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‘Hitman 2’ Ditches the Episodic Format for a ‘Full-Fledged Experience’

As I walked into the kitchen in the VIP area of the Global Innovation motor race in Miami, I knew I needed a waiters outfit to get closer to my target. Luckily, the kitchen at an incredibly crowded raceway was near empty accept for a cook and one waiter. Race patrons must have been starving.

I had to find a way to separate the two men since I had decided against using lethal force during my hands-on time at E3. Luring the waiter into the freezer was easier than it had any right to be, a radio was centered on the cold storage table. A simple flip of the switch and I somehow knew the waiter would leave the cook behind to investigate why music started coming from where they stored the tuna, not taking a second to consider why a security guard with a barcode on the back of his head just walked into the refrigerator. A few moments later and that same cold tuna was just a bit more tender and I had some fresh server threads.

All snark aside, the scenario above was a piece of one “Hitman 2’s” missions, and it proved to be just as brilliant as the first game. “Hitman 2” goes deeper on the contrived assassination missions where there are as many ways to kill a target as their are sponsors on a formula one race car. It’s ridiculous, silly, and an absolute blast.

I had been ordered to take out Sierra Knox, a race car driver and daughter of a business tycoon whose company supplied advanced military tech to a dictator.  It’s context that I barely paid attention to since it seemed to exist for no other reason than to provide context for all the crazy scenarios that developer IO Interactive creates for assassinations.

“Our goal is to make the player feel smart when they figure out a creative way to finish a mission,” said Markus Friedl, executive producer on the Hitman series. “In this case, with the Miami raceway, you found the cleanest way to take out Sierra which probably took the most time to complete.”

I, with the help of a guide provided by publisher Warner Bros, went through a series of forced wardrobe changes (from security guard to waiter to mascot) in order to steal a mechanics uniform and tools just so I could get close enough to Sierra’s vehicle. Once I was on the pit crew I stuck a small bomb to the cars back bumper and then found a comfortable place to watch the fireworks.

The path I chose was only one option that the game laid out for me and even though the demo was slightly limited in variety, simply walking through the raceway gave me three other ideas that could be used to finish the job in the full game. Naturally, two of those ideas involved that same tuna that came in handy during my one one one time with the waiter in the freezer.

“We tried to include popular mechanics from the first game, like a briefcase that can be used to conceal a sniper rifle, in a bigger way this time around,” Friedl said. We also tried to make stealth mechanics deeper, crowd fidelity is higher so using that to hide is more effective.”

“Hitman 2” obviously shares a lot of DNA with 2016’s “Hitman,” the biggest change is how the sequel moves away from the episodic structure of the first game. Friedl and his team wanted to move away from a staggered release and put out a full game all at once, with DLC to follow at a later date.

“We know some folks liked that structure, but we see the change as mostly positive,” Friedl said. “People can experience the story at their own pace, and they’ll have a lot more to do right away. We look at it as releasing a full-fledged experience at launch.”

“Hitman’s” episodic run in 2016 received a lot of critically acclaim, each episode brought a new wave of excitement for the game. It’s not clear if this approach will have the same effect but players will enjoy more zany, spy-movie action when “Hitman 2” hits PS4, PC, and Xbox One on November 9th

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