you restart.

The Hitman reboot's first season has nearly come to an end with developer IO Interactive releasing its second to last Elusive Target today.

Available for 10 days, this Elusive Target is set in Hokkaido and it comes with a twist: you don't know who you're trying to kill and must discover this information on the field.

Better yet, if you choose to restart the mission (which you can only do if you've not completed any objectives), your target may be a completely different person. So you can't simply restart and go straight for the kill.

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Hitman is ditching its episodic model in two weeks

"These changes will help us to lay the foundations for our future plans."

With the future of Hitman up in the air as Square Enix is looking to sell the series and its developer IO Interactive, the episodic assassination game is changing its sales structure to no longer be episodic.

Meanwhile, Square Enix just reported huge sales and profits

Meanwhile, Square Enix just reported huge sales and profits

FF15 and Rise of the Tomb Raider PS4 do well.

Square Enix is binning off Hitman developer IO Interactive, but it's just announced record revenue and profits for the company as a whole.

For the financial year ending 31st March 2017, Square Enix saw net sales of £1.7bn - an increase 20 per cent versus the previous year, with operating income up 20.3 per cent and ordinary income up 22.9 per cent.

Square Enix said the launch of Final Fantasy 15 and the PlayStation 4 version of Rise of the Tomb Raider as well as strong download sales of catalogue titles had sparked the increase in net sales and operating income in the area of console games.

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Let's Play videos can be appealing for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you watch them because you like the personality of the presenter. Other times you want to get tips or tricks and seek a video walkthrough. And often gameplay videos are engaging because someone is trying to pull off a particularly impressive challenge, like, say, playing Dark Souls 3 with a controller made from bananas, or speedrunning a title to near perfection.

FeatureHow things end

Alexis Kennedy on the progress of progress.

It's 1978. You're standing in front of a cabinet of monsters. This is Space Invaders, and you'll fight the monsters until your space-craft is irredeemably compromised. Once that happens, the game will end. Once that happens, you'll begin again, with the world wiped clean. Every game always ends. Nothing remains between games but high scores, memories and finger grease.

Hitman: The Complete First Season review

Ratlike cunning, glacial patience, a truly bloodthirsty capacity for improvisation - all definitely components of Hitman 2016's brilliance, but the secret ingredient here may well be just a teeny-weeny dash of class envy. The game's sixth and final downloadable map, a high-tech mountaintop spa in Hokkaido, is my second favourite after the amazing second episode set in Mediterranean beauty-spot Sapienza. The map descends from a surgery overlooking an exquisitely tended Zen garden to a sushi restaurant and, glory of glories, an open-air hot spring where you'll gaze out at prayer lanterns drifting along a distant valley.

Hitman The Complete First Season

Publisher: Square Enix

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There's an old adage that tragedy is easy, comedy is hard. Tragedy falls into more easily definable universal truths. We all grieve more or less the same things: the death of a loved one, abandonment, the deterioration of one's mind and body. Simply show a dog growing old waiting for its master never to return and watch the waterworks flow! But comedy? That's a tricky one as humour is entirely subjective. And even when the content is clever, the delivery of a gag could see the humour fly or flounder. Pause for a half second too long or talk a little too quick and you'll botch the punchline. It's all in the execution.

Hitman to add HDR support this month

Except on older Xbox Ones.

Hitman is coming to retail at the end of the month and the game will receive a free update adding HDR (High Dynamic Range) support to Io Interactive's assassination adventure.

Watch: Festive Hitman gameplay and a sack full of prizes in the Eurogamer Christmas stream

Wow, time flies doesn't it? I can't believe it's time for another Christmas stream already, it seems like only yesterday I was playing Marvin's Mittens for last year's festive broadcast.

If you're a regular live stream viewer you should know the deal by now - I play a Christmas themed game and, while doing so, give away lots of free games that have been kindly donated by a generous bunch of developers and publishers.

However, this year will be slightly different because, as well as the usual free digital games, I'll also be giving away some cool physical swag like Christmas jumpers, T-Shirts and for some reason, a gas mask...

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Huge Hitman update makes unlocks work offline

Huge Hitman update makes unlocks work offline

"We determine who we are by what we do."

IO is today putting out a big update for the latest Hitman game that makes unlocks work offline.

