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Stadia's State Share in Hitman 3 is a game changer

Stadia's State Share in Hitman 3 is a game changer

Written by Eric Hauter on 1/19/2021 for STA  
More On: Stadia Hitman 3

Hitman 3 is an incredible game. I’ve never engaged with the franchise before, but with early access to the third game in the series and the other two entries sitting in my Stadia backlog, I think that I’ve found a new favorite franchise. I haven’t had enough time with Hitman 3 to write up a full review (spoiler: it’s freakin’ awesome), but I have been messing around with it enough to get familiar with Stadia’s new State Share functionality. I've gotta say, my mind is pretty much blown. State Share is a total game changer.

Players may be wondering what State Share is, how it works, and why it is such a big deal. I’ve got answers for all of the above, complete with a sample for Hitman fans to try out. In our current gaming culture, with so much focus on streamers—and to a lesser extent, online journalists like me—State Share could completely flip the script. Stadia has teased the feature since well before the platform went live, and players have been pondering the implications ever since. It turns out that State Share was worth the wait.

Agent 47 isn't above the occasional murder selfie.

It will be up to individual developers and publishers to implement State Share on their games – the feature isn’t automatically built in to every game on Stadia. But as Stadia continues on its upward trajectory, gaining popularity with each Cyberpunk-style triumph, I’d imagine that including State Share will become common practice. It’s too cool to skip, and Stadia fans will quickly come to expect State Share’s inclusion in major releases.

What is Stadia State Share?

In the simplest terms, think of State Share like an internet version of a PlayStation memory card. Remember back in the day when you would take a game over to a friend’s place to play? You would grab the disc, and snag your memory card from your system on the way out the door. That way, when you got to your friend’s place, you could pick up the game right where you left off without having to start over at the beginning. At the time, memory cards were some seriously cool tech, allowing for players to move about between systems and take their save states with them.

This guy ended up with a letter opener sticking out of the back of his head while he was vomiting in the bathroom. I don't play.

State Share works in much the same way – but instead of allowing players to take their save with them, State Share allows players to give their save to anyone. Everyone. All the people, everywhere. I could email my state to you. I could embed my state in an article (which I’m totally doing; read on!). I could text my state to your phone. Wherever you receive it, so long as you are on a Stadia-enable device, which is almost everything these days, and you own the game, when you click on the link you are taken into my save. It’s amazingly easy to use, and the implications are incredible.

Stadia State Share Could Be More Powerful Than We Think

Imagine watching your favorite streamer, who is much further into a game than you are. They have a bunch of gear that you haven’t unlocked yet, and they are heading into a level that you haven’t reached. They generate a State Share link and drop it in the video chat or comments. You click the link, and you are taken into your own copy of the game, on the same level as the streamer, with all the gear that you haven’t unlocked yet.

The implications of how State Share could (or should) be used are kind of mind boggling. Think of this functionality in terms of a game like Destiny 2. If one player has been grinding for some legendary piece of equipment, it is feasible that they could generate a link to share a copy of just that piece of gear with their friends. Or, if an MMO player wants to bring an under-powered friend on a raid, they could spin off a copy of a higher-level character to share with that friend. It all depends on how developers decide to use the feature. What is or is not allowed to be shared via State Share could possibly make or break the experience for players that are tempted to skip ahead. All old-school gamers know about how over-indulgence in cheat codes can ruin a game.

Who is at the top of the global leaderboards? ME, THAT'S WHO! I'm number one! I'm number one!

State Share opens up a lot of considerations for game makers; what they include and don’t include, what they are comfortable allowing players to share, and what ways that State Share could simply break a game. With great power comes great responsibility, and I’d imagine that a lot of developers are having some rather serious conversations about whether or not to include State Share in their upcoming Stadia releases, and how it could be implemented in ways that don’t ruin the experience of playing a game.

How Does Stadia State Share Work In Hitman 3?

All you have to do to generate a State Share in Hitman 3 is take a screenshot. Any screenshot or video saved from the game will have an attached State Share link with it. Just go to your Stadia screenshots, grab the link, and share it. It’s ridiculously easy and intuitive, and that ease of use makes it a snap for players to generate links on the fly. But what, exactly, are you sharing when you send or post a State Share link?

Each screenshot has an attached State Share. You can click a button to jump right in and play, or click the Share button to grab a link to send to others. Also - enjoy delicious Fountain View! 

The implementation of State Share in Hitman 3 is pretty incredible. As opposed to allowing players to skip to an exact point in a level (say, the moment before an important kill), the developers at IO Interactive found a happy medium. Players can share their settings and loadouts from the beginning of a stage; what other players choose to do with those settings is entirely up to them. This allows the receiving player to still have the experience of exploring and playing a level – albeit with a fun and unique setup that they might not have access to otherwise.

So, What Am I Sharing Today?

