Square Enix’s new Hitman game, which seems to simply be titled ‘Hitman‘, has become yet another Holiday 2015 release that ended up slipping into next year, following LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, The Division, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Star Fox Zero, and the PC version of Need for Speed. The game is now scheduled for release in March 2016 on all of its platforms.

Hitman - Gameplay 1Developer, IO Interactive spoke a bit about the need to delay Hitman, stating that it was a difficult decision that came from the desire to increase the amount of content offered in the launch build. IO claims (quite correctly) that gamers don’t want a game that feels rushed and unfinished, and they want to do everything that they can to be absolutely sure that the game lives up to expectations. Originally, Hitman was slated to release digitally this December, with a full retail package set to arrive later in 2016.

Hitman will abandon some of the more accessible elements of the series’ previous release, 2012’s Hitman: Absolution, to unfold in a progressive array of contracts that operate like miniature sandboxes. Players will still be able to take on a variety of approaches to their missions however, which aims to encourage replayability and experimentation. The game is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, and the PlayStation 4 version will offer six exclusive missions, along with pre-orders of that version netting access to the PlayStation 4-exclusive beta. There still isn’t word on when that beta will be however.

With Hitman now sitting right at the end of Square Enix’s fiscal year for 2016, which ends on March 31st, the company will instead be relying on games like Just Cause 3 and Rise of the Tomb Raider to generate Holiday sales this year. Just Cause 3 is enjoying plenty of positive buzz, though Rise of the Tomb Raider has been met with scorn and controversy already, on account of the game launching as a timed Xbox exclusive, not expanding to PC and PlayStation 4 until next year. Things got worse when Bethesda scheduled their behemoth game release, Fallout 4 for the same day, and sure enough, as confirmed by outlets like Amazon, Fallout 4 is wiping the floor with Rise of the Tomb Raider in pre-orders, even on Xbox One alone. The whole mess has even led to Xbox head, Phil Spencer stating in a recent interview that third-party exclusives are not a good direction for the industry, and Rise of the Tomb Raider is an isolated event that likely won’t be repeated any time soon.Hitman - Gameplay 2

Fortunately, even if Square Enix ends up taking a hit from the Rise of the Tomb Raider fiasco this Holiday, their early 2016 release slate is very healthy, not only including Hitman now, but also highly anticipated games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Final Fantasy Explorers, and the Japanese releases of both Dragon Quest Builders, and Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness. These, combined with strong performances from currently available 2015 games like Life is Strange and Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, should nonetheless help Square Enix generate healthy returns going into the 2017 fiscal year that begins on April 1st.

Keep targeting Eggplante for all news and updates on Hitman.

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