Two years ago, IO Interactive re-introduced fans to Agent 47’s flair for over-the-top yet stealthy assassinations, with an episodic format that supplied fans with new, massive environments throughout 2016. While not every player was on-board with the manner in which the game was expanded, the key refinements made to the core mechanics and the varied opportunities for completing the objectives were mostly well-received, including our review, as the series moved back to the key ideals of the glory days of Hitman. After the first season was completed, fans were treated to the unfortunate news that IO Interactive would no longer be a part of Square Enix, but on the bright side, the Hitman IP would remain with the developer, allowing the same team that has worked on the franchise since its creation to continue working on their assassination sandbox.
While IO Interactive has hinted that a new Hitman was in the works since late last year, fans did not get their official first look at Hitman 2 until the week prior to E3, now published by Warner Bros., followed up by an extensive look at the game’s Miami level at the convention itself. In the two years since the latest Hitman’s release, IO Interactive has taken plenty of lessons and applied them to the development of their next title, with Hitman 2 instead offering a full experience across six similarly large levels, while also still offering live content such as elusive targets. Much like in the last game, each area offers a plethora of opportunities for replayability, offering a “canvas” of sorts for players to express their freedom through assassinations that range from silent to accidental to brutally obvious.
For those stealthy players, IO Interactive has brought back the sniper briefcase, allowing new openings for ranged takedowns for those who can track down this powerful weapon. In the likely event that players get caught while doing something not particularly legal, Hitman 2 is looking to add more responsiveness to the game’s world, such as upgrading the game’s crowd mechanics to provide players with a better, but not guaranteed, chance of returning to stealth as guards search the hordes of people that usually populate these levels. In addition to expanding these gameplay elements, IO is also continuing to unveil the story that 2016’s Hitman began to explore, diving into Agent 47’s backstory and how he became the renowned assassin players know him as.
The Miami level on display at E3 takes place at a professional racing event, with the drivers, including the assigned target, racing around the track in real time, which players can keep tabs on with televisions sprawled throughout the environment. In addition to plenty of large-scale crowds jam-packed into indoor and outdoor spectating areas, the behind-closed-doors areas houses the level’s more intriguing opportunities, including a colorful mascot with his own agenda, and numerous waiters and pit stop members that seem to have a tendency to go missing. The most shocking part of the demo was that this only represented half of the full Miami level, which already seemed overflowing with unique paths to take and varied characters to interact with as only Agent 47 does. With plenty of more updates being teased by IO leading up to the game’s release, including a Sniper Assassin level that players who pre-order can check out right now, Hitman fans should have lots to look forward to when the latest entry sneaks in on November 13 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.