Johnny Cullen asked IO Interactive producer Hakan Abrak to answer your questions on Hitman Absolution at Eurogamer Expo last month. First official gameplay footage included.
The latest entry in a series dating back to 2000.
On hiatus since Hitman: Blood Money in 2006.
Earlier games are notorious for challenging, free-form gameplay.
I didn’t see IO Interactive producer Hakan Abrak give his Hitman Absolution presentation of at Eurogamer Expo due to interviewing Naughty Dog’s Richard Lemarchand and Nolan North about Uncharted 3, but I’d seen the demo at gamescom back in August. I was very impressed by what I’d seen.
I had my say in Cologne, so I decided to toss it to you, the VG247 community, to ask the questions this time round.
PenTaFH: How much will the game be story-driven? More or less than its predecessors?
Hakan Abrak: I would say it’s more or less the same; it would be just a bit different from the prior ones. It was very hit-paced, with Diana giving the different briefs. It’ll be a bit different this time round with the more personal story of Agent 47.
He’s on the run, a bit chased, let down and betrayed; he’s a bit on his own and making the next decisions by himself. That obviously has an impact on the story and the way it progresses.
VG247: Why are we seeing Agent 47’s personal story now?
From the start, the way it was structured: I think it was also very well received by the fans. I guess that his profession as an assassin is very true to the franchise or to the progression that you get: hits and story progresses.
This is the core of the game, and we wanted to keep the core of the game; it’s still Hitman and assassin, but we wanted to put a more cinematic experience into it. That’s why we have the storytelling part. We changed that a bit to emphasise the cinematic experience as well.
PenTaFH: How long will the missions approximately take if you decide to go Silent Assassin?
This is still subject to the user research we’re doing as we work on producing the game. I wouldn’t be able to say specifically how long it will take.
cvhuisdy: Approximately, how long will the game take?
I couldn’t say that at this point, but it’s a big game we’re making. It’s definitely the most ambitious one we’ve ever worked on at IO. So it’s going to be epic, both in its content and size.
cvhuisdv: Will there be any playable demo?
We don’t have any definite plans on that right now.
Yoshi: Are you focusing to give players a more slow-paced way of playing, like the originals, or this time around focusing to give a more fast-paced run?
We are very much focussed on giving the player a choice. A freedom of choice has been the foundation of the Hitman franchise, and that is very much the essence of Hitman Absolution. If you choose to have a violent, action approach, that should be a compelling experience; it should be more high-paced, so you should be challenged by that. If you choose to have the Stealth Assassin approach, that should be a compelling choice as well. The pacing should always suit that.
“There will also be great replayability value in it because the experience and the moments you see in the game will be different.”
There will also be great replayability value in it because the experience and the moments you see in the game will be different. If you replay that in a different way, you can get other stories.
The music supports us as well. Bear in mind we have a very advanced, organic music system. If you play violently, with more action, you’ll get more rock music, more riffs, more dramatic music. If you play it the stealthy way, it’ll play more heart-pounding stuff, the moments where, ‘Oh, so close, but you got away': the music will support that.
Ownsin: Will David Bateson reprise his voice acting role as Agent 47? And if not, why?
This is still something we haven’t announced. At this point, we can’t announce anything.
Fin: Did the generally negative critical reception to Kane & Lynch 2 change design decisions in Absolution?
I think it’s very important to mention that they’re two different games. It’s also important to mention that we’re very happy with the games we’ve done: prior Hitman games, Kane and Lynch games and Mini Ninjas for another audience. What was really interesting to pursue with Kane and Lynch 2 was the YouTube-style within the game; we’re extremely proud of that.
But it’s important to remember that Hitman is a different franchise and a different genre. Obviously, you live and learn from your successes, from stuff we thought that we could have done differently. So yes, we continuously learn, and it’s not just from Kane and Lynch, but from Mini Ninjas and from the prior Hitman games.
VG247: Is Kane and Lynch still a big thing for IO?
I don’t have any information on that right now.
VG247: What are you doing with the soundtrack? I believe Jesper Kyd is no longer involved because he’s doing Assassin’s Creed. Who have you got on board for this?
We have [Valhalla Rising and Kane & Lynch composers] Peter Peter and Peter Kyed. They’re extremely talented. And we have an internal audio director as well that does the co-composing on it. We’re definitely aiming high with the music.
There are different styles, obviously an overarching style, but there’s different styles compared to what location Hitman comes to. There’ll be a lot of different locations and different styles.
Hitman Absolution launches in 2012 for PS3, 360 and PC.