IO's officially announced that Hitman: Sniper Challenge for PS3 and Xbox 360 will launch worldwide on May 15, after news of the stand-alone experience leaked this week.
"Creating Hitman: Sniper Challenge has been very good for us in terms of putting the new engine through its paces as [Glacier 2] hasn’t previously shipped a game, so it’s good to reach that milestone."
The standalone effort will form an exclusive bonus available only to those that pre-order Hitman Absolution; a code supplied at the time of pre-order will be redeemable via PS Store, Xbox Live and PC. Hitman: Sniper Challenge will not be available via any other means.
While the console version launches next week, the PC version will land on August 1.
In the US, this standalone experience is restricted to pre-orders placed through retailer GameStop, whilst the rest of the world will be able to pre-order through retailers of their choice.
Hitman: Sniper Challenge takes the form of a single rooftop level set in Chicago, with Agent 47 charged with assassinating a target from an adjacent building armed with a sniper rifle. The mark, arms boss Richard Strong Jr, arrives via helicopter at a rooftop party at which he’ll be present for 15 minutes; during this window of opportunity, players must take out both Strong and as many of his security team as possible.
Leaderboards will track the scores of a player’s friends list as well as at a national and worldwide level to introduce a competitive edge, while score multipliers for headshots and completing various challenges will bump on the base score.
As is befitting of Agent 47, there are options to take out lone security agents unnoticed. By waiting to take the shot until a target is stood near the edge of the building, an open lift shaft or an ornamental pond the evidence can be concealed, further increasing the score potential as players attempt to gain the elusive “Silent Assassin” rank. Performing well will unlock a special edition “Agency Sniper Rifle” for use in Hitman Absolution.
Hitman: Sniper Challenge will be IO Interactive’s first experience to be powered by the Glacier 2 game engine and the team believe it to be representative of the quality of its sibling title, Hitman Absolution.
“Creating Hitman: Sniper Challenge has been very good for us in terms of putting the new engine through its paces as [Glacier 2] hasn’t previously shipped [anything], so it’s good to reach that milestone,” IO Interactive producer Luke Valentine told VG247 today.
“[Sniper Challenge] has a lot of depth, because you could complete it in one minute or you could spend weeks perfecting your score,” Valentine explained. “What we're trying to establish is that we can cater to people either with limited time or with a lot of time, both with the main game and Sniper Challenge."
First shots are below. Expect a hands-on with Sniper Challenge on the site tomorrow.
Square Enix has confirmed this afternoon that Hitman Absolution will release globally on November 20 for PS3, 360 and PC.