The update means all unlockable items earned when connected to the game's servers are saved to an offline profile, so they can be used in Offline Mode. This was one of the biggest complaints among players with the game because if the servers were down and you wanted to play offline, none of your unlocks would be available. So, the update is welcome.

Items include all mastery items, so weapons, gear, starting/pickup locations as well as Elusive Target suit rewards and Challenge Pack unlocks. It's worth noting you must be connected to the game servers in order to acquire new unlocks.

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Feature'It was a good spot we ended up in. But it was messy getting there'

IO on Hitman's episodic approach, and where next for the series.

Hitmanᵀᴹ (which, for the sake of our sanity and yours, we'll just call Hitman from now on thank you very much) has just wrapped up its first season, and it's fair to say it's been a success. Since March this year, IO Interactive has delivered a succession of murderous playgrounds dense with the kind of devious detail that helped forge the studio's name back with the lauded Blood Money, and to my mind this reboot is at least the equal of that modern day classic. This new Hitman has frequently been outstanding.

Hitman's complete first season has a disc-based release date

Hitman's complete first season has a disc-based release date

31st January, with a briefcase of extra content.

Good news, boxed games fans: Hitman will launch on a disc with a barcode on it early next year, on 31st January.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners can expect to pay £49.99 for Hitman: The Complete First Season. PC players will need to stump up £39.99.

For that, you'll get a Steelbook case, all episodes of the game, the prologue mission, three bonus missions including the upcoming Landslide, a soundtrack, a making of documentary and the Requiem Blood Money pack with classic items.

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Hitman's fifth Elusive Target launches tomorrow

Hitman's fifth Elusive Contract goes live tomorrow, 1st July, at 1pm UK time, and it will remain available for 72 hours.

This Elusive Contract, The Gunrunner, is the first of its type set in the latest Marrakesh map.

Elusive Contracts can only be attempted once, ever, and you can't save during them. Making them even harder, your target won't show up in Instinct mode, so you'll need to keep your eyes peeled to spot them in the crowd.

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Hitman's latest Elusive Contract is now live

Runs through the rest of E3.

E3 is all well and good to get you excited about upcoming games, but if you want something new and exciting to play right now Io Interactive has you covered with an all new Hitman Elusive Contract.

Here's how Hitman's first Elusive Target went down

Including one of the most creative kills we've seen yet.

Hitman's first Elusive Target went live over the weekend, giving players one - and only one - chance to eliminate a certain target. As it turns out, 53 per cent were able to successfully complete the mission.

Hitman is a series of some wonder. It has been since its inception in 2000, and the latest instalment (helpfully differentiated as Hitmanᵀᴹ) is a hugely welcome return to form. Despite its focus on methodical professionalism and minimal exposure, the series has always been surprisingly lenient with allowing you to play it wrong. We've all done it; a Silent Assassin attempt goes awry and instead of rage-quitting, something snaps and we start getting even. Running around with guns blazing, innocents fleeing in panic while security piles in. It becomes a fight against the odds, an endurance challenge where luck is as important as skill. In one glorious fumble you go from elite professional to deranged mass-murderer.

Watch: We hit the beach and tackle Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza

Although one of us didn't get very far.

The latest episode of Hitman launches today, transporting players and Agent 47 to the sun-drenched beaches of Sapienza, Italy. This gorgeous level features picturesque alleyways, coastal walks, popular fishing destinations, a gelateria and er, a secret laboratory, but this is no holiday. In the level's first mission, World of Tomorrow, Agent 47 is tasked with taking out not one but two targets and destroying their potentially deadly research - no small feat when their mansion is essentially a seaside fortress.

Hitman's permanently failable Elusive Targets delayed

But two new Escalation Contracts are coming each week.

Hitman developer Io-Interactive is still navigating the waters of how to release a triple A game episodically and we've got some good news and bad news. The bad news first: the much touted Elusive Targets have been delayed until "closer to the planned release of the next episode" in April.

Face-Off: Hitman

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Hitman

Full three-way comparison of IO Interactive's reboot - plus DirectX 12 tests on PC.

