The new Hitman game after 2012’s Absolution and the episodic format it comes in was met with some outcry. With IO Interactive making promises to release all seven episodes of the game “by the end of summer”, and a release scheme some find convoluted, players are annoyed.
Before the episodic/DLC format crept into gaming, players were used to getting the full game with all the necessary base features when they purchased it. That meant that additional goodies, like expansions and other fluff, were just that: additional. They added flavor, but you didn’t need them to play and enjoy the game. Condiments to the game-burger in this weird metaphor, in a way.
Hesitant players can pay $15 to get the new Hitman game’s Intro Pack, which is basically made up of three levels: two tutorial levels/locations and the main Paris mission. If they like what they see, they can then upgrade to the Hitman Upgrade Pack for access to future levels for $50, $5 more than what you pay for the full game. And if you want the whole game, you’ll have to hand over $60 for the new Hitman game’s Full Experience Pack- for that you’ll receive the subsequent levels as they are released once a month.
Players have found this release schedule unnecessarily confusing, so it’s understandable why people are irritated. There’s already a lot to deal with outside of gaming, which at the end of the day should be a form of escapism, without a messy release scheme to further muddle things.
What’s more, players who don’t have an internet connection beefy enough to regularly handle online gaming are out of luck if they want a full experience out of this, because some single player content, from gadgets and disguises to finishing challenges, can only be unlocked if you play the new Hitman game online.
Additionally, server issues have been adding to the already mounting frustration of many, although the team behind the game seems to at least be keeping a close eye on them:
We are constantly monitoring the server status of HITMAN to fix issues as soon as they appear. Thank you for your feedback and patience.
— HITMAN (@Hitman) March 12, 2016
It’s sad, really, because most of the elements outside of the wonky release schedule and weird online-only stuff have been well-received by Hitman fans, game critics, and regular players alike. Hitman itself has been described as fun to play and a strong start, and IO Interactive seems to have gleaned heavily from critique on past games to launch a solid first episode.
In their defense, IO Interactive has stated that fine-tune later chapters:
“As we’ve said before, we want to shape the game with the people playing it and by going down this route we believe we’re creating the best possible base for success. We will be able to respond much faster to feedback, analyse player behaviour and implement changes on a regular basis that simply wasn’t possible before.”