IO Interactive revealed its Year 2 plans for Hitman 3, which also came with the news that the entire Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy would be coming to Xbox Game Pass. The studio also revealed that Hitman VR support, which works for all three Hitman games, will come to PC.
Year 2 of Hitman 3 starts this month with the Elusive Target Arcade, which goes live on January 20. This is a new game mode that takes the Elusive Target concept featured in this trilogy to “the next level” as it “mixes up the formula and introduces new challenges and unlockable rewards, all whilst keeping the essence of what makes Elusive Targets exciting and interesting to play.”
“Each Arcade Contract now tasks you with taking down consecutive Elusive Targets, one contract after the other,” IO’s blog post reads. “Each one must be completed to proceed to the next – and there are additional complications added to the contract as well. If you fail an Arcade Contract at any point, there will be a 12-hour lockout before you can retry the contract again from the start. This lockout enables us to keep the high-stakes gameplay that is a hallmark of Elusive Targets, whilst giving players a clear indication of when they are able to play a particular Elusive Target again.”
All Arcade Contracts added to Hitman 3 are permanent additions, too. When this new mode launches on January 20, it will begin with three contracts, each with Elusive Targets from one of the three Hitman World of Assassination games. More and more contracts will be added throughout the year.
The next big exciting announcement for Year 2 of Hitman 3 is that Hitman VR, which allows you to play the entire trilogy in VR, is coming to PC on January 20. Here’s a clip of what that looks like, courtesy of Hitman 3 Senior Game Designer Sekil Møhl.
— Eskil Møhl (@Eskil_IOI) December 17, 2021
On the PC side of things, Hitman 3 Year 2 brings some exciting new technology improvements to the game.
“One of the most notable enhancements to the game will be the option to enable ray tracing on PC later this year,” IO’s blog post reads. “With better reflections and better shadows, our locations are going to look better than ever. In addition to ray tracing, our ongoing partnership with Intel means that we will also be one of the first development studios in the world to implement Intel’s XeSS technology, which uses machine learning to deliver more performance with exceptional image quality.”
Finally, Variable Rate Shading will be added to PC versions of Hitman 3 this year. This inclusion boosts PC performance by “shading at different frequencies in different parts of the image, putting more power where it has the most impact.”
Also announced today, the entire Hitman World of Assassination Trilogy, which consists of IO’s Hitman, Hitman 2, and Hitman 3, will hit Xbox Game Pass on January 20. Speaking of trilogies, IO has nicely packaged the entire series into a new collection called Hitman Trilogy that will be available digitally on January 20 on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store and Steam. Hitman Trilogy is how players will play all three Hitman games on Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.
That’s not all, folks. IO has also announced Hitman Freelancer, a new single-player mode coming this spring.
“Freelancer is a brand new, single-player mode coming to Hitman 3 that introduces roguelike elements, strategic planning, and a customizable safehouse,” IO’s blog post reads.
This new safehouse is aptly titled Agent 47’s Safehouse. It’s unlike anything seen before in a Hitman game, IO says. It’s fully customizable, allowing you to choose exactly what type of hitman you want to be. Plus, as you progress through the Freelancer mode, more areas of the safehouse will be unlocked, granting you additional customization options.
You can check out new suits in the safehouse, try out guns on the firing range, change the decor, and more. You can also access the Mission Hub here, which is where you can view all available Freelancer campaigns, with each representing a different criminal enterprise from the World of Assassination.
“For each campaign, you need to choose the order you want to play the missions,” IO writes. “After each mission, you’ll return to the safehouse to restock, resupply, and strategically plan your next move. Whichever location you leave until last will be where you’ll corner the Leader of the enterprise. Blow their cover, eliminate them, and the campaign is complete. You get paid and return to your safehouse.”
Campaigns have been completely reworked for the new Freelancer mode, too, IO says. Locations will have new NPC types, which can either help or hinder your mission. For example, suppliers will offer a selection of weapons and items that you can pick up to help your mission, whereas other NPCs might alert Leaders of your presence once detected. Other new elements in these campaigns include additional safes, hidden stashes, and other NPC assassins.
However, your gear in Freelancer is not persistent, so don’t grow too attached to anything you pick up. Anything you don’t manually bring back with you to the safehouse will be lost. Consumables will also need to be restocked before each campaign, as the ICA is no longer present to help you in Freelancer.
“We’re excited about Freelancer giving players a persistent and infinitely replayable experience that is entirely their own; from customizing their safehouse to match their style or mood, configuring and strategically planning for campaigns through to picking a playstyle with all of their gear on the line.”
The last big announcement for Hitman 3 Year 2 is the reveal of Codename: Rocky, a new map. However, beyond a screenshot that you can view below, that’s all IO spoke about it. IO says more details about this new map will be shared later in Year 2.
And that’s everything you can expect in Year 2 of Hitman 3. For more, check out our thoughts on the game in Game Informer’s Hitman 3 review and then read about how the upcoming Hitman TV series will give Agent 47 hair. Check out this story about how IO Interactive is approaching creating its own James Bond game after that.
Are you excited for Year 2 of Hitman 3? Let us know in the comments below!