Nearly four years have passed since the release of Hitman: Absolution, but if you ask enthusiasts of the series, a full ten have lapsed since the last traditional Hitman experience: 2006's Blood Money. This year's reboot is a something of return to that style - a more level-headed assassination simulator that puts a focus on navigating bustling, open-ended areas, where spectacle is mainly found in its supreme AI count. It's IO Interactive's first PlayStation 4 and Xbox One title too, while PC release takes precedent for its early support for DirectX 12. But how do they each stack up

While the gameplay may be classic Hitman, the packaging of the game is anything but standard. This latest series instalment is divided into bite-sized chunks to be doled out over the course of a year. As such, the current state of the game we're examining here includes one main area - a Parisian palace - but this alone offers a plethora of gameplay options to explore, and visuals to admire.

Hitman may share little with the design of the previous game, but it does build on the same technical foundation. Both titles were created using IO's in-house Glacier 2 engine, a custom built deferred renderer designed to accommodate scenes with complex lighting and large crowds. Compared to Absolution, environments and the size of the crowd are expanded greatly while modern techniques, such as the use of a physically-based materials system, help the game match our expectations of current-gen consoles. However, despite the increase in fidelity, Hitman is more visually subdued than its predecessor. The exaggerated colour of Absolution gives way to a more realistic palette overall - though it's an aesthetic that thrives on a fine attention to detail across each stage.

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Hitman is a series that lives or dies on just how imaginatively morbid it can be. One of the real joys of these games is finding the most obscure way to murder a target and then patting yourself on the back for the pure deviousness of it all. But just how deep does this dagger-lined rabbit hole go? How many ways can you possibly kill a target in just one mission? Being the most stabby member of the team, we nominated Ian to find out. He lost count (and a tiny portion of his sanity) at around 32; some with the same weapon, but always different styles. Bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher? Check. Knocked out cold with a fire extinguisher and then suffered a snapped neck? Also check. We may have created a monster.

Hitman to release on disc in 2017, plus details of April's new missions

Hitman's Intro Pack hits Xbox One, PS4 and PC tomorrow, 11th March, offering the Paris map and two smaller prologue locations for $15 or £11.99. Already weary of the glitter and clamour of the French capital? Don't worry, the next episode, due in April, sees Agent 47 visiting the quiet Italian coastal town of Sapienza.

Sapienza is a quieter setting but pretty populous, with crowds of tourists milling through its narrow cobbled streets, and shops lining the road from a square higher up the hillside to a large pizza near the beach. Among other structures, you'll get to explore a church, a mansion house and some creepy catacombs. The target is Silvio Caruso, a bioweapons scientist, who operates a secret lab somewhere in the town. Besides killing Caruso, you'll need to get access to the lab in order to destroy a lethal new virus.

The second main location in Hitman's May update is Marrakesh, a city in Morocco. It's much noisier than Sapienza - a Swedish banker convicted of fraud has barricaded himself inside a consulate, prompting angry demonstrations, and to top things off, a general is using this as cover for a coup d'etat.

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Performance Analysis: Hitman

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Hitman

The final game runs better than the PS4 beta - and there are some unexpected surprises.

If nothing else, the days leading up to the release of Hitman have certainly been interesting. Between the Friday release date - unusual for a worldwide release, and for a digital one - and the episodic rollout of new content, this latest instalment in the contract killing series is launching in a rather atypical fashion. The fact that Square Enix saw fit to open the game's outdated beta to PlayStation Plus users just one week before launch was even more baffling. Unfortunately, for many players, this beta left a sour impression, thanks in part to its wildly inconsistent frame-rate. Now, with the launch-day version of Hitman in hand, we were eager to see if these issues have been corrected, and how the previously unseen Xbox One version stacks up.

Starting off with the PlayStation 4 version, we were immediately pleased to see a noticeable performance increase right out of the gate. Compared to the beta, we're looking at a boost of 10 to 15 frames per second, with performance that remains above 30fps the vast majority of the time. The second training area fares even better now, and manages to turn in something approaching a stable 60fps throughout: a taste of what could have been. So while performance remains rather variable, the more serious drops in frame-rate we encountered in the beta have been completely eliminated here.

While the improved performance is certainly great news, we're still not huge fans of variable, unlocked frame-rates - a concern we expressed in our analysis of the beta. The good news here is that the game's developer, Io Interactive, is clearly listening to feedback and has taken steps to address our concerns. Hitman now includes the option to cap the game's frame-rate at 30fps. As a result of the improved performance, it's now possible to enjoy the game at an almost completely stable 30fps.