The Hitman series, for those not familiar, encourages players to replay levels extensively. Each stage that Agent 47 enters is enormous and dense, with tons of stuff going on in every nook and cranny. There is no way to see everything that happens in a stage in one playthrough – there is simply too much activity. By exploring and poking around, players slowly become aware of the multitude of ways to achieve their goals.

For example, the second level of Hitman 3 takes place at Dartmoor Manor, an old mansion in England. As Agent 47 arrives, a murder investigation is underway. A family is gathered for a funeral, and one of their number has been killed in the middle of the night. Agent 47 has two goals: kill the matriarch of the family that lives in the manor, and find a file she has hidden away. There are a billion and one ways to accomplish this goal.

The more you unlock, the wilder scenarios you can make for your friends.

On my first time through, I dallied around with the murder mystery until I discovered a hidden room. I hung out in there until I had access to the matriarch. I impaled her with a unicorn horn, which was wildly satisfying, but was then unable to find the file no matter how hard I looked. I eventually gave up. However, this run-through gave me enough knowledge about the mansion and its inhabitants that I was able to go back into the mission and solve the murder, convincing a character to hand me the file and then pushing the matriarch off a balcony. Then I calmly walked out the front door, got on my motorcycle, and rode the hell off.

There’s stuff going on all over the grounds that can change the way you approach this task. You can ignore they mystery altogether, choosing instead to focus on the family photo that is being prepared in the garden. Or you could plan to attend the fake funeral that will happen later on the Manor grounds. The point is, there are a number of ways to come at this assignment, and each time you finish, Hitman 3 offers you some goodies to change up the experience for your next run.

For beating the mission, unlocks allow me to start in the garden, already disguised as a gardener. This gives me access to parts of the grounds that I would not have from the standard starting position, making it possible to come at the mission from a different angle. Unlockables also allow you to change up your loadout and hide some additional gear around the level.

Starting as the gardener makes it pretty easy to get up close to this chump, if you so desire. Sorry, buddy. You're going to be spending the afternoon in a wardrobe.

So that’s what I’ve done. In the state I’m sharing, Agent 47 will start as a gardener. Instead of the usual Fiber Wire, I’ve chosen to equip you with a snow globe. Have fun knocking people out with that. An additional silenced ICA19 Shortballer will be hidden for you to discover in the greenhouse. I leave it to you to figure out how to get in there and get it.

After Hitman 3 releases on January 20, if you are a Stadia user and you own a copy of Hitman 3, click here to check out this scenario. You will be launched into Stadia, with a button to click to start the level with my settings. Have fun discovering whether the butler did it or not.

State Share Allows Players To Create Fun Scenarios For Each Other

The State Share implementation in Hitman 3 is a great way to roll out the feature. Instead of playing the game for other players and dropping them into a stage at crucial moments, State Share allows players to set up fun and interesting scenarios for each other, sharing gear that others might not have unlocked and allowing players to approach missions in ways that they would otherwise not be able to. Players can customize the experience for each other, creating fun challenges and weird gear combos. In a game as deliberate as Hitman, this allows for a lot of creativity in constructing a State Share, while still allowing the receiving player to experience the game for themselves.

Stadia State Share doesn't let you drop players into scenarios like this one. That would just be rude.

The implications of State Share technology will become more apparent as it is used in other games. The ways that State Share can change how players experience games could be truly profound. Indeed, the existence of this technology might result in some interesting fundamental changes in the ways that certain games are designed and structured. Building games while taking State Share into consideration will likely result in many interesting implementations – much more so than simply wedging the tech into existing titles.

It is only a matter of time before this sort of sharing tech becomes commonplace in gaming. But for now, Stadia fans have a corner on the State Share market. Of all the promised Stadia features, this is the one that is most likely to send ripples throughout the entire gaming industry. If it catches on, you can be certain that other platforms will attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Stadia State Share is quite literally a game changer.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

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About Author

Howdy.  My name is Eric Hauter, and I am a dad with a ton of kids.  During my non-existent spare time, I like to play a wide variety of games, including JRPGs, strategy and action games (with the occasional trip into the black hole of MMOs). I am intrigued by the prospect of cloud gaming, and am often found poking around the cloud various platforms looking for fun and interesting stories.  I was an early adopter of PSVR (I had one delivered on release day), and I’ve enjoyed trying out the variety of games that have released since day one. I've since added an Oculus Quest 2 to my headset collection.  I’m intrigued by the possibilities presented by VR multi-player, and I try almost every multi-player game that gets released.

My first system was a Commodore 64, and I’ve owned countless systems since then.  I was a manager at a toy store for the release of PS1, PS2, N64 and Dreamcast, so my nostalgia that era of gaming runs pretty deep.  Currently, I play on Stadia, PS5, PS4, PSVR, Quest 2, Switch, Luna, GeForce Now, and a super sweet gaming PC built by Joh Yan.  While I lean towards Sony products, I don’t have any brand loyalty, and am perfectly willing to play game on other systems.

When I’m not playing games or wrangling my gaggle of children, I enjoy watching horror movies and doing all the other geeky activities one might expect.

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