2016 is proving to be a very exciting year indeed for gamers. Of the dozens of video games being offered to us, Hitman, rather ironically stands out from the crowd. For those unfamiliar with the series, Hitman places players in the stylish black suit of Agent 47, a highly trained and genetically manipulated assassin under the employ of ICA (International Contracts Agency). The game is iconic for consistently handing over the reins of a mission to the player, meaning players can choose how to assassinate their target(s). Though the games often encourage stealth and creativity, the player is completely free to assassinate in whichever way they please, regardless of witnesses. They can choose to work a bit and make the death(s) look like an accident, or they can simply shoot them.

The pertinently named Hitman was officially announced through an open letter from IO Interactive (IOI) back in 2014 before being unveiled at Sony’s E3 conference last year by its developer, and publisher, Square Enix (who brought us the latest and critically acclaimed Tomb Raider series). This latest Hitman game is not, as some may have believed, a reboot of the series. In fact, according to IOI, the beta acts as a prequel set some twenty years in Agent 47’s past and includes the moment he meets his handler, Diana Burnwood.

 You will be given an open world and an abundance of assassination missions, partly why Square Enix trademarked “World of Assassins” to use as a tagline.

IOI has also stated that each map will be a small sandbox filled with “over 300 fully simulated NPCs” (annoucement) with every one of them a potential target for ‘contracts mode’, making its return from Hitman Absolution. Emphasis has been placed on player-developer interaction, as they’ve stated “we will develop the game with you, the players, and adjust gameplay and create live content and events based on player activity and feedback – so the game will deepen and evolve as time progresses.” What this means for players, is that the developers will release new missions, maps and targets as regular updates, free of charge.

To add to the growing list of Hitman’s unique features, this title will be released episodically. Despite this, IOI has stated that the growing standard DLC practice within the gaming industry today of offering pricey DLC is not something they wanted to take part in. The episodic Hitman game can be purchased with a one-time payment and all future DLC will be included. IO Interactive is however, offering a ‘Hitman Intro Pack’ which gamers new to the series may purchase should they simply wish to get a taste of what the ‘world of assassins’ is like. According to IOI “The new Intro Pack, which includes Prologue and Paris will be priced at $15. Each subsequent location can be purchased for $10 as an add-on item after you buy the new Intro Pack. If you buy the Intro Pack and want to get into everything the Full Experience offers, you can also choose to buy the Upgrade Pack for $50.”

Those familiar with Hitman can purchase everything for a well rounded $60. IOI also made it a point to bring relief to frustrated gamers by announcing that there would be NO micro-transactions in Hitman.

hitman with gun

For those finding themselves shaking with anticipation for the new Hitman, IOI is offering those who pre-ordered the game a chance to play the beta, exclusively for PS4 and Windows, when it’s released on the 12th Feb and 19th Feb, respectively. If any PS4 owners felt as though they weren’t getting enough, the PS4 beta will also include six PS4-exclusive contracts titled ‘The Sarajevo Six’, which pits Agent 47 against six former members of CICADA, a paramilitary unit. The contracts will take him across the globe to locations such as Italy, Thailand, Morocco, France, the United States and Japan. Worry not, owners of other consoles, these missions and maps will be released with the game after the game launches on March 11th, as more maps become available monthly.