Another excellent podcast interview with Hitman III's executive producer, Forest Swartout Large

You also have to consider that IOI were constrained in making sure that their game was compatible for 2016 technologies in 2021, which included Nintendo Switch Cloud, older generation consoles and older PCs.

I am certain that IOI would love to start at the beginning and re-write some of the code that can’t easily be fixed because the legacy code made in 2013-2015 is built into the foundation of the Hitman platform, and you can’t just go in and change something without it then causing other aspects to bug out completely.

You have to remember that more than half the team were laid off, so many who wrote the legacy code for Hitman2016 are no longer at IOI. I don’t think that there is anybody now at IOI who worked on Hitman Silent Assassin 20 yrs ago, who are still at the company.

They probably went ahead with certain changes / fixes they regret because of pressure from Square Enix or budgetary consideration back when they were tight on cash and time to make Hitman.

Constraints in Hitman III also include complications in game progression carryover included more than two dozen different platform variants from those who bought Hitman piecemeal from the Hitman2016 episode by episode, to those who bought a full edition, in the various different forms (Gold, Deluxe, Definitive Exclusive, Commemorative, Game of the Century Edition, whatever they were) for marketing Hitman from 2016 to 2021.

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Yes, Hitman VR probably only got the go ahead because Sony was helping to pay for it.

It was not out of expected profits to choose PlayStation VR, as the exclusive headset for VR. If IOI was wanting to make money, they wouldn’t have marketed VR on the most outdated VR platform.

There is no indication that IOI are investing in Hitman VR for PC.

It was a pilot project that the team wanted to pursue to completion. And now they have the capabilities of VR in their toolkit for a future release that is maybe not Hitman.

I’m not complaining about the closed gameplay loop, like I said I expected it would be the case. Even without the all the studio problems I doubt there would of been major differences and felt more like a planned part of the trilogy.

Just by the end it did feel like even the devs wanted to try few new things but couldn’t break open the gameplay loop in any major way so some more scripted areas felt restrained which would be perhaps something of a learning point.

I do quite enjoy the close linked trilogy idea as it does have the benefits of no lesser game or struggle going back to previous game due to lack of QoL features (I.E trying to replay Mass Effect 1 after 2 is always a chore). But it doesn’t hurt to see some of the cons of this practise either.

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IOI’s Hitman and Bioware’s Anthem development were opposites.

Bioware wanted the ultimate multiplayer IP, codenamed “Dylan” as in Bob Dylan, and wanted it to be everything, and it turned out to be nothing – but what Bioware could crunch in 12 months after starting the project in 2012. No focus, no direction, just a bunch of failed prototypes and kind of half baked ideas put together after 7 years of slog.

You can’t criticize IOI for crystalizing their formula, sticking with iterating and polishing their core Hitman gameplay loop in the same 7 year period. “Just more Hitman” was way better reviewed than “what the hell were you doing for seven years Bioware?”

I wasnt even critising IO. Nor did I compare Hitman to Anthem. I was comparing Hitman to the Mass Effect trilogy in a positve light about having consistent QoL featured trilogy…

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I’ve been saying since before Hitman 3 was released that it wouldn’t have any ground-breaking new mechanics, phone not withstanding. The point of the trilogy was that it was really one game released over 4-5 years. Hitman 3 had to be completely compatible with everything in both Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2. That, by definition, constrained them on what they could add to the game and what could be removed.

We tend to think of trilogies as three separate games with a common thread that runs through them, plot-wise, but the World of Assassination isn’t three separate games at all. It’s one game sold in three installments more than anything. In a game like Mass Effect, the second and third games in the trilogy had to continue the plot from the 1st game and probably needed to have some basically similar elements, but there didn’t really have to be any similarities between the three in how they played, control schemes, morality systems, etc. They were three games that stood on their own and anything that happened in ME 3 didn’t need to have anything really to do with what happened in ME 1, game-play wise.

Hitman though did have to carry a consistent continuity between all three games. Not just in plot but in the way that the game played at its core level. Because IOI made all of Hitman 1 playable in Hitman 2, and then made all of Hitman 1 and 2 playable in Hitman 3, they forced themselves to release the same game three times. To do otherwise would have meant developing the entirety of Hitman 1 three times and the entirety of Hitman 2 twice.

