After the release of Hitman: Absolution - a game that failed to meet Square Enix's lofty sales expectations - and layoffs at developer IO Interactive, the future of Agent 47 was cloudy at best.
Hitman developer IO Interactive has announced that it's laying off "almost half" its staff to "focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise."
In a statement obtained by Eurogamer, Square Enix VP of corporate communications Chris Glover said, "The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project. However we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today's market."
"For those affected, we are extremely grateful for the hard work which they have contributed, and where it's possible and appropriate to relocate staff to open positions at other studios within the group, we will try to do so. We are also reaching out to other companies for outplacement opportunities. We sincerely wish them well in their future careers."
His name is Agent 47, and I do believe you know his work. He's the world's greatest assassin; travelling the globe to bring a civilised kind of murder for hire to those who deserve it, and somehow world famous despite his greatest talent being getting in and out with nobody knowing he was ever there. Take nothing but lives. Leave nothing but mystery. That's the Hitman way.
This triple-pack covers almost his entire early career: Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money. The original Hitman: Codename 47 from 2000 is notable by its absence, and would have been good to have just for historical interest. It's not a huge omission in practice though, because Contracts includes updated versions of almost all its levels along with a handful of new ones. The only completely missing chapter is a hit set in the rainforest, in which 47 had to befriend a tribe of panther-worshipping natives by retrieving their lost idol - yes, really, and it was just as silly then - and fight a Scarface rip-off with an odd immunity to bullets. Suffice to say, it's no great loss.
On Xbox 360, Blood Money is the same version released in 2006. This is the first time it's appeared on PS3, but it's a straight port - no frills, no extra glitz to welcome it to the future. On both platforms, the same goes for the original games too. HD graphics are promised, HD graphics are delivered. That means a resolution bump to 720p and that's all. If any of the textures or models have been given a sneaky spit-polish for good measure, I can't say they jumped out at me. Certainly, there are no fancy effects or filters to jazz things up, no new game modes or goodies and no real additions save for some half-hearted achievements/trophies. You do at least get a code for a free online download of the fun Sniper Challenge pre-order bonus from last year's Hitman: Absolution.
When I reviewed Hitman Absolution last year I used it as an excuse to dive back into Hitman: Blood Money, and I was surprised how well that game has aged. It lacks some of the default mechanics (a cover system, for instance) and polish of modern action and stealth games, but its ingenuity and diabolical sense of humour help it overcome the ravages of time.
Square Enix has released Hitman: HD Trilogy screenshots that give us our first look at the high definition revamp collection.