Q & A: Lessons learned from the five years spent in the Hitman series

IO Interactive was released 2 weeks ago Hitman 3A game coup that concludes the title of the trilogy, rewriting what the game industry thought about the most notorious assassins.

Executive Producer Forest Swartout Large has joined IO Interactive. Hitman’Developed in 2016, the IO Interactive team’s shepherds are helping to form an incredible open-ended level assembly where everything is now fully functional. Hitman 3 client.

This is a journey that began with a temporary release model and evolved into the continuous construction of a viable open-ended system for the future. Hitman At the same time as the content, it can be neatly collapsed into the old level created before the new level was devised.

After the game’s release, Swartout Large talks about the lessons learned as an executive producer and what she thinks IO Interactive has made it possible to successfully create such a unique series over the last five years. I stopped by to chat with.

This trilogy Hitman The game had a fascinating release journey. It started out as a series of episode games, but now it’s a complete package that’s fully playable in the third title. What did the company learn on this journey after trying all these different ways to release the game?

When I zoom out, I think, “Wow, we were definitely a punishment eater.” We are definitely trying to maximize learning opportunities here.

But I think it really made it possible for us to learn more about the game. And to learn more about the player’s behavior, and what the player is reacting to and not reacting to. Of course, in the release of the episode, it was really challenging in terms of communication and catching the player’s heart.

It took a while, but I think most players eventually took over to the release model as they had more time to understand the depth and breadth of each sandbox and each mission. So the real learning is that when you’re trying to innovate and do something controversial, it may take some time if it’s right for the product and the team, but in the end Will win the heart and mind.

So, by its episodic nature, it was definitely a long game. It took some time for people to come to our defense.It was crazy and controversial at first, but in the end it made us all thank what Hitman Each of these missions has to offer.

And with this carryover progression. We are still learning. It didn’t go as I expected. It’s guts that our most enthusiastic fans are hit hardest by carryover and progression issues. We are working very hard. As for those learnings, we are still trying to solve the problem. And understand what we have learned.

But if you’re going to do something that isn’t publicly accepted, I think you need patience and patience as long as it’s ultimately suitable for the game and the product. You have to overcome all criticisms, update the game, and continue to release the game in a harsh voice.

What is it like to work in a game where the same content created for the 2016 game can continue to be the functional content of the third game in 2021?

It was a complete blessing. If you’re a developer who really loves to work on polishing, ships really cohesive, tight and knows what it wants to be. I am very happy to work on it.

For me, joining the team along the way was just a gift. Hitman 2016.. Hitman 2 It was another opportunity to polish and double down, explore a few different things and grow in many ways.

Hitman 3 Was real [process] Not only do he take it down, strip it off, and go back to the basics, he says, “I want to make this an emotional experience. I want to make my soul shine.” It’s just a gift and joy.

What do you want to share with other developers who take on the task of making your old game backward compatible with your current version of the game?

Its strength is that it has its own engine. You are not working on a third party engine and you have to decide “whether to take advantage of that update”. We have a completely unique code base.

The best advice we have is not to corrupt the code. It’s our own code base. This is a live game and is constantly updated.The other is most of the IOs on the eight-year journey, most of them. Hitman.. So we didn’t have to discuss different team projects. Hitman Controlled the code base.

Now we are going to multi-project. You now have something called the Hmn code branch. Then there are other code branches that support these projects.

Some features have eventually been deprecated. An example is ghost mode. I felt I couldn’t keep up with multiplayer, so I abolished ghost mode.What we wanted to do didn’t make sense Hitman..

It’s like gardening. We treat the engine like a gardener. Always water, trim and care.

The· Hitman The series has received a lot of attention by showing off what advanced and experienced players can do to accomplish these complex kills. But for some players, watching the footage says, “Oh, if I didn’t do that, am I playing? Hitman?? “What did IO Interactive learn about attracting new players in these last few entries?”

So OG Hitman (Since the 2000s) is a pure player discovery. There is no way to have only environmental clues and suggestions for some background dialogue. Players understood things, set their own traps, and created their own scenarios.

Then in the 2016s Hitman, Introduced Opportunity system. This was like a handheld mode. Basically, are you very lazy? Here is the opportunity. Or do you only have 10 minutes to play? Here is the opportunity.It was a good way to make Hitman Access to people who couldn’t really bother with their basic beliefs Hitman..

like me?