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Hitman review

Editor's note: We will review the full season of Hitman once every episode has been released. But, as it is a systems-driven sandbox game, we feel that there is enough to go on in this initial release to warrant a full Eurogamer verdict.

We play games to unwind, but how many of the major titles are actually relaxing? Open worlders cut you adrift in the wilderness, but most of them quickly rope the player into mean little spirals of acquisition and upgrading. Shooter campaigns are strident, suffocating tunnels of bombast and attrition. But Hitman games? Hitman games are different. Hitman games turn laidback appreciation into an end in itself. Hitman games want you to slow down.

Hitman

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FeatureHitman's episodic structure explained

"You can skip an episode but you will miss out on some of the story elements."

The new Hitman game is out today... sort of. As you've no doubt heard, IO Interactive decided to split Hitman up into episodic chunks rather than release it all at once - a move that has proved divisive among the community. We'll get into the pros and cons of such an approach in a bit, but first the basics:

Hitman open beta for PlayStation 4 next month

Hitman will be available to try in open beta via PlayStation 4 on 4th March.

The test version will contain the game's Prologue mission, which contains two free-form training targets.

Hitman pre-order customers recently got to try out the level in a closed beta test. Now, anyone with a PlayStation Plus subscription will be able to play.

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Performance Analysis: Hitman beta on PC

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Hitman beta on PC

Can PC power past the PS4 version's frame-rate issues?

In gameplay terms, a few hours of play with the Hitman beta suggests a return to form for the series, bringing back traditional stealth action paired with bigger environments, dynamic lighting and a gigantic leap in NPC counts across the game's various locations. It's a promising taster of Agent 47's latest adventure, but last week's PS4 beta saw an experience marred by some really choppy performance, paired with an unlocked frame-rate further adding to the overall inconsistency in the experience.

So what was the issue causing frame-rate drops down to the low 20s... CPU? GPU? We wouldn't really know until we got our hands on the PC beta, released last weekend, mirroring the exact same content. We were also curious to see the extent to which Io's evolved Glacier engine would scale, and whether 1080p60 gameplay was possible. In theory it should be easy for an enthusiast-level PC version to power past the performance issues of the PS4 game, but unfortunately this isn't quite the case with Hitman. Scenes heavy in NPCs can still bring performance down to its knees, even on highly capable PC hardware - and frame-rates remain highly variable.

From a general visual perspective, the PC version offers up the kind of upgrades we see in many cross-platform releases. Basic image quality at 1080p resolution is improved via the ability to use SMAA, presenting us with a crisper image that resolves more detail across the artwork. This is joined by upgrades in shadow quality, level of detail streaming, texture filtering and ambient occlusion.

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Watch: We play the Hitman beta, badly in some cases

While PC gamers still have everything to look forward to, the PS4 beta for Hitman has sadly come and gone. Don't be too sad though, at least we made some fond memories along the way.

Well, some of us did, anyway. Each member of the video team had a go on Hitman beta, with varying degrees of success - which is to say Hitman is more difficult than I anticipated and I'm pretty sure those guys cheated.

Give the video below a watch and tell us who you think is the best at being Agent 47.

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The Eurogamer Podcast

We talk Overwatch, Firewatch, Homefront and Hitman.

Hello you lot! We're back with our every-other-weekly video games podcast, if you fancy giving it a listen. Oh gosh, please give it a listen. I really like recording it.

Performance Analysis: Hitman beta on PS4

Digital FoundryPerformance Analysis: Hitman beta on PS4

The reboot's huge levels and NPC count impress - but they come at a cost.

With the biggest levels yet seen in a Hitman game, developer IO interactive gives the series a full reboot on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One - pushing for huge dynamically lit stages, teeming with hundreds of AI characters. The size of each level is taken up a gear over 2012's Hitman Absolution, and the studio claims over 300 characters are now fully simulated, as compared to the previous 40-50 limit. However, based on the PS4 beta, crowds of this size appear to take a toll on finite console resources - and this early taster puts a question mark over the state of the final game's performance.

In a nutshell, this PS4 beta acts as a prologue to the full game, throwing us into two tutorial missions with Agent 47. You're let loose on a cruise ship (and then later a military base), letting you try all the tools in his arsenal before things kick off properly on its March 11th release. Curiously, the full package itself will be meted out in monthly chunks, with Italy and Morocco stages to be added in later months. But for now, both training exercises give us a moment to explore our stealthy options - and the technical choices behind the series reboot.

