Three Problems With HITMAN™ 2 And Why They Degrade Player Experience

Yes, I know that players have to put in the effort to make mods. I just thought that with Hitman, the access to files necessary to make modding possible was restricted. I didn’t know that H2 code was accessible to players. Good to know!

It is not. I mean I think the packagedefinition.txt has some weak encryption but that really is the easiest part of modding.

The files we can currently mod themselves are not encrypted, not hidden, nothing. They just exist in the file format that IO’s tools use. Making them accessible to use (by making them just unpacked .png files for example) very likely makes the game’s performance worse. Which you can’t expect them to do just to make modding easier.

You by the way understood me wrong when I said “It is not that developers have to put effort into making modding impossible, it is the other way around.” - I meant that actually the developers have to put effort into making modding possible.

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Oh! Sorry! I didn’t realize that. :relaxed:
I really appreciate the explanation, by the way.

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To quote a certain Finnish speedrunner “Woo. Cosmetics…”

If anything, additional suits work well for unlocks, because then, in ghost mode you can display your accolades to opponents when you play. It’s a kinda neat way of showing off.

Admittedly, completing these ETs SA isn’t all that difficult, making the suits basically participation trophies, but they wouldn’t want to lock gameplay affecting gear behind these one time events, so the suits are the best alternatives.

Edit: Oh yeah, and the coins and briefcase have no benefits or drawbacks to being used, when compared to the ones you can already unlock. Why people complain about that stuff, instead of talking about core gameplay never ceases to amaze me.

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I said it before, and I will say it again, ET are self-contradictory in terms of its current design. It is a mode that is meant to encourage players to embrace improvisation and adaptation by throwing curveballs and unknown variables at them. And at the same time, the severely high stakes force players into a very conservative mindset.

I prefer loose improvisational style, but even I find myself constantly restarting ET and being very hesitant to actually commit. And I’m pretty sure that this is not how ETs are supposed to be played, but that’s how it is. Some people don’t even attempt ETs before watching a tutorial video that takes a big chunk of fun out of experience.

And the unfortunate thing is, ETs caused a lot of bad publicity for IO without drawing that many new players in. And to be honest, most of them aren’t even all that good, so most people that didn’t buy Hitman specifically because of the ET outrage didn’t miss much. But humans are naturally predisposed to loss aversion at any cost, and ETs in current form are mostly seen as opportunities for loss of value.

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  1. The primary reason for the always-online requirement of Hitman isn’t related to anti- piracy protection of their game.

IOI is a small company who decided to run Hitman as an online platform, and they pay a third party, in this case Microsoft, to run Hitman through the Azure platform. IOI choice of Microsoft Azure in running Hitman is outlined in the short 2 min video below:

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Sony and Ninendo are apparently partnered with Microsoft in using their Azure cloud computing / streaming services.

IOI was smart to jump into depending on the Azure cloud computing service from the launch of Hitman 2016, because the gaming console giants are now following in their footsteps.

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With all due respect, but it does seem a bit backwards. It really feels more like IO wanted to create an always online platform first, and came up with features that could benefit from it after the fact. I would say that it took them considerable amount of time to get to the point where the amount of content provided could justify the platform. And even then, the crown jewel of this online infrastructure – elusive targets – has been missing for a few months now. The legacy ETs we’ve been playing might as well been on H2 disc.

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Outside of its “one-shot” gameplay mechanics, Elusive Targets have a very specific purpose from a business perspective: entice players to keep the game installed and keep playing. And of course, you’ll need a reward, which are in the form of the ET suits.

The obvious side effects are two-fold: early adopters are rewarded, and those who later pick up the game later (due to a sale or whatever), miss out on this aspect of the game. Of course, the pain of the latter is felt more by those with OCD and/or completionist tendencies.

Who knows, maybe one day when IOI stops releasing new content for Hitman 2, they’ll put the ET schedule on a permanent loop? One can hope, right?

At the end of the day, I’m just glad IOI hasn’t resorted to microtransactions to keep the series profitable. This is something they don’t get enough credit for, IMO.

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DarkReaper076: IronScaler already explained in why cosmetics matter, so I won’t repeat it. Now, you’re right saying the cool thing about them is you can show off in things like Ghost Mode. Then if we apply solutions such as making the ET rewards only available when played live, but letting the contracts and challenges playable once the ET was killed once (or simply at the end of a season), the cosmetics are still exclusive. For that matter, this solution—yet better—isn’t ideal; I’d rather unlock all ETs with a cooldown system at the end of a season, all exclusive unlocks included. The bragging rights part come from the fact that playing live is a way to earn those rewards moths (if not years) before they’re made globally available. They did it at the time of Assassin’s Creed Unity and I found it really nice.

