There’s plenty to play over Thanksgiving break with this Store update’s new releases – PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is out on both PS3 and PS Vita, while Disney’s Epic Mickey 2, a special edition of Hitman Absolution and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse are on PS3. Joining them are previously released titles including Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Tom Clancy’s EndWar, F1 Race Stars and the DOOM Classic Collection.
If you’re a PlayStation Plus member you can now download a ton of content for your PS Vita. With the membership spanning both PS3 and PS Vita now, you can look forward to 18 free games a month — not to mention the other Plus benefits.
Besides all the Plus freebies, PS Vita owners can nab Persona 4: Golden, Sine Mora (also available on PSN), Jet Set Radio (though if you’re a Plus member, it’s free!) and Eliminage Original (also for PSP).
If you pick just one unique, fun element that truly stands out in a Hitman game, it’s got to be the ability to suit up in various disguises in order to fool passersby and infiltrate protected areas undetected. At IO, we’ve always had a lot of fun with disguises, which probably culminated in Hitman: Blood Money’s white suits, clown outfits, and full-body chicken costumes.
With Hitman: Absolution, we’re following up on that tradition and we’re adding new wrinkles as well. Most importantly, we’ve added the ability to “blend in,” which allows you to act out your disguise more convincingly. Whereas a disguise would fool people at a distance in the old games, Agent 47 can now use his Instinct powers to fool people up close.
I can say with considerable confidence that today’s episode is our biggest and best yet, weighing in at a groan-inducing (but quality-packed!) two hours and 10 minutes. Our time at PAX Prime last week yielded sweet fruit in the form of five new game developer interviews, and each one is a treat. First, indie developer Matt Gilgenbach discusses how his new PSN-exclusive “reverse shooter” Retro/Grade changed his life; from there, we shift to Snapshot, the charming PS3 and PS Vita platform puzzler that enables players to manipulate their environment through photographs.
One of the best things about working with a vibrant and productive community, such as the one attached to the Hitman games, is that you can learn a lot by just watching people play. Going back to the previous games in the Hitman series, we’ve always enjoyed watching videos of how the fans tackle the different levels; both in terms of strategy and approach to the emergent systems within the game but also in terms of how they change the rules by going against the core of the level.
A great example is when we see people trying to set up mission parameters all by themselves. The previous games didn’t really support this – you were supposed to play a level in one of several different ways but targets always remained the same – but the fans pretty quickly started setting up conditions for completion themselves.
Excitement around Hitman: Absolution has been building at an impressive rate over the last year. In fact, today it’s exactly one year ago we came out and announced that we were working on Absolution and we’ve had a great ride. From sharing the first gameplay at E3 2011 and releasing the full 16 minutes for everyone to see afterwards to showing off the gorgeous orphanage level, revealing the fate of 47’s long-time handler Diana, showing off new features like Instinct and introducing exciting new gameplay series of videos called ‘Introducing’, we can safely say the fans have been with us through quite a ride thus far.
And now it’s time to kick it up another level. Today, we announce two new things. One is the Hitman: Sniper Challenge pre-order bonus and the other is the release date of Absolution. Let’s start with the release date – November 20th, 2012 is the day the game will hit PS3. So get your behind to Mars, er, GameStop and pre-order the game. Why? Well, that’s where this Sniper Challenge comes in.
By valuing stealth, careful observation, and meticulous planning over the run-and-gun bulletstorms of its contemporaries, the Hitman series has earned a sizable fan base over its long and celebrated career. As coldblooded antihero Agent 47, the player quietly stalks his prey through a Kafka-esque maze of guards and security measures, donning disguises, blending in with the crowd, and evading or subduing threats in order to efficiently fulfill his latest contract kill. The key phrase here is blending in; in Hitman, to stand out is to be detected, and to be detected is to die in a hail of gunfire.
This tense, analytical formula has served Hitman well over many successful sequels. But the steep learning curve and unforgiving stealth segments have also proven polarizing, preventing some newcomers from embracing what is by all accounts a uniquely rewarding stealth-action title. Taking a cue from 2011’s successful launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution — another stealth game that sought to broaden its appeal without betraying its roots — Hitman: Absolution seeks to have its bloody cake and eat it, too.
IO Interactive has been on quite a ride with the first demo of Hitman: Absolution – touring the world with the code, showing it off to hundreds of thousands of excited people. The response was so overwhelming, we decided to release the full playthrough a few weeks ago. And now, after having captured two of the most busy gentlemen on the team, we are following up with a new video to ensure everyone gets the full experience.
Join Game Director Tore Blystad and Gameplay Director Christian Elverdam as they take us all behind-the-scenes of the award-winning Hitman: Absolution, with a full 17-minute commentary version of the “Run For Your Life” playthrough. The commentary will let you learn first-hand what it takes to create a living and breathing world. The aim is for the fans to gain new insight into the creation and ambition for the game and get a taste of what players can expect when they enter the mindset of the original assassin: Agent 47. We hope you will enjoy it!
Hitman: Absolution was one of the most talked about games at E3 earlier this month after an impressive behind closed doors showing and the release of this atmospheric trailer. There is still plenty of mystery around Agent 47′s upcoming mission so I recently caught up with Tore Blystad, game director and Christian Eleverdam, gamplay director at IO Interactive to get some further intel.
How does it feel to be bringing Hitman back after such a long time away?
TB: It feels super great. Part of time was spent building a brand new engine from scratch. We looked at all the previous Hitman titles and said, “Okay, there’s a lot of DNA here, what do we want to improve?” We looked at everything, from Agent 47 himself – how does he move? what can he do? – to the AI. We had quite a few binary reactions in the old games, where if you got discovered it turned into a bit of a clumsy combat situation. We wanted to widen that a lot. Obviously we still have a lot of stealth elements in the game.