Let's Talk: Episodic Games - Hitman Part 1
Let's Talk is a mixed audio and written series about talking -- that much is clear. I talk about specific games, the impact a game can have on the community, about recent events, or how past events have shaped what is now. I ask you read this article first before listening to the video, but without further ado, Let's Talk about:
Episodic Games: Hitman 2016 - Part 1
Hitman 2016 has gone episodic, and I'm pleased about it. Hitman is one of those games that already feels episodic in the way it's structured. You are given a mission briefing, you start the mission, complete the mission however you want, and then get a debriefing. Every so often the debriefing will be followed by a cutscene, which is very similar to the end of a chapter.
Disagree if you dare. It's 'not' a spring powered BB gun without bullets.
Why does this work?
A TV series very often ends on a cliff hanger, you have the feeling there could have been more, and the questions you have will be answered in future episodes. The cutscenes in Hitman games do just that, they give some story, some connection between the hits. At the end of the cutscene you are simply given a new mission briefing and carry on as before.
The exception to this is with Hitman: Absolution, it opted for a much more Splinter Cell-like approach. Giving you story beats throughout, and giving meaning to what you are doing with narrative explanations. Absolution would have not work episodically -- but because of how Hitman 2016 is structured, it can (and I think will) work.
If the trailers and promotional material are to be believed, Hitman 2016 is far more like Hitman: Blood Money. Being arguably the best game in the series, it had the aforementioned structure: briefing, mission, debriefing with a narrative moment interjected every so often.
It's for this reason that I believe Hitman 2016 going episodic isn't the death of the series, but a fantastic way of giving fans a smaller amount of content, for the same price as a fully priced game if you buy into the whole thing from the outset. Drip-feeding that content for no further fee will allow gamers to take their time, and experiment with each hit.
What if the game isn't any good?
Only time will tell if the full game is mechanically good. As long as the game follows the Blood Money structure, not the Absolution one, I am not worried in the slightest about Hitman missing the episodic release schedule.
What do you think about Hitman 2016 going episodic? Is this the worst thing Square Enix could have done with the series? Or a gamble they have taken which can do some good? Let me know in the comments below.