An Interview With IO Interactives Sven Liebold About Hitman 2

An Interview With IO Interactives Sven Liebold About Hitman 2

first_img Hitman was one of my favorite games from 2016. This was actually the first time I played anything from the venerated stealth franchise, and I absolutely loved it. The variety of ways to take out targets blew me away. The amount of detail developer Io Interactive put into each of the game’s different locales is something that also impressed me. It was an overall high-quality experience that exemplified what a stealth game should be. Despite all the drama that happened between Io and Square-Enix, a sequel, Hitman 2, is arriving later this year by way of publisher Warner Bros.At this year’s E3, I went hands-on with the upcoming stealth title. Afterwards, I got a chance to chat with Io Interactive’s Sven Liebold about Hitman 2. We discussed the game’s new narrative structure, how the engine handles so many on-screen NPCs, post-launch content, and how Hitman is now the torch bearer for AAA stealth games.The last Hitman game came out two years ago and the collected edition (with all chapters) released early last year. Why is this game coming out so quickly?We started development of Hitman 2 pretty much right after the previous Hitman finished. The team obviously learned a lot from our previous game. We knew we could improve a lot, so we embarked on that mission. We’re very happy to show the first results of our efforts.Hitman 2 isn’t an episodic game like the previous installment. Why did you decide to release the full game all at once this time around?This time the main game releases day and date physical and digital on November 13. What that means is we need to emphasize two aspects, primarily. First, players can basically go through the story of the main game at their own pace. They can do so with as much replay or as little replay as they want, completely in one place.When it comes to post-launch content, all the stuff that people loved like elusive targets are back. Escalation contracts, the challenge packs, contracts mode, all of that will come back in Hitman 2. With all of this live content coming on day one, we will be able to offer much more varied content simply because we already have an entire buffet, if you will. An entire palate is available.When you combine the amount of content already in the base game with all of the post-launch content, it sounds like Hitman 2 is going to last for many, many hours.I think it’s no surprise to say it’s very hard to estimate the amount of gameplay in Hitman. With the previous game, most players — depending on how they approached missions, how often they tried different approaches and how much they replayed — played for about 15 hours. We’ve also seen 500 to 600 hours. Even thousands of hours. It’s really varied depending on how you approach it.In the first Hitman, each chapter was its own self-contained story. There was a narrative thread through all of them, but for the most part, they were individual tales. Are each of the chapters in Hitman 2 also self-contained?There are six stories in the main game. Story-wise, Hitman 2 is a direct continuation of the previous Hitman so we will have an overarching story again. Of course, our assassination sandbox will stay intact.Is it hard to come up with so many different assassination scenarios in each chapter? That doesn’t sound easy.Coming up with them is actually not the hard part. Some of the guys have worked on Hitman for quite a long time. You can imagine there is already a large backlog of different ideas and approaches. We’re not going to run out of those any time soon.To that point, I want to discuss our Miami demo. It’s a completely new setting that we are bringing to Hitman. We haven’t really done anything like that; the sandbox and its complexity and its fidelity. It was tempting for us was to try this approach; to have this fully simulated race and then a target being part of the race — a mobile moving target that is part of it. The race is a timed event. It’s not a scripted event. We didn’t have that before. We are trying some new recipes and some new things that we think are super promising and that we also hope our players will enjoy.Will other chapters feature new things and surprises like the Miami level?We definitely have more surprises up our sleeves. I can promise you that.Let’s talk about the graphics. Were they enhanced in any way since the last game? Are you taking advantage of the power afforded by consoles like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X?In regards to that [mid-gen consoles], we’re still optimizing, so there is nothing specific I can get into just yet. We’ll be able to talk about that very, very soon.It’s our own engine, it’s a proprietary engine, and we have optimized it quite significantly since last time. We have very targeted, pinpointed improvements to the engine that happened [since the last game]. We are always trying to improve our underlying tech.One thing I found impressive about the last Hitman and the Miami demo is the amount of characters on screen. I never noticed any slow down or any stutter while playing. Was it difficult to achieve this?I’m happy you mentioned the crowds. Crowds in Hitman locations is an important thing for us. With the Miami location, we’re looking at almost 2000 NPCs active at the same time. We worked on crowd fidelity and crowd scale quite a lot. There’s also a new feature in the Miami demo where you can blend into crowds. You can hide in them. The crowd is a gameplay feature, which is an awesome addition to the experience, in our opinion.Can you go into more detail about post-launch content?If you go to Hitman.com, you can see the premium editions that we will offer on top of the Standard Edition. This includes all the post-launch live content that I mentioned before. All of that stuff comes in the Standard Edition as well. On top of that, we have the Silver Edition which includes one expansion, and we have the Gold Edition which includes an expansion pass.With Metal Gear and Splinter Cell no longer around, Hitman is currently the biggest AAA stealth game out there. How does it feel knowing players now look to Hitman for their stealth game fix?To that, I can only say that we are super focused on what we are doing. There is a lot of belief, a lot of passion at Io for this game. We are trying to improve the assassination sandbox one step at a time, and we’re not done doing that yet.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Simon Belmont, King K. Rool, and Dead Luigi Join Smash Bros. UltimateAn Interview with Jump Force Producer Koji Nakajima Stay on targetlast_img


Leave a Reply

Recent Comments