IO-Nara: Squenix Montreal To Make Next Hitman

By Adam Smith on November 22nd, 2012 at 4:00 pm.

With Hitman’s latest subtitle so recently creeping into public view, IO are already talking about 47’s future. Speaking to OPM, Absolution’s director Tore Blystad confirmed that the next title in the franchise will be developed at Square Enix Montreal rather than remaining in-house. Blystad reckons development will follow a similar pattern to work on the Call of Duty games, so presumably we can expect development duties to alternate between Squenix and IO as they do between Treyarch and Infinity Ward. It almost certainly means we’ll be seeing the wigless wonder more frequently in the next few years. Three weeks ago I would have said that was a good thing. If you’ve played Absolution, perhaps you’d care to compare your thoughts with mine?

Here’s Blystad:

“We’ve been talking about these similarities to some of the big movie franchise like Aliens, where everyone’s doing it their own way. Every time someone gets their hands on a franchise they do something different. So rather than doing the same thing again you get another take on the character from a fresh perspective”

I’m not quite sure what to think about this. To me, Absolution felt like a reboot with too much attention on a future franchise and not enough appreciation of its own past, so the idea of shared development duties rings the ‘churn’ alarm rather than bringing about the aroma of variety, that fine old spice. I wouldn’t argue with a change of direction though and maybe Squenix will have some fresh ideas with a little more conviction and a little less (ahem) Conviction.

The team in Montreal won’t be complete novices to the faulty-follicled franchise – “some of the key developers came from IO and have been working on previous games”. As for IO, some of the staff have already move onto a new project. Could it be a sequel to Freedom Fighters, I wonder, and then immediately wonder anew if I actually want it to be anymore.

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53 Comments »

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  1. skyturnedred says:

    Freedom Fighters 2 could be awesome. Let’s hope for the best.

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      Okami says:

      You realize that it wouldn’t be a sequel, but a reboot. With more streamlined action. And a mature story.

      • skyturnedred says:

        That’s why I said “could” instead of “would.”

        • RoAE says:

          Wasn’t that what Kane and Lynch was essentially….

          • hazelprice6 says:

            uptil I looked at the paycheck which had said $7126, I didn’t believe that…my… father in law woz like truley bringing home money part-time at their computer.. there aunts neighbour started doing this 4 only six months and just cleard the mortgage on there house and purchased a gorgeous BMW M3. this is where I went,... http://youtube.qr.net/jNM0/watch?v=X22QHxrwp_E

    • jonnycardboard says:

      EA owns Freedom Fighters. It won’t be that.

  2. Optimaximal says:

    Given the lashback against Absolution, can anyone honestly say they’re surprised?

    • Ginga121 says:

      I can’t say anything except Absolution is shit! Well maybe not shit, but pretty bad. It has it’s moments where it is genuinely fun, but they aren’t long moments… and they don’t happen very often. Definitely playing Blood Money again after Absolution just to restore my faith in Hitman

      • Jnx says:

        Nah. While most of the criticism is valid, it’s been too harsh. I completed Blood Money a couple of days before Absolution came out. Playing Absolution I still felt like I played a Hitman game. A bit different here and there, and not as good, but still good. Rating it as it’s own game and not a sequel, I’d put it in the 80-90 range.

  3. Yosharian says:

    Brutal as ever, RPS. Never change.

  4. bhlaab says:

    Wait… isn’t that the Deus Ex:HR people?

    • brkl says:

      That’s Eidos Montreal. This looks like a new studio.

    • MrFancyPants says:

      While they’re in the same city and owned by the same parent company, I *think* it’s two different studios. Which is unfortunate, because Eidos Montreal did a great job with Deus Ex.

      • Trithne says:

        The bits that were made in-house, at least.

        • skyturnedred says:

          I’m still stuck on the second boss, about six months now. God I suck at gaming.

          • Koozer says:

            Hey, don’t feel bad. The only reason I took month-long breaks between DX sessions were the bloody stupid boss fights. Get yourself the Typhoon and a few energy bars and they’re trivially easy.

          • nblake42 says:

            Drop the difficulty, then raise it back up after! I had to do that for the first and third boss fight. Ironically, the second was the only one I managed to defeat ‘legitimately’.