I applaud IOI for putting out the product that they did, especially given the constraints put on them by COVID and the lack of developers. Hitman 3 (and 2) are somewhat unique in the gaming space because they exist as extensions of their predecessor games rather than as distinct games themselves. I don’t know any other franchises that released games like that (I’d have to go all the way back to Might and Magic 4 & 5 {Clouds and Darkside of Xeen} to come up with an example I think).

Expect innovation and new game play from whatever the next Hitman game brings but I never expected dramatically new elements in Hitman 3. I think this interview really highlights how well IOI really did despite the limitations they had to work through.


While Mass Effect and Hitman trilogies do have some differences namely Hitman was planned to be done by one launcher. Hitman would still been marked with Season 1,2 and 3. Hence easy to still compare as a trilogy. Mass Effect trilogy was still released in a similar timeframe with I believe an extra year’s difference plus given the whole choices role over each game they are meant to be played together.

This is why I thought it was a good comparison to Hitman starting with a strong game system where none of the games feel like a weak link , they all feel quite consistent and knew how to use this formula where ME did not. But again by Hitman 3 it does feel like the devs wanted to be bit more adventurous then what their system could allow (namely Berlin, Which is a Level I do really enjoy)

Which I can imagine will see new ideas and innovation in the 007 and future Hitman games. I would love them to keep to the trilogy of games for their story and gameplay while also reducing some of the drawbacks to these systems.

Your comparison with Mass Effect is apt.

Bioware has gone on to completely redo Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 for re-release, while Hitman2016 was updated and ported into Hitman2 and then Hitman2016-Hitman2 was ported into Hitman III. And as you say, the Hitman Trilogy isn’t really a trilogy at all. It is just a platform where different episodes of the game were uploaded over five years.

It is like those Russian dolls, where they are all designed to fit inside one another.

While not many liked purchasing the single missions as episodes in Hitman2016, the complete trilogy of three games and its expansions were just a bunch of single missions released in bunches together.

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IOI had Mette discuss her design of The Bank location and also Marta discussed Haven Island. Sidsel (with Eskil) at IOI discussed Hitman VR. They have had Sidsel and Mette associated with more than one video.

The original, avid video gamers were mostly young boys. You probably have/had to work five times harder, and be five times more talented than the average employee, pour coffee to a lot of men, and endure too much misogyny over the years, if you are a female named “Forest Swartout Large”, to rise as executive producer on a project in a video game company. Now IOI is Northern European and they advertise themselves in being diverse so it isn’t a comment on them.

One of the trailblazer in the industry.

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It appears that IOI spent a lot of time upgrading the guided tutorial missions, and putting a lot of effort in setting up the guided mission stories. Hitman III was also created with more accessible easy kill opportunities.

IOI knows that the majority of buyers of their game will be the casual player, who don’t play much more than the scripted and easy stuff, before falling off of Hitman.

While those that play a lot of Hitman would like more investment in feature contracts and other specialized content, it is not effort that would have much payoff, since most who buy Hitman would never play it. The core Hitman fans are vocal but they are a small minority of those that buy the product.

A few years ago if you told me we’d be having the whole “people want more linear content for casual players, it’s only the hardcore fans that want sandboxes and freedom” discussion this soon after Absolution I’d have thought you were crazy.

Edit: the post above was “flagged as inappropriate”. I didn’t change it and I’m not going to. If that’s an “inappropriate” post then the standards for discussion here are an absolute joke.

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What an incredible rollercoaster :open_mouth:

After seeing the huge mess that happened at game launch, despite being developed on a longer time period than the previous one, i felt genuinely worried for the next :grimacing:

It’s good to see that the game development in in people hands like Forest or Mattias, who are deeply involved and interested about the franchise. I hope they will be able to complete the game without anymore difficulties :+1:

I’ve gave my opinion about the matter on Hakan’s post: Interview with Hakan Abrak - How IO landed Project 007 deal, success of Hitman 3, reason and decision of opening a studio in Malmö, and more - #29 by PatteDeFruit