It's quite a jump from the last-gen; PS4 runs at a native 1920x1080 with a form of post-process AA over and above. It also retains the superb suite of lighting effects seen in Absolution - bloom, light shafts, and some crisp reflections are on show - resulting in a look that marks an evolution of the studio's existing Glacier 2 engine. Stage design is impressively detailed too, and though we're missing the sheer variety of areas seen in the Paris fashion show (revealed at EGX), each area on the cruise ship is distinct.

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The Hitman beta goes live tomorrow

The Hitman beta goes live tomorrow

Here are a few things worth noting.

The Hitman beta launches at 10am on Friday, 12th February on PlayStation 4 and then on PC a week later (as previously announced, the beta isn't coming to Xbox One). Developer IO Interactive has explained how it'll all work in a post on the Hitman website, and a few bits of new information have come to light.

The beta, which weighs in at 4.7GB, includes the Hitman Prologue, which is the beginning of the game. It reveals how Agent 47 joined the ICA and shows the first time 47 meets his handler, Diana Burnwood. There's an intro to the gameplay and its mechanics, as well as two free-form training hits. You can replay each hit as many times as you'd like during the beta period, which lasts for three days - IO wants to encourage experimentation.

This is worth noting: the only way to guarantee access to the beta is to pre-order the game digitally on PS4 via PSN, or PC via Steam. Or, you can pre-order the Collector's Edition. So, pre-orders of the full experience, Intro Pack (Hitman, remember, is episodic), and Collector's Edition, guarantee beta access.

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Hitman's PC system requirements revealed

PC beta goes live next week, on PS4 this Friday.

Hitman's closed beta is going live next week on PC for pre-order customers and publisher Square-Enix has revealed the system specs on Steam. They are as follows:

Well, this is more like it. We're at a heaving fashion show, where the marbled halls of a grand Paris palace that sits on the sun-kissed banks of the Seine is click-clacking with the heels of thousand dollar shoes while champagne glasses tinkle in the courtyards. What better place for a spot of dress-up? First there were the slacks and t-shirt smuggled from an unfortunate soul in a makeshift dressing room that helped us get past security and to the uppermost levels, but that was just the first rung on the ladder. What we found in the loft, though, is surely some kind of fashion end-game.

Hitman beta arrives on PS4 a week before PC

The intriguing new Hitman game will get a beta/demo in February. It will arrive first on PlayStation 4 on 12th February, then on PC a week later on 19th February. There will not be an Xbox One beta. The PS4 and PC beta will be available to those who pre-ordered the game.

The demo is an origin story set 20 years in the past, and shows how Agent 47 - a man with stats "off the charts" and no apparent weaknesses - was recruited into the secretive International Contract Agency (ICA). The mission shows him meeting his handler Diana Burnwood for the first time.

Square Enix also announced that the PS4 version of the game will feature six exclusive contracts dubbed The Sarajevo Six. "These are self-contained contracts that see Agent 47 travel the world in pursuit of six former members of a paramilitary unit called CICADA," says the game's website. "Each target was a private soldier guilty of committing brutal war crimes. Many years later, fate is finally catching up with them."

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Hitman trailer shows off sunny new Sapienza location

Dark alleyways, gloomy buildings, windswept rooftops - Agent 47 is a master of the shadows.

It's about time he got some sun.

The latest trailer for Square Enix's upcoming Hitman title shows off a new sundrenched location, Sapienza, a fictional town situated on Italy's southern coast.

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In many ways, producing video for the internet is a lot like soothsaying. We spend a lot of time reading the tea leaves (or fish guts, depending on your preference) to try and divine what videos will do well. Is the subject matter engaging? Have we tagged the video properly? Is this a game people want to see more of?

New Hitman has PlayStation 4-exclusive beta for those who pre-order

IO Interactive's new Hitman game was unveiled during Sony's E3 2015 press conference, and there are a couple of PlayStation-related exclusives tied up in it.

Sony said Hitman is "leading with a digital release", and there's a PlayStation 4-exclusive beta for those who pre-order, as well as six exclusive contracts.

Hitman comes out on 8th December 2015 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. IO said it will make the game available first via direct download, with a staggered release planned throughout 2016.

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