Hitman 3

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Hitman 3
Hitman 3 Packart.jpg
Developer(s)IO Interactive
Publisher(s)IO Interactive
Director(s)Mattias Engström
Producer(s)
  • Markus Friedl
  • Céline Gil
  • Jesper Nielsen
  • Karim Boussoufa
Programmer(s)
  • Jacob Marner
  • Maurizio de Pascale
Artist(s)Alexander Andersen
Writer(s)
  • Nick Price
  • Michael Vogt
Composer(s)Niels Bye Nielsen
SeriesHitman
EngineGlacier engine
Platform(s)
Release20 January 2021
Genre(s)Stealth
Mode(s)Single-player

Hitman 3 (stylized as HITMAN III) is a 2021 stealth game developed and published by IO Interactive. It is the sequel to the 2018 video game Hitman 2, the eighth main installment in the Hitman series and the third and final entry in the World of Assassination trilogy. In the single-player story, the game concludes the plot arc started in Hitman and follows the genetically-engineered assassin Agent 47 and his allies as they hunt down the Partners, the leaders of the secretive organization Providence controlling the world's affairs.

The game is presented from a third-person perspective, with a focus on interactive elements in 47's environment. Within each map, 47 can walk around the map freely. The player can complete challenges within each mission or complete side missions usually with one fixed target that get progressively harder known as "escalations" in order to unlock new items.

Hitman 3 was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Stadia (under the title Hitman: World of Assassination) and Nintendo Switch[1] on 20 January 2021.[2][3] The game received critical acclaim, with some critics calling it the best in the series. It was particularly praised for its level design and atmosphere, stealth mechanics, and 47's abilities. It was reported that Hitman 3 was the most successful game in the franchise. It won various awards including "PC Game of the Year" at the 2021 Golden Joystick Awards.

Gameplay[edit]

Like its predecessors, Hitman 3 is a stealth game played from a third-person perspective and players once again assume control of assassin Agent 47. In the game, 47 travels to various locations and carries out contracted assassinations, continuing the story of the last two games. The base game features six new locations: Dubai, Dartmoor, Berlin, Chongqing, Mendoza and an epilogue set in the Carpathian Mountains, Romania.[4][5] Owners of Hitman or Hitman 2 are able to import maps, levels and their progress into Hitman 3.[3]

The new locations in Hitman 3 include persistent shortcuts, a new gameplay feature to the series. Each stage includes several initially locked doors which can only be unlocked from one side; once unlocked, these doors stay open in all future playthroughs, allowing initially closed-off locations to be reached more quickly.[6]

The game features PlayStation VR compatibility on the PlayStation 4 version, with support for PlayStation 5 via backwards compatibility,[7] Support for VR on PC was later added on 20 January 2022. The VR functionality also retroactively applies to levels imported from the previous two entries.[8] Unlike Hitman 2, there are no multiplayer modes, with Sniper Assassin being purely single player, and Ghost Mode being removed entirely.[9] However, Hitman 3 kept Contracts Mode, where a player can select up to five targets across the 24 maps in the series with rules and complications; this mode gives the player extra possibilities after the main missions.

Plot[edit]

During the events of Hitman 2, professional assassin Agent 47 and his handler, Diana Burnwood, defected from the International Contract Agency (ICA) and joined forces with rogue mercenary Lucas Grey to destroy Providence: an alliance of corporate executives and industrialists collectively wielding political, military, and economic influence. While 47 and Grey seek revenge on Providence for turning them both into assassins, Diana is motivated by the death of her parents, unaware that 47 carried out the killings. The trio kidnapped Arthur Edwards, Providence's intermediary known as the Constant, who identified the three Partners controlling Providence: Carl Ingram, Marcus Stuyvesant, and Alexa Carlisle. Edwards, however, later escaped captivity and seized the Partners' corporate assets for himself.

Working together, 47 and Grey eliminate Ingram and Stuyvesant in Dubai during the inauguration of the Scepter, the world's tallest skyscraper, and Carlisle at her ancestral manor in Dartmoor, England. Following the Partners' deaths, Edwards assumes control of Providence and deploys mercenaries who capture Grey and Diana. Grey commits suicide to ensure 47 is not captured.

