Agent 47 is still going freelance, but not this year. IO Interactive have pushed Hitman 3’s planned free Freelancer mode back again, this time to January 26th. The delay was announced along with the reveal of a closed technical test for Freelancer starting early next month. And here I was, thinking that Ian Hitman never missed a target.
Although IO say Freelancer mode is “almost ready”, they’re looking to trial it before a wider release. That’s where the closed technical tests come in. The devs will selectively contact a small batch of players on Steam to invite them to try out Freelancer ahead of launch. That almost sounds like something that’d happen to an actual hitman. The closed technical tests will let IO check how much Freelancer stresses the servers, and balance the mode's economy and XP. Part of the reason for the delay is also a change in scope – IO are now including most of the World Of Assassination trilogy’s locations from launch.
IO revealed the roguelike Freelancer mode back at the start of what they’re calling Hitman 3 – Year 2 in January, which feels about a million years ago. It was originally set for spring, but May saw the new mode shuffled back to the second half of the year. When Freelancer does arrive, you’ll be able to set Agent 47 up in his own swish, explorable and customisable safehouse. You can then set off on randomised missions to take down an organisation and its equally randomised leader, just like James Bond going after Spectre and Blofeld. Hang on...
Brendy (RPS in peace) had some fun bumping off targets for his Hitman 3 review, but didn’t rate the final mission much. “It fulfils its function as a swish-looking finale,” he said, “but in terms of everything Hitmanists love about the games (the poking around, the sprawl, the thread-following) this ultimate on-rails mission is the weakest moment of the whole trilogy.” At least with a roguelike mode you can keep assassinating at your leisure, I guess?
Hitman 3 is on Steam and the Epic Games Store for £50/$60/€60, and is included in PC Game Pass. The game's Freelancer mode is now aiming for January 26th, 2023. You can read the full details of IO’s plans up to its launch here.