A new map, a new roguelikelike mode, PC VR, and a new take on one of Hitman's more controversial elements are all coming in Hitman 3's Year 2, developers Io Interactive detailed today. They've just held a stream revealing plans for the second year of support and content, giving a look at the new Elusive Target Arcade mode (this time, the murders are permanent, not ephemeral) and announcing Freelancer mode. That will give Ian Hitman a safe house again, and send him out to take down organisations through chains of missions with randomised elements. Plus, the whole trilogy is coming to Game Pass. Lots of news.
Year Two starts on the 20th of January, one year to the day after it first launched. This means its Epic Games Store exclusivity is up, so Hitman 3 will come to Steam. That's not the only new platform. The whole trilogy will be available on Game Pass too, for both PC and Xbox. Newness starts on that day too, with Elusive Target Arcade mode.
The original Elusive Targets proved controversial. They were special assassinations which only gave players one chance and were only available for limited periods, when the content calendar said so. The very first Elusive Targets were only available for two days, though Io later extended appearances and re-ran old Targets. While the intent was to make them thrilling events, some players did not like missions being time-gated. So, in Elusive Target Arcade, all the murders are permanent. They're larger too, with a chain of several targets to hit. It will still have an element of time-based risk, mind; if you fail, you'll need to wait a wee while ("you'll have to wait for the next day," said live game director Kevin Goyon).
While that's a twist on something old, a new mode is coming later in the year: Freelancer. It'll see Ian Hitman taking down organisations by working his way up the chain with murdermissions, getting closer to the boss. It's inspired by roguelikelikes, with elements of randomisation and persistent progression. Ian can tackle missions in the order of his choice, with the one he chooses last always housing the organisation's leader. The leader's identity is random too, as is their dangerous backup. It has persistent items, which he can buy from vendors on maps and lose if he leaves them behind or dies. And all this starts out in a safe house, which you can explore and customise, as well as check out all your unlocked gear.
"When you get to the final mission, you don't know exactly who the leader is," explained principal designer Torbjørn Vinther Christensen. "You have some intel that will help you, but you still have to unravel who the actual leader is. So this feels very random when you play over and over again, that you can't really learn the missions, you have to think every time."
Freelancer is due to arrive in spring. Also coming later in Year Two is a new level, set... on a stormy tropical island? Io didn't name the map, didn't confirm its location, and didn't say exactly when it'll arrive, so there's a mystery for another time.
Tech-wise, across Year Two the devs plan to add VR support on PC (previously only on PlayStation) along with support for raytracing and Intel's new XeSS upscaling.
That's a decent amount of decent newness for a decent game. Our Hitman 3 review said: "As a final act, Hitman 3 is as capable and pleasing as its trilogy-siblings. As a trilogy, it is one of the most fun-loving games of the previous decade."