47 arranges to meet hacker Olivia Hall, Grey's only other trusted ally, in Berlin. Discovering that the ICA is tailing them, 47 kills several ICA agents sent to eliminate him, before he and Hall decide to conclusively stop the ICA by exposing its crimes to the public. 47 eliminates Hush and Imogen Royce, the overseers of the ICA data storage facility in Chongqing, China, allowing Hall to steal and publish all of the ICA's operational data while deleting all records of himself and Diana. The ICA is irrevocably compromised and dismantled, ending 47's career as a professional assassin.

Meanwhile, Edwards attempts to convert Diana to succeeding him as Constant and seeks her betrayal of 47 by finally revealing his killing of her parents. Diana seemingly double-deals both sides, accepting Edwards's offer while inviting 47 to a gathering of Providence members in Mendoza, Argentina, where he is instructed to eliminate the only people opposed to Diana's succession—Tamara Vidal and Don Archibald Yates—so that she can dismantle the organization upon assuming control. While he follows her instructions, 47's longtime trust in Diana is finally shaken when she incapacitates him with poison in revenge for the murder of her parents.

In a dream, a vision of Grey persuades 47 that Diana has not betrayed him, but rather helped to put Edwards within his reach. 47 wakes up imprisoned on a train travelling through the Carpathian Mountains, with Edwards also on board. Though Edwards intends to make 47 into an assassin for Providence once more by wiping his memory with a serum injection, 47 breaks free, either kills Edwards or injects him with the serum, and flees into the wild. Meanwhile, Diana assumes power as Constant and enacts a purge of Providence's members from leadership positions at major global corporations, dismantling Providence's power structure. A year later, 47 reunites with Diana, and the pair return to their former roles as assassin and handler, respectively, as a means of keeping the global elites in check.

In an alternate ending, if 47 injects himself with the serum while confronting Edwards, he passes out, and later awakens in a padded room, greeted by Edwards' voice telling him, "Wake up. Wake up, my friend. It's the dawn of a new day, and you have things to do"—akin to the opening of Hitman: Codename 47.

Development[edit]

The game was announced on 11 June 2020 at the PlayStation 5 reveal event.[10] Developers have said that the game will be "a lot more mature, serious and darker" than previous installments in the trilogy.[11] IO Interactive self-published the game when it released on 20 January 2021 for Windows via Epic Games Store, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and streaming service Stadia (under the title Hitman: World of Assassination).[12][13] The physical version was distributed by Square Enix in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australasia.[14] Notably, it was also made available on Nintendo Switch in the form of a cloud based game. This marks the first time a Hitman game was released for a Nintendo platform in almost 18 years; the last game to be released was a port of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin for the GameCube in 2003.

The Mendoza location was IO Interactive's first attempt to depict Argentina in the Hitman franchise. The company went to great lengths to create a fictional location with authentic-looking terrain and vegetation, to show the winemaking process, and to accurately portray aspects of Argentine culture like the tango and the drinking of mate.[15] The one major compromise was the decision to reuse existing non-player character (NPC) dialogue which had been recorded with Colombian and Mexican accents, rather than recording new NPC dialogue with authentic Argentine accents. According to IO Interactive, this was because of time and budgetary constraints and the additional complication of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company chose to focus on securing appropriate voice talent for the Chongqing location.[15]

On 15 January 2021, IO interactive announced that unlike console players, PC players would have to pay for an access pass to unlock Hitman 2 locations in Hitman 3,[16] even after announcing in August 2020 that players would unlock them in Hitman 3 at no additional cost.[17] Tim Sweeney, Epic Games' CEO, later responded to the announcement with: "Sorry, the team is looking into this with IO. It’s never Epic’s intent to create a situation where someone who owns a game on Steam would have to buy it again on Epic Games Store to get the full benefits of it."[18] Two days later, IO Interactive said they were working on a solution to allow Steam players to import locations to the Epic Games Store. They guaranteed that players will not need to repurchase the games;[19] however, they admitted there would be a delay and players could not import Hitman 2 locations into Hitman 3 for a few weeks.[20] The location transfer system was implemented a month later on 18 February 2021.[21]

Release[edit]