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            Naum says:

            There’s a mod that unlocks a complete cheat menu for the game, including invincibility and such. I think this was the first time ever for me to cheat in any game, but I can’t say I feel any bad for it. Those bosses are so unbelievably terrible that as far as I’m concerned they don’t belong to the game. Also, just standing there with a revolver and shooting those guys in the head is incredibly satisfying.

      • Zeewolf says:

        Well, I’d rather have Eidos Montreal working on Thief 4 TBH.

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        FriendlyFire says:

        Well, I’m at least somewhat curious by what they’ll make of it. Sometimes, you need someone from the outside looking in to see what made a franchise great. Who knows, maybe they’ll look more at the series’ past and try to emulate it?

        One can always hope anyways…

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        If by ‘great job’ you mean they made a piece of adolescent rubbish inferior to the original in every way, yes.

  5. Spider Jerusalem says:

    couldn’t stomach absolution, so i really don’t care.

    blood money 4 lyfe.

  6. WoundedBum says:

    Despite Absolution’s problems, I feel it’d be so much better if the disguises weren’t so weak. Contracts mode has real, real potential and with a few tweaks I do think the game can right itself and be a proper Hitman game.

    • woodsey says:

      It’d be bearable if disguises weren’t such a waste of time. It still wouldn’t be a particularly good anything – Hitman or just game in general.

    • Renegade says:

      The fact that disguises no longer work as they used to completely broke the game for me. It went from hiding in plain sight gameplay to generic action stealth game #47

      • Hahaha says:

        Strange how people are saying they do work how they used to work isn’t it.

        still finding the following quite amusing as well

        “This sessler guy says “The huge, sandbox levels have never felt more huge or more sandbox-ey.” and “The game is surprisingly well-written, too.”

        That’s not coming at the game from a different perspective – that’s a flat contradiction to what Adam’s written here. The two reviews can’t both be correct.” – JackShandy

  7. woodsey says:

    I’m most of the way through Absolution and it is atrocious. So yes, anything to get it away from the lazy, unimaginative bunch that pulled this out of their arse.

  8. Hatsworth says:

    Pretty sure this is old news.

  9. Paul says:

    This is old news. Considering how shitty Absolution is compared to Blood Money, we can only hope Squenix will go back to its bloody roots. In any case it is a good thing IO is not making the next one.

    Of course, I am sure Squenix will shatter my hopes soon enough. Expecting mutliplayer reveal, visceral immersive new QTEs and refined cover systems, and linearity up the wazooo.

  10. QualityJeverage says:

    Blood Money’s one of my favourite games ever. I’m most of the way through Absolution and…I love it.

    No, it’s not Blood Money. I’m still having a great time with it, Contracts mode is fabulous, I’m very happy with the game. Disguises need to be stronger. Other than that, I’m quite pleased.

    • QualityJeverage says:

      Oh and the nuns. No more nuns please.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Yes, assassin stripper in playboy mansion is great, nuns are bad.

        • QualityJeverage says:

          I know you’re trying to be snarky, but yeah, that is kind of how I feel. For whatever reason, I didn’t mind the silliness in Blood Money. In Absolution, it feels stupid and out-of-place. That’s just me.

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          Vandelay says:

          Well, they didn’t try to explain that with a domestic abuse backstory!

          But Hitman has always had a bit of strange relationship with sex and fetishes. It has never been the series’ strong point.

        • woodsey says:

          A stripper outfit is hardly the worst disguise for an assassin in a Playboy-esque mansion. Latex gimp-suits when trying to kill someone in a shitty looking motel? Not so much.

          • sidhellfire says:

            Yeah, if you can blend it is all fine, but sexy nuns – they will never blend.

    • Sentient Waffle says:

      I agree, and it really has potiential to turn into a great Hitman game if they rework disguises. That’s the only thing bugging me about it, they’re pretty useless. Also, I don’t mind the nuns, I think they kinda fit the game, with it’s creepy perverted killers, sheriffs, and everything in between. Grindhousey.

  11. HadToLogin says:

    And I, on the other hand, are having lots of fun with new Hitman. It’s terrible Hitman, with all those sneak to next door, but I’m having a lots of fun with this game.

