More triple-A games should consider adopting an episode release model if they wish to capture a wider audience, the chief of IO Interactive has argued.
Hans Seifert, studio head at the Hitman developer, said that breaking up a title into periodic chunks of content in addition to a traditional full release provides developers with a more appealing offering for a gearter variety of players.
"[That’s] something I’ve personally wanted to solve for a very long time: how we make a triple-A [game] accessible to people that cannot spend $60 on day one, as well as for those people that don’t want to spend $60 on day one,” Seifert told Ars Technica.
“The promise remains that if you spend $60 you will get absolutely everything. We will not have micro-transactions and we will not have additional DLC. The whole of season one is a $60 offering, but there are different ways to buy that."
Hitman’s first pack, which includes the title’s prologue missions as well as levels set in Paris, launches on March 11th for $15. Subsequent environments based in Italy, Morocco, Thailand, America and Japan will be released monthly priced at $10 each. Players can also opt to buy the Full Experience bundle – comprising everything – for $60, or bolt on the Upgrade Pack – featuring all of the additional levels – to the initial $15 offering for a further $50.
“I know we are breaking new ground here and it’s the first time that a triple-A game of this magnitude has decided to do something like this,” observed Seifert.
"I sincerely think that it would be good for many games to do something similar, and many will follow in future. But I’m also convinced that it’s not for every game; you need to have a game that makes sense within this kind of approach. If you’ve got something that is extremely story-driven and very linear then this isn’t a model that you would consider, maybe. If you have something more interesting in terms of being able to be played as a toy, and is very replayable and perhaps mission-based, then it could work, and I think there are quite a few games out there that I could see fitting it really well."
Seifert also responded to the negative reaction some players have had to Hitman’s new pricing structure.
"When you do something new and groundbreaking then it’s normal that people will scrutinise us, and I think that’s only fair,” he stated.
“After so many years people have certain expectations. We do try to fulfil those expectations, but we also know that we have to do something to move us into the future. Releasing Hitman in this way opens us up to so many more opportunities then we’ve had in the past. Those opportunities apply to the players and us as developers."