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Square Enix Ends Its Business With Hitman Developer IO Interactive

Posted on May 12, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix included a statement in its’ recent year-end financial report that the publisher will be seeking to end its’ business relationship with Hitman creators IO Interactive.

In their brief statement that accompanied their financial report Square says that they have made this decision to “maximize player satisfaction” and their “market potential”. Interestingly this decision took effect on March 31st of this year but now nearly two months later we are hearing about Square Enix to part ways with IO only now.

Here is part of their statement:

“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO INTERACTIVE A/S, a wholly‐owned subsidiary, and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017”

IO Interactive originated as an independent developer before being purchased by Eidos Interactive around the time of the release of Hitman: Blood Money in 2006.  Ownership of IO passed on to Square when they merged with Enix in 2009.

IO Interactive’s most recent title was a reimagining of their popular Hitman franchise as an episodic title that was released over the course of a number of months. Despite some pre-release worry about the episodic format not fitting with the franchise’s past, IO was able to capitalize on the core mechanics of the stealth series and combine it with an online-enabled achievements system to provide the player with an ever changing rewarding experience.  When I played the first episode after the game’s closed beta last year I found it to be quite enjoyable and eventually ended up purchasing the first three episodes of 2016’s Hitman.

In their statement, Square Enix reported that the end of the business relationship with IO Interactive and the cancellation of their existing projects resulted in SE reporting a 43.79 million $ USD loss. SE is currently seeking new investors for IO Interactive but as of press time, it is not known if IO or Square will retain the rights to the franchise. We also do not know what the end of this developer/publisher relationship means for the proposed Season 2 & Season 3 of Hitman.



PlayStation Network Flash Sale Brings Discounts On AAA Titles

Posted on April 14, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Sony has surprised fans with an Easter Weekend flash sale across all three platforms on the PlayStation Network. Several AAA tittles including multiple collections of remastered games are discounted up to 80%. If you missed out on playing the Uncharted Collection, the Prototype remasters or last years BioShock collection then you can snag them up while they’re all heavily discounted. If you are more of a portable fan there are far less deals that seem appealing, at least to me – the three exceptions being Crypt of the Necro-Dancer, Geometry Wars 3 and Shiren The Wanderer.

Over 100+ items have been discounted so I neglected to list them all in this post. Below are the deals that stood out to me but you can always wade through the multiple pages over on the PlayStation store.

Notable PS4 Games On Sale

  • Bioshock The Collection Remastered (Includes Bioshock: Infinite, Bioshock1 & Bioshock 2) – $39.99
  • Dead Rising Triple Pack (Includes DR 1, DR2 and DR2: Off the record) – $39.74
  • Resident Evil Triple Pack (Includes RE 4, 5 and 6) – $39.74
  • Dead Island Definitive Collection – $19.99
  • Prototype Bundle (Includes Prototype 1 and Prototype 2) – $19.99
  • Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – $8.74
  • Dishonored GOTY – $8.99
  • The Last of US Remastered – $11.99
  • Uncharted The Nathan Drake Collection (Includes Uncharted 1, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3)
  • Wolfienstein: The Old Blood – $7.49
  • Wolfienstein: The New Order – $8.09
  • Metro 2033: Redux – $6.99
  • Metro Last Light – $6.99

Notable PS3 Games On Sale

  • Hitman Trilogy – (Includes Hitman: Silent Assassin, Hitman Contracts and Hitman: Blood Money) $9.99
  • Dishonored GOTY Edition – $8.99
  • Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD & Freedom Cry Bundle – $9.99
  • Dead Island Definitive Edition – $5.99
  • Dead Island Riptide Complete – $4.99

Notable PlayStation Vita Games On Sale

  • Shiren The Wanderer: The Towers of Fortune and The Dice of Fate – $15.99
  • Crypt of the Necrodancer – $3.74
  • Geometry Wars 3 – $4.94


Beta Report: Hitman on PlayStation 4

Posted on February 14, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix’s closed beta for their upcoming next generation Hitman title went live over the weekend and I got the chance to play around with the game on PlayStation 4 over the last couple of nights. Fans are calling 2016’s version of Agent 47 a return to form combined with some worries that IO Interactive’s choice of episodic content for their latest game may leave them with little content to play between optional updates.  If the closed beta is any indication than even the $15 intro pack will provide hours of shenanigans.