Qwaqa: Clearly, many don’t play ETs the way they’re argued as such a great thing. Practice differs from paper a lot. Many indeed end up playing safely with YT tutorials. Being a completionist myself, I used to watch a tutorial for every ET because I couldn’t stand missing any. And therefore, I wasn’t experiencing the real thing. Now I play them by myself (I almost didn’t know any in H2016, so they’re new to me)… but that’s only because I already unlocked all they could give me (until we get back to H2 ETs). So I’m playing for fun and not even taking them seriously. Though, I missed The Deceivers’ SA rating stupidly, and I’m feeling quite horrible about this one challenge that’ll be permanently locked. None of them are really often played in the serious mood of a real assassination contract they try to sell us.

I think your message is a good summary of the reason for ETs and their effect. I do hope, as well, that they’ll do a permanent loop, but as they didn’t do it for HITMAN, I’m a bit skeptical. As you said, one can hope.

Same as you, I do appreciate IOI not falling into the greed trap. It seems that there are less and less AAA games that have an honest business model.

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This reflects my thoughts exactly. And always-online platform isn’t necessary for developers to incorporate time-limited events. Those events are just an excuse for having the platform always-online.

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David_Spafford: This man speaking in the video is technically right saying the ETs system was only possible because of the way they built the game. While that’s correct, because an online platform can keep things… well, online, there’s still a big problem. I get Elusive Targets were meant to be elusive targets, no one needs to repeat that to me—I’ve heard it enough. And yet, they seemingly completely misunderstood what they’re talking about.

Because the problem there is is that Hitman isn’t really the first game to propose time-limited content. But in all those games, it wasn’t the same. If a player is like me, a completionist, and tries to play ETs the intended way, and all that, there can always be some missed ones here and there. For instance, in H2, there’s one legacy ET that I didn’t get the Silent Assassin rating of. It can be really frustrating to have missed just these few things, separating you from some real 100% completion. And in pretty much every game with elusive content, you can always find a way around it: it could involve some save editing, some using of cheat engine, some glitches… If you just happened to miss a few targets for stupid reasons or you just couldn’t play them, many wouldn’t stand these forever-locked challenges. And I simply don’t get why it’s only in Hitman that they decided to make it impossible to use such tricks by saving your data in some place where you can’t do anything.

I might sound very silly with this point, but I really mean that. If someone has a valid explanation, please tell me.

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Well said.

What you say is true. I can really relate to your sentiment. In fact, I watched YouTube tutorials for my first 5 Elusive Targets, in order to get the Silent Assassin rewards, as the stakes were so high, I didn’t want to risk failing the mission or not getting SA.

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Regarding microtransactions, they irk me so much that I’d rather go without any game rather than play a version where I’m repeatedly paying real money in a simulation.

That’s the way to go into debt big time.

I suspect a lot of people feel the same. There have been a few publicised cases of overspending on microtransactions, and if IO took it on, they’d have a very niche audience.

Even with GTA Online you only pay an annual subscription.

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Which they already have. On the same topic, people have previously thanked IO for not putting microtransactions. I’d like to say… THANKFULLY it’s not the case. We’re speaking about a solo game! We’re not going Ubisoft, are we?

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When no microtransactions in a full-priced AAA game should be a standard.

And yet, people in the HMF have still suggested IOI add the option to re-do Elusive Targets as a microtransaction.

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Hitman reboot in 2016 was conceived in the “games-as-a-service” model. IOI were ahead of its time in jumping on the cloud computing service, using the Microsoft Azure platform for this purpose. Now many AAA single-player games in 2019, are games as a service with lots of DLC content and regular updates.

It has saved IOI time and money, in being able to rapidly upload updates, monitor and download player actions in real time, and they can’t afford the manpower to maintain and fix issues with the cloud computing environment. If there are issues with logging in and use of the server, it is Microsoft’s fault who are paid to look after it.

There are more legacy elusive targets than new ones, so it appears that elusive targets are considered less important for IOI in Hitman 2. Paying for the cloud computing service made execution of the elusive targets easier, but wasn’t the primary reason for using the Microsoft cloud computing service.

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I honestly can’t think of any other AAA single-player game as a service. Pretty much all service games have multiplayer as a core component, so complaints about always online stuff are kind of redundant. Those games require online connectivity just to get the core experience. But Hitman’s core experience does not require online. For the most part, online component provides some additional elements that are not essential. And then there are some parts that could’ve been handled locally, like progression.

I think Super Bunnyhop said it best, “2016 Hitman is the first always online single-player game that is actually good enough to get away with it”.

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