Yeah, yeah (laughs). Or like me, depending on how I feel.But I will say towards the end Hitman And Hitman 2, We really saw it as follows, what is our systemic killing? What is emergent gameplay? And again, are these opportunities super-handed of these mission stories?

What we tried to do Hitman 3 It’s really about making sure you’re setting a trap in the opportunity loop. We call an opportunity, or guided mission story, 90 percent. [These] Probably the player is the play pass (golden pass) [experience] I will play for the first time.

So what we’re trying to do isn’t something like a sniper opportunity or a trap, and the general setpieces are too far from the guidance, so following the guidance will inspire players to these environmental traps. There is a possibility that

Or you might really see when we’re on this golden path with the player in hand, as they have a shiny light or are paying attention to the amazing sniper points in the corners. Hmm.

We’ve actually tried to bring some of the more common and systematic gameplay into your face with the Golden Opportunity Pass, but there are also missions that don’t guide the player at all. For example, Berlin’s mission is one of them.

We always said, you know, Hitman 3 Is of utmost importance to our core fans, and we have always felt that our core fans really don’t want or need guidance.

How does the team approach the design complexity of Hitmans Legacy content? Hitman 2016 levels can be played in gear that didn’t exist when those levels were first designed.And there are tons unlocked from previous games available in Hitman 3 level. How does the team make it work overall?

Therefore, gameplay features, game systems, and items are global and systematic. So this is a design requirement. If it has to work, it has to work for all future missions we can imagine, and it has to work for the past.

An example of what had to be retrofitted was the limited vision system we introduced. Hitman 3, Where you can hide in the crowd, you can hide in the leaves. I had to go back and make markup in a particular area to make sure I was retrofitting a leaf that the player would read as “I can hide in this”.

If you intend to have an item [or] When introducing a new system, it must be done throughout the game. And of course, we also try every mission, some kind of gameplay twist. And we are always thinking about reuse. What and how can you twist it further?

so Hitman 3 Is a generational release, but it’s also the first crack in IO Interactive on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. What do you think you can do with these new consoles? What are the opportunities they create for system-driven developers like IO Interactive?

We always talk about how sweet the reload time is.For games like Hitman, And some people often save depending on your playstyle, which means reducing reload time by a few seconds.

We talked about creativity and experimentation. We want our players to experiment and not be afraid of long reload times. I feel that the new console is the best way to experience it.

Two of Hitman 3 Levels are different from established ones Hitman formula. Dartmoor levels are placed around a murder mystery that can be resolved to access the target. At the Berlin level, you don’t even know who or where your target is when you enter the space. Can you explain how IO Interactive has evolved these two levels of design process?

It’s interesting because they grew up in different ways and had different plans. And the results are clearly very different. On the one hand, you have this crazy and elaborate murder mystery. And Berlin is a special being. I don’t want to spoil it.

So it wasn’t supposed to use that much, especially in Dartmoor. [development] time. It was clear that it was special and worth spending more time from the team.

The same thing happened in Berlin. Berlin was always planned to work in action during the duration of the project. However, we decided to add a few more people than originally planned. Added life to one of the biomes.

A little interesting fact is that Dartmoor’s codename was Bulldog. And everyone on the team felt like a bulldog, just holding it and fighting for it.

I don’t know what the lesson is, but when something seems bigger than you can imagine, you may need to go with it and live a little bit of your own.

Another question about Dartmoor-when the level was previewed, everyone we knew immediately compared it to Rian Johnson’s movie “Knives Out.” What does it feel like to have a pop culture moment and synchronicity?

That was all the level designers were talking about when I joined in the spring of 2016. It was like “I want to do a murder mystery! When can I do a murder mystery ?!” Lobbying was very hardcore! So I would like to thank the Knives Out reference, which was mature long ago.

I think I’m collecting my reference photos from the trips I took [and] Others also have it. So it’s been created for a long time, I would say even before I was in IO.

As an executive producer, seeing your team become passionate like this, realizing that you can grow your team beyond the original range of features and levels, and recognizing the moment of passion but no final product. What is the difference from Is it worth it and need to cut for scope and budget?

Is it there or not? It’s demonstrable or not on the screen, and you feel it or not. To me, it’s like trying to keep me from being dual. I try not to make it binary with IO, but it is binary or not.

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