Sat in a rather lavish cinema in downtown Cologne, this is the start of The Gamers Hub’s Gamescom 2012 visit and – after a rather unglamorous thirteen hour coach trip – the soft leather recliner chairs that populated the red velveted walled theatre couldn’t be a more perfect setting for Square Enix’s latest reveal.
I’d come along to see footage from Hitman: Absolution and was fully expecting to just be thrown E3 footage again in an attempt to woo crowds – however, this was a press only screening and so something big was about to be dropped. Let me introduce you to the world of Hitman: Absolution‘s Contracts Mode.
Inspired by fan feedback and creativity shown from how they began to challenge each other to kill NPCs in bigger and better ways, Contracts Mode delivers alternative ‘what if’ style missions that do away with the story driven and traditional sneaky gameplay. Instead it allows you to live out the ultimate fantasy of being an assassin, stalking your prey and going in for the kill. What’s even more impressive is how it plays out when you begin to create your own contracts and throw them out onto the net for fellow players to complete.
The real test of skill comes in creating the Contracts themselves. Unlike other level or mode editors such as Halo 3‘s Forge or basic level creators, this isn’t a creator – nor does it give you “god” like powers against your foes. To create a Contract you need to mark, and kill, the targets yourself and then make your way to the exit. Depending on how you execute your targets, navigate through the level and choose your exit strategy, all shapes how the Contract will award bonuses to anybody who tries to take it on. The asynchronous multiplayer aspect comes into play thanks to knowing that you can best someone else’s efforts, especially those who know the creator personally.
Square Enix also promised to be releasing new Contracts every week for you to best, and in the process earn money that can be used to unlock even more weapons and disguises that can be utilised in gameplay to improve your scores and open up new opportunities and points.
While this may not seem like an absolute revelation, it’s an ingenious way to integrate multiplayer into a game that didn’t need it. However, now it’s in place it seems like the series would be dead without it. Speaking on stage IO Interactive “firmly believe” that fans will absolutely love this mode and I’m very much inclined to agree with them.
Expect a preview on the mode soon.