Square Enix is set to unleash the latest Hitman game from IO Interactive this November 20 on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game has come a long way since last E3, with the developer showcasing brand new crowd-based camouflage for Agent 47 to get in and out of busy areas undetected. Roberto Marchesi, art director on Hitman: Absolution, talks about the latest unveilings for the world’s most famous assassin in this exclusive interview.
How does this Hitman game compare to previous adventures?
This is much more open than previous games. There are so many ways to approach every situation. The AI that is populating the world has to adapt cinematically to every kind of move that the player can make. On top of that, we also have these scripted events with the bigger characters happening throughout the story. These provide the main beats of the story.
What role does Agent 47’s notebook play in Hitman: Absolution?
Everything you do as a player has a consequence in Hitman: Absolution. In the previous games, we had a rating system. We tried to improve and expand on this. What we have now is, our rating system is still very much present and we give you access to the Silent Assassin rating, but it also has a scoring system tied to it. When you get spotted or are forced to take out a civilian, you will get minus points, while when you succeed in taking out your target, you will get plus points.
What does this add to the game?
It’s always a balancing act of how much of a score you can get, and what you have to do to actually get the different ratings. This score is also tracked on leader boards that can be both national and global, so basically you have a healthy competition going on here where the best players in the world will have their score shown. Obviously, there are a lot of veteran players that have played through this franchise; there are also a growing number of people that are just entering it for the first time. How do you balance between people that are coming in new to the franchise, and those who have played through the games? The balance is not an easy one, but it’s actually one of the things that we had most in focus, because what we really wanted to do was create a more in-depth game, but at the same time also a game that was more accessible and you understood the game’s rules easier.
What’s new with Agent 47 in this game?
We have really focused on expanding the toolset of 47 so that you have access to as many tools as possible, and it feels intuitive the way you use them. That’s special to the GUI and the information the player gets on the screen. At the same time, we also tried to develop mechanics that revolve around the shooting. We really wanted to have a very rewarding experience for those who go in guns blazing and have a more action-oriented approach to the game.
Gamers don’t have to wait for November 20 to experience Hitman, what’s the Hitman: Sniper Challenge about?
We really wanted to have a pre-order incentive that stood out from most of the pre-order incentives that are out there. The Hitman Sniper Challenge, as we designed it, is a stand-alone experience that allows the players to become 47 for a short time on a rooftop, with a sniper rifle, and a target. It’s a very simple premise, but it’s incredibly powerful and addictive once you get into it and start thinking of it, the mechanics, and what it is about.
How does it tie into the game?
You are tasked to take out the CEO of Stallion Armaments, Richard Strong. He’s restoring his rooftop during a high class party, presenting his next season’s new weapon systems. You are supposed to take him out, and all the body guards that he has present. You can do this in many different ways. You also have a scoring system here that tracks down how fast you are, and if you are able to hide the bodies in special ways when you shoot them. It also has the leader boards. We at the office have competed a lot inside, even during work hours, to see who gets the best score on this thing. It’s deceptively simple, but incredibly addictive. It has much more to offer.