The PC launch of Hitman 3 will be a sneaky one, Io Interactive have announced, initially sneaking onto the Epic Games Store as one of those there timed exclusives. It'll be a one-year scloosie, their PR peeps tell us, after which I imagine we'll see it on Steam and such. Enough about stores: Io also revealed another of the game's settings, England's moody Dartmoor, where Ian Hitman will visit Thornbridge Manor. Murder most horrid has been committed, and the only person who can solve the mystery is... a professional murderer?
After the gilt of the first location revealed, Dubai, Ian is coming back down to murk and mire with a trip to Dartmoor - though Thornbridge Manor is fancier than any part of Devon I've known. It is a missed opportunity to reprise Hitman: Blood Money's Mardi Gras level down Union Street in Plymouth during Freshers' Week. Still, I love a good murder mystery, and perhaps I'll be even able to engineer a situation whereby my target is kicked to death by a wee Dartmoor pony.
The trilogy has been building into one big 'World Of Assassination' with locations, unlocks, and murders from one game transferring to others you buy, and it does seem that will carry over between stores. Io say, "we're happy to have mastery and location carryover from their existing progress into Hitman 3 on Epic Games Store." Still a bit of a bummer if you've been playing along the trilogy on Steam and don't want to hop on Epic, for whatever reason.
"Self-publishing Hitman 3 is a big step for IO Interactive in achieving our highly ambitious goals as an independent studio," Io CEO Hakan Abrak said in today's announcement. "Furthermore, this partnership with Epic has given us the freedom to create the game exactly as we imagined, for our fans and for our community uncompromised."
As is well-established, the guaranteed money Epic offer with their exclusivity deals can give studios vital stability. I certainly don't begrudge Io wanting that. When the new Hitman trilogy started, Io Interactive were owned by Square Enix. Since then, Squeenix tried to dump them, which led to layoffs, then Io bought themselves, they teamed up with Warner Bros. to get Hitman 2 published, and now finally they're self-publishing the third game. No one else has a say anymore.
On one hand, Io are now in charge of their own fate. On the other, oh god they're in charge of their own fate, oh god, what now. Well, now comes a security blanket woven from dollar bills by Uncle Jazz Jackrabbit.
Hitman 3 is coming to the Epic Games Store in January 2021, as well as Xboxes, PlayStations, and Stadia. Ahead of the launch, Io plan to shut down servers for Hitman 2's Ghost Mode, a PvP mode which will not be returning in the third game. They will remove co-op from Hitman 2's Sniper Assassin mode as some point too.
Io also announced today that Hitman will next free to keep next week on Epic, available from Thursday the 27th through September 3rd.