At its core, Hitman is an assassination simulator where players are rewarded for executing inventive kills with little room for error. Unlike other stealth titles, like say Metal Gear Solid, 47 isn’t able to down a ration to gain back his health. One bullet from an enemy is enough to send good old baldy to the ground in a pool of his own blood. The method of eliminating a target is just as important as the deposal of the evidence. If a player chooses to lace a target’s drink with rat poison be prepared to suit up as their personal waiter because often the key to a successful hit is being able to blend in with your surroundings and knowing who to impersonate.


Hitman’s closed beta featured two prologue missions set during Agent 47’s initiation into the ICA. The first training mission has 47 boarding a mock cruise-liner, creatively constructed out of planks of wood, in order to eliminate his target. The open-world nature of the game becomes readily apparent – sure Agent 47 could run headlong onto the cruiser but surely the party guests would I was out of my element within seconds. During my multiple trials at this mission I found two different ways to gain access to the boat: Pose as a member of the maintenance crew and slip in undetected through the engine bay or pretend I was a part of the security detail and walk right up through the entrance ramp.

After some trial and error I had a rough chain of individuals that I would direct 47 to knock out, pose as and blend to get to my target. This, is of course, easier said than done because it can mean either waiting for the mechanic or cook that I needed to become to enter a place on the map that wasn’t surrounded with NPCs or creating a distraction to lure them away from whatever activity they were currently doing. To make the stealth element of assassination even more prominent there are a number of NPCs marked on your HUD that can detect Agent 47 even through a disguise. Not only do potential contract killers need to plan out their disguises ahead of time but also need to be able to navigate through a sea of NPCs that is ever changing all without arousing suspicion.

Throughout my four hours with the Hitman Beta I completed maybe 10% of the feats & challenges on offer. Once you’ve successfully completed a mission once you unlock the option to replay the same mission but with a list of pre-defined ways to kill your target. One might have you cause a short in a projector – thus frying your target, another might have you modifying an ejection seat so that it appears your target died in apparent aircraft malfunction. The sheer variety of toys and methods of mayhem did provide a level of replayability I wasn’t expecting from what is essentially just the opening tutorial to an episodic game that hasn’t been released. I also had the games’ music completely disappear on me once and the entire application lock up my PlayStation 4 in another  instance – clearly this was not final code that IO Interactive invited players to try. Hopefully, they’ll get some of these kinks ironed out before Agent 47 makes his first trip to Paris in the debut of Hitman on March 11th.

[youtube id=”3O1DnIyhA3I”]


Hitman Beta Details & New Trailer

Posted on February 8, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix has revealed more details about the upcoming beta for Hitman on PlayStation 4 and PC. The beta will contain the opening prologue mission that is included in all editions of Hitman and will allow players to experience just how Agent 47 joined the ICA.

Alongside the announcement of the beta’s content Square Enix also posted a Beta FAQ and a brand new trailer. The beta will be available on Feb 9th for PlayStation 4 pre-orders and February 12th for PC. 

Here is a brief synopsis that Square Enix released:

Play the beginning. The HITMAN Beta is set at a top secret recruitment and training facility and revolves around how Agent 47 joined the ICA.

Pre-order the game to guarantee access to the PS4 Beta on Feb 12th or PC Beta on Feb 19th. http://buy.hitman.com

Full Beta details are here: http://hitman.com/news/hitman-beta-faq

And here is the new trailer:

[youtube id=”3O1DnIyhA3I”]


Square Enix Reminds Us About The Hitman Beta With New Trailer

Posted on February 3, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Do you realize that Square Enix’s episodic version of Hitman is only about a month and a half out from release? To remind us all that not only is the full game coming out on March 11th for Xbox One, PC and PlayStation but those who pre-purchase the game can gain access to a limited beta version on February 12th on PS4 and February 19th on Windows PC. Sorry Xbox One owners it looks like you won’t be getting a beta version of Hitman.

Hitman (2016) serves as a prequel to the existing entries in the franchise. Like other versions of Hitman this game will allow players to approach their missions in a variety of ways, although the series is well known for allowing Agent 47 disguise himself and carry out assassinations covertly without being detected.  This version of Hitman will also feature open-world gameplay similar to 2006’s Hitman: Bloody Money instead of the linear mission structure of the older PS2 Hitman titles and 2012’s Hitman: Absolution.

When the game was announced at E3 2015 Square Enix promoted the game with an “intro pack” that would consist of three locations, six story missions and several sandbox missions.  Last month it was revealed that the game would follow an episodic format instead – with the intro pack containing a prologue mission and the Paris open world map only. New locations like Thailand, The United States, Japan and Marrekesh will be released starting in April. Along with the new location these $10 episode packs will also include brand new story missions and assassination targets.

