Square Enix Episode I: The Phantom Episodes

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[THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN UPDATED TO FIX ERRORS IN PRICING BECAUSE I SUCK AT MATHS]

Back in December last year the internet collectively lost its shit when Square Enix revealed that the Final Fantasy VII remake will be episodic. It seemed a strange choice in a remake that is filled with strange choices. Today a similar announcement was made about the upcoming Hitman game, which it turns out will also be episodic (insert record scratching noise).

Agent 47 will remember that.

Agent 47 will remember that.

“Hold up” you might be saying to yourself, “isn’t Hitman a third person stealth action game that inherently wouldn’t lend itself to an episodic formula in the same way games like The Walking Dead and Life is Strange do?” Yes, correct. All of that. The full game we were expecting to release on March 11 will still release then, but only the prologue and first mission, with the rest to follow throughout the year.

In a statement on their website developers IO Interactive have said:

We’ve always said we won’t put anything out until it’s ready. That means what we release has to hit the quality level you have come to expect from a HITMAN game. To ensure that level of quality, we made a big decision on how we’re releasing HITMAN. After a lot of consideration, we decided to take the full leap and publish HITMAN as a truly episodic game experience with a major live component.

Firstly, I think that’s a lot of PR fluff, considering this announcement is coming just two months prior to release and a month after the originally planned December 2015 release. A decision to make a “truly episodic game experience” would have been made a long time ago. It would appear IO Interactive simply ran out of time to get a well polished game released, and instead of pushing it back have decided to just go ahead and sell it in increments, which I guess is fine if this is the case, but just tell us that, or better yet just delay the game, it’s not like people won’t buy it at the end of the year.

Press X to play more next month.

Press X to play more next month.

To be fair that’s all conjecture (fuck you, Journalism diploma), as is this: it’s pretty weird two major Square Enix games in 2016 have decided to go for an episodic release. If I were a more cynical person, I’d say this is a way to make more money off of products. Here’s what IO Interactive had to say about pricing:

The new Intro Pack, which includes Prologue and Paris will be priced at $15. Each subsequent location can be purchased for $10 as an add-on item after you buy the new Intro Pack. If you buy the Intro Pack and want to get into everything the Full Experience offers, you can also choose to buy the Upgrade Pack for $50. This will give you access to all of the content released after March 11th and guarantees you won’t miss any live or bonus content.

Of course you can still buy the Full Experience which is the complete first season, so all the content this year as it’s released, up front for US$60 as always promised. Whether you purchase the complete game or buy each episode individually, we want to remind the community that there will be no micro transactions in HITMAN.

Oh wait, here comes cynicism again, that pricing structure is kind of illogical. When bought separately the initial episode costs $15 and each after that costing $10. So far there has been six episode locations announced, including France, Italy, Morroco, Thailand, Japan and the US. Which brings the total game cost to $65 when purchased individually, $65 with the unlock pack and $60 up front. Confused? You should be. It seems like you will be giving money away for nothing if you pay per episode, and if you buy upfront you will pay more than someone who upgrades after the first episode.

Don't think about it too much.

“Don’t ask questions.”

We’ll try and get an update on this story as it comes out considering it’s a weird and confusing thing, we have also reached out to Square Enix and IO Interactive for clarification on the pricing structure. Until then, those keen to assassinate some chumps can play the Hitman Beta for PS4 on February 12, and a week after that on PC.

You can follow Charlie on Twitter @clbraith now for $60, but if you send him a tweet first and then want to follow him it will be $65, or alternatively you pay on a tweet by tweet basis for $65. And don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook!

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