    • Sentient Waffle says:

      Yeah, agree, it’s a great game, but not a great Hitman game, changing the way disguises work was kinda stupid in my opinion, it’s no longer “hiding in plain sight” it’s just “hiding”. Great game nonetheless.

      I don’t like these news though, churning out an installment each year never seem to do any good.

  12. MichaelPalin says:

    This article was oddly mild in its criticism. I would have titled it as “Squenix to exploit the Hitman brand to exhaustion” and then increase the criticism from there on.

  13. S Jay says:

    Final Hitman Fantasy

  14. Ava says:

    Why are people nagging about the costumes? I mean… It’s unreal if 47 would knock out a cop, put on his outfit and just expect that the collegues of the cop you just knocked out would just go like “Meh, he must be new. Let’s not pay any attention to that.” True, it would be fun if you could talk your way out of it, but then 47 will be in focus to much. Perhaps it would be less frustrating if you could just hold some button and walk like Altair and no one would ever pay any attention to you.

    Just be glad you don’t have to look for someone that has the same hight as 47 before you can take a disguise. And, I seem to remember that if you wear some disguise in Blood Money and stand around another person that wears that disguis long enough, the NPC will be come suspicious as well. Or was that in Contracts?

    • malkav11 says:

      The only other Hitman game I’ve played was 2, and in that one getting too close to -anyone- gave the disguise away. You also had to watch out because if the body of the person who was previously wearing those clothes was found (or woke up, since I was trying for Silent Assassin and chloroform was my main way of procuring disguises), they’d immediately be alerted to the possibility that you were using that disguise. Find the right disguises in Absolution and you can stroll casually through a room full of NPCs without anyone getting suspicious. They do notice, potentially (e.g. if you dress as the cook in the prologue, the head of security will complain that the chef hired an assistant without checking with him first and tell you you’ll need to see him after your shift), but they don’t get alerted.

      So to me, that seems like disguises were -upgraded-. But I admittedly haven’t played Contracts or Blood Money, so maybe I’m wrong.

  15. Irate Earwig says:

    The main thing for me is the terrible level design. The reason I loved Blood Money was that you were dropped into an open level, and allowed to explore different opportunities. There are only a few examples of this in Absolution, with most levels being linear and unimaginative. They destroyed 47 as a character. All of a sudden this sociopath gives a shit about Diana? 47’s strength was that he was a completely unapologetic sociopath. Absolution doesn’t know what it wants to be, and as a result, it alienates nearly all of the demographics it tries to entice. None more so than hardcore Hitman fans. This is the year of the trashed franchise, at least Far Cry 3 looks good!

    • DarkArk says:

      47’s not a total sociopath. I don’t know where you get that idea. Because of the fact that he views his contracts as just business? If he would care about anyone it would be Diana, the person who saved his life at the end of Blood Money, and the only continuous contact he’s had with a person.

      On the whole I like Absolution, though the level design and disguises could use some work.

  16. Metalhead9806 says:

    I played it, its amazing.
    Playing through Purist mode now… it’s brutal.

    RPS got it wrong this time. Right now its Dishonored, Hitman and Far Cry 3 for my too close to call goty votes.

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      MajorManiac says:

      Out of interest, have you played previous Hitman games? Just wondering if you brought any particular expectations to Absolution.

      If you did, how does it compare?

  17. Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

    The big problem with hitman was the fact that while in previous games the story didn’t take a main part, and was just there to continue the game in a good manner. Now the story aspect is the main driving part. Not cool the idea of being a cool assassin.

    The story should compliment the gameplay, not the other way around-

    • malkav11 says:

      I disagree. I think either approach works as long as story and gameplay are harmonious – but I think the problem I’m finding with Absolution (which so far I mostly enjoy very much) is that the story conflicts with the gameplay. Things that you should be doing in game are instead prerendered cutscenes. Outcomes are forced by the narrative when they wouldn’t play out that way at all in gameplay. And at the point I’ve just reached, you’re forced into a prolonged escape sequence that plays to none of the gameplay’s strengths. I have been willing to put up with this stuff because the game is gorgeous and very atmospheric even in the escape sequence, but it needs more King of Chinatown and less Run For Your Life.