There will be six PlayStation exclusive contracts for Agent 47 to take. The PlayStation Blog summarized one of them as:

“The first PS4 exclusive contract will be available when the game launches on March 11th. We’re calling it “The Director.” Your target is Scott Sarno, Director of European Operations for the CICADA private military corporation. He is a thirty-year veteran of clandestine operations and has been linked to a number of questionable operations in Europe and the Middle East as far back as the mid-nineties. He is highly trained and incredibly observant, you should expect him to be accompanied by several CICADA agents at all times.”

All of this this means that the price for entry will be quite a lot lower than the initial $30 that was expected – you can pre order the Hitman: Intro Pack for $15 USD on PlayStation 4 or the full package for $60 USD and either way guarantee yourself access to the beta.

Check out the trailer in the embedded player below.

[youtube id=”iDgOwNVFBxQ”]


Square Enix Embraces Episodic Model For Latest Hitman

Posted on January 14, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The latest game to star the bold barcoded assassin, Agent 47, will be released completely episodically with a physical released later in the year for all platforms. Square Enix recently cause a bit of a panic among users of the PlayStation Store when they decided to cancel all existing digital pre-orders. This shift to a purely episodic format for the game would explain why.

Announced at last year’s E3 Hitman was originally supposed to ship last Fall on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC with 3 different locations (Paris, Sapienza and Marrakesh) with additional areas added later via optional expansion content. Under the new model the “intro pack” will include a playable prologue and just the Paris map & activities. Other locations including Japan, America, Sapienza and Marrakesh will be available as optional $10 episodes. No other downloadable content has been announced for the game and the developers have stated that there will be no micro-transactions and that free weekly challenges will be available to all players.

Honestly I think that is an excellent move for an open world game like Hitman and that if its successful perhaps other games that contain multiple open world maps will follow suit. By allowing potential assassin’s to walk in 47’s shoes for a lower price, $15 USD for the intro pack, Square is providing players with a self contained sandbox that will give players the AAA experience without the risk of investing $60+ in a game they may not enjoy. This wouldn’t have worked with a game that relied on one map (like Arkham Knight) but it certainly is an interesting idea.


2016 and Gaming: A Year in Preview

Posted on December 28, 2015 by Kenny Keelan


As we’re closing in on the end of one year and getting ready to start the next, a lot of people are reflecting on the year that’s past and others are looking at the year to come. I’m one of those looking to the future and I’ll tell you why: 2016 and the coming years after are going to be an extremely exciting time for games. While gaming has always been a longtime passion of mine, I do have to admit that it has felt like, in the last couple generations, innovation and creativity had been been steadily decreasing while market saturation has been steadily increasing. It wasn’t looking good as the market was looking stale and things weren’t change. Sure, there were gimmicks that came and went but nothing really stuck. There were few real surprises and the things that jumped aboard the hype train were mostly games we’d been anticipating and asking for, for years. There was a lot of vaporware, a lot of E3s that came and went that left us wanting more and spending more time laughing at the flaws than celebrating the wonders. In my honest opinion, the fifth generation was the last generation that truly brought us wonders we never thought we’d see possible and all the last couple generations did was expand on that. We never saw anything truly groundbreaking and that’s part of why 2016 is going to be an exciting year: we are going to see a lot of broken ground and whether or not it will be truly successful, we finally see companies going out and taking risks and those are the kinds of moves that change gaming for the better. Follow the jump for our preview of the year to come and what to watch for!

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Square Enix Brings Its Biggest Q4 2015 Titles To New York Comic Con

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix

Square Enix will be attending the New York Comic Con from October 8th thru the 11th and they’ll be bringing some of their biggest titles for Q4 2015 / Q1 2015 with them. Here’s a full rundown of all of Sqaure Enix’s planned festivities for this year’s show.

The publisher has two developer lead panels lined up – the first being for the upcoming cyberpunk RPG Deus Ex: Mankind Divided tilted “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Creating the World of 2029” on Friday Oct 9th at 7:45PM in Room 1A21. Their second panel centers around the upcoming Just Cause 3 and is titled “Just Cause 3 : Choose Your Own Chaos” It will be held on Saturday Oct 10th at 1:30PM in room 1A21.

