2016's Hitman is launching in two parts, according to an article detailing the release on their website. The game's release date was recently pushed back to March 2016, and now we know that the March release will actually be an introductory package, for a reduced price of $34.99.
In other words, it appears Hitman is launching in Early Access.
On March 11th, IO Interactive is releasing what they're calling the "Initial Launch Content." This will include three locations: Paris, Sapienza and Marrakesh, with six campaign missions (it's unclear if this means six missions per location or six missions total, but I think it's safe to assume it means six total). It's also launching with Contracts mode, the mode that allows players to create and share their own contracts with other players.
Each month following March, another location will be released. In April, we get Thailand, in May, the United States, and in June, Japan. Additionally, more signature kills, weapons, disguises and the like will be added with each update, as well as expanding on the Contracts mode.
If you pre-order the game for $59.99, you'll have access to the launch content, as well of the rest of the content as it's released. If you only buy the introduction pack for $34.99, you'll have to buy the rest of the content for $29.99 when it's released.
This seems really strange. I don't think I'm alone in thinking it sounds like the game that launches will be nothing short of incomplete. Especially when you factor in that the game's release date was just recently pushed back 3 months, which was in order to have "more content ready for launch," it makes you wonder just how much content there will be at launch. It appears to mean that the game is actually launching in June, as that's when all the content will have been released.
Is this a strategy to secure pre-orders? Or is it a genuine attempt to have an expanding game? Let us know what you think.