On 27 August 2020, digital-only pre-orders for the game launched for PlayStation, PC and Xbox players. It was also announced that a Deluxe Edition of the game would be released, which includes Deluxe Escalations, in-game items and suits as well as digital soundtracks for the trilogy and a digital book featuring information about targets and locations from the trilogy.[22] On 8 September 2020, pre-orders for Stadia went live.[23] On 15 October 2020, it was announced that physical copies of an exclusive variant of the Deluxe Edition containing all the digital content and an exclusive physical passport would be released by Limited Run Games.[24] On 30 October 2020, standard retail physical copies for both editions of the game were announced through traditional brick and mortar retail stores.[25]

After launch the game was plagued with server-based issues, with users unable to transfer over their progress from Hitman 2, users unable to use their Access Pass levels, and users unable to access the servers at all, leaving them unable to make progress in the game.[26][27]

A week after Hitman 3's release, IO's studio head Hakan Abrak stated they had made back their development costs for the game, and "that puts us in a really good place and allows us to confidently move forward with our ambitious plans for future projects."[28]

Downloadable content (DLC) for the game was confirmed in an interview with IO Interactive, although not any specific release date was given.[29] On 24 March 2021, IO Interactive announced "Seven Deadly Sins", an expansion made up of seven content packs themed around the seven deadly sins. The sins are greed, pride, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth. The first pack (Greed) was released on 30 March with each "Season of Sin" lasting between four to six weeks. The packs can be bought individually or collectively as part of a season pass.[30]

On 13 January 2022, IO Interactive announced the Year 2 update for Hitman 3, which introduces ray tracing for PC, PCVR support, a permanent game mode known as "Elusive Target Arcade", and the game release on the Steam service, as well as the Microsoft Store service for Windows 10 and Windows 11, with full cross-progression support for the Xbox version. The announcement also included details on the Hitman Trilogy, a collection of the three games in the ″World of Assassination″ and the debut of a "Freelancer" game mode in spring 2022 that introduces a customisable safehouse, mission hub, and various items and NPCs. A new map codenamed "Rocky" was also advertised and planned to release later in 2022.[31][32] On 20 January 2022, the game was released as part of the Hitman Trilogy and separately on Steam with PCVR support.

Reception[edit]

Hitman 3 received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[34][35][36][37]

IGN gave the game a 9/10, writing "Rich, rewarding, and highly replayable, Hitman 3 is a superb instalment of IO's idiosyncratic but much-loved stealth series." GamesRadar+ gave the game 4.5/5 stars, praising the "fun and imaginative murders, beautiful levels to explore, [and] incredible world-building" and calling it a "slick and entertaining conclusion to the trilogy". GameSpot wrote: "What's good about Hitman—its level design and the creativity, experimentation, and exploration that affords—is great in Hitman 3."

Sales[edit]

It was reported on 24 January 2021, Hitman 3 had taken the No.1 position in the UK game boxed charts, with launch sales up 17% over Hitman 2.[45][46]

By April 2021, IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak stated that Hitman 3 had performed “300% better commercially” than its predecessor Hitman 2.[47]

It was reported on 22 November 2021, Hitman 3 was the most successful game from the franchise.[48]

Accolades[edit]

Hitman 3 received the "PC Game of the Year" award at the Golden Joystick Awards 2021[49] and the "Best Stealth" award from PC Gamer.[50] Several publications considered it one of the best video games of the year, including Push Square,[51] Electronic Gaming Monthly,[52] Time,[53] Ars Technica,[54] The Guardian,[55] IGN,[56] Techradar,[57] GamesRadar,[58] The Washington Post,[59] Kotaku,[60] GameSpot[61] and Polygon.[62]

Future[edit]

In various interviews conducted with IO Interactive, they have confirmed that despite Hitman 3 being the final game in the World of Assassination trilogy, it will not be the last game in the franchise.[63][64] Christian Elverdam, IO Interactive’s chief creative officer, has said that walking away from the Hitman franchise for the time being and closing the door on this chapter of Agent 47's story feels fitting.[65] IO Interactive have also confirmed they are likely going to do a new take on the gaming formula when they return to the Hitman series in the future.[66]

References[edit]

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  5. ^ "HITMAN 3 - Under the Hood (Chongqing Location Reveal)" – via www.youtube.com.
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External links[edit]