If you’re wondering what playable demos will be available in Square Enix’s booth – they’ve got a great mix of recent releases like Life Is Strange along with some upcoming 2016 like the latest Hitman.

Here’s their fully playable slate as provided by Square Enix:

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system
Developer: DONTNOD
ESRB: Mature
Availability: Now Available (Episodes 1–4)
Summary: Developed by DONTNOD Entertainment, the Paris-based studio who released their debut game  REMEMBER ME™ last year the game takes place in the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, where senior student Max Caulfield returns after a 5 year absence. Reunited with her former friend Chloe, the pair begin to uncover the uncomfortable truth behind the disappearance of fellow student Rachael Amber.

Platform: Android, iOS, Windows Mobile
Developer: Square Enix Montreal
Availability: Now Available
Summary: Lara Croft GO expands the turn-based puzzle gameplay and takes you on an adventure set in a long-forgotten world. Explore the ruins of an ancient civilization, discover hidden secrets and face deadly challenges as you uncover the myth of the Queen of Venom. Attendees will witness a never-before-seen take on the iconic franchise featuring challenging gameplay, gorgeous visuals and a mesmerizing soundtrack, all at your fingertips.

DRAGON QUEST HEROES: The World Tree’s Woe and the Blight Below
Platform: PlayStation®4 computer entertainment system
Developer: Omega Force from Koei Tecmo Games
ESRB: T for Teen
Availability: Oct. 13, 2015
Summary: DRAGON QUEST®, one of the most iconic RPG series from Japan, will be transformed into a full-scale action RPG in the West. Players must rise up against insurmountable odds, challenge swarms of enemies and conquer gigantic monsters. It is filled with characters and monsters designed by world-renowned artist Akira Toriyama. Also, Yuji Horii, director and creator of DRAGON QUEST, and Koichi Sugiyama, the renowned composer closely tied to the series, are closely involved in bringing this title to life. The demo area allows fan to take on and challenge the all-mighty monster, Gigantes.

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC
Developer: Avalanche Studios
Availability: December 1, 2015
Summary: The Mediterranean republic of Medici is suffering under the brutal control of General Di Ravello, a dictator with an insatiable appetite for power. Enter Rico Rodriguez, a man on a mission to destroy the General’s hold on power by any means necessary. With over 400 square miles of complete freedom from sky to seabed and a huge arsenal of weaponry, gadgets and vehicles, prepare to unleash chaos in the most creative and explosive ways you can imagine.

Platform: Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system
Developer: Square Enix
ESRB: E10+ (Everyone 10+)
Availability: January 26, 2016
Summary: FINAL FANTASY EXPLORERS focuses on cooperative play with friends and utilizes a refined party system allowing Explorers to master over 20 new and familiar jobs—including Knight, Monk, Black Mage and White Mage—to defeat the realm’s mightiest monsters and even recruit them for battle. Players will have the ability to call upon the powers of eidolons like Ifrit and Bahamut, as well as transform into other legendary characters from the FINAL FANTASY series via the Trance feature.

Platform: PlayStation®4 system, Xbox One®, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, Windows PC
Developer: Eidos-Montréal (a Square Enix studio)
Availability: February 23, 2016
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to the critically acclaimed  Deus Ex: Human Revolution®, builds on the franchise’s trademark choice and consequence and action RPG-based gameplay, to create both a memorable and highly immersive experience. Players will once again take on the role of Adam Jensen, now an experienced covert agent, and will gain access to his new arsenal of customizable state-of-the-art weapons and augmentations. With time working against him, Adam must choose the right approach, along with whom to trust, in order to unravel a vast worldwide conspiracy.

Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC
Developer: IO Interactive (a Square Enix studio)
Availability:  TBD
HITMAN will see players perform contract hits on powerful, high-profile targets in exotic locations around the world, from the highly fashionable Paris and sunny coast of Italy to the dust and hustle of the markets in Marrakesh in this creative stealth action game. Gameplay focuses on taking out targets in huge and intricate sandbox levels with complete freedom of approach. Where to go, when to strike and who to kill — it is all up to you. And for the first time, HITMAN will lead with a digital release inviting players into a world of assassination.


Voice Actor Chosen for Agent 47

Posted on August 28, 2012 by Jesse Lord

In a move that might surprise those who have been following the title closely, Square Enix have announced that David Bateson is going to reprise his role as Agent 47 in the upcoming Hitman: Absolution.  Originally the publisher had declared that he would not be voicing the character, but things have changed, as they tend to do in this industry.  Full press release follows after the jump.

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