Somehow or another, Agent 47 became one of the more recognizable faces in gaming. Maybe it was his bald head that got his image stuck in the minds of gamers. Or maybe it’s the fact that since debuting in 2000, the assassin has cemented himself in our brains through ruthless killing, increasingly strong gameplay, and even a few (unfortunately not-so-great) films. It may seem strange at first to think of Agent 47 as so well-known, but it’s just a fact. And like any character who’s had his time in the spotlight, he’s been the subject of some weirder games or, at least, game choices in his 15-year career.
It all starts with news surrounding the newest entry in the series. Next year’s plainly titled “Hitman.” Rather than release a “full” version of the game, Square Enix is going the episodic route. That means that you can pay the full $60 for the entire game if you want, but you could also spend $35 for an “intro” pack and then pick up the rest of the tab if you want to play the rest. It’s a bit strange to think of a game like this as episodic, but it also kind of makes sense, too. Given that you’re basically tasked with different hits in different locations, breaking the game up into different parts could work. It may be totally ruin the cohesion of the game—no, it totally will—but Square Enix clearly doesn’t care about that.
The gaming giant is clearly trying something new with this franchise, and it’s difficult to find them at fault for it. If you have an IP that’s not doing well, it’s wise to mix things up and see what works. And sometimes, that can be accomplished through the license route. To that end, were you aware that Hitman has his own casino game? It’s true. The almost-unstoppable killing machine has a slot machine modeled after various games in the franchise. Apparently, the game remains true to its console counterparts by incorporating much of the same imagery and themes as its gaming cousins. For example, there are images of Agent 47’s “tools of the trade” all over the slot machine, such as the sniper rifle and knife, along with a mode where you can choose which person you “hit” you want to take out. It’s pretty interesting to see a slot take on this theme, if only because it just about becomes an actual rather than a game of chance.
Speaking of a Hitman game that borders on not really being a game, have you heard of “Hitman GO”? It’s a mobile offering that has received strong reviews for flipping the “stealth” genre in an entirely new way. Instead of having complete control over how you’re going to pull off an assassination. You have to be way more strategic with your movement. So much so that “Hitman GO” ends up feeling more like a turn-based RPG than a title in which you’re trying to sneak up on a hit and, well, murder him. There’s still plenty of that in this title, but it’s all done through a different, somewhat-strange (at first) approach. It’s safe to say that Hitman fans playing “GO” for a first time will be thrown off, but good luck not getting hooked on strategizing your next hit.
If the new Hitman title proves to be a hit, expect more of this from Square Enix moving forward. That’s especially true when it comes to their other IP, which could mean some interesting things for, say, the Deus Ex franchise. After all, that series’ latest game is coming in 2016, too…
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