Difficulty runs alongside stealth in terms of the defining features of the Hitman series, so the prediction that many players will be unable to finish Hitman: Absolution doesn’t come as too much of a surprise. However, the 20 percent completion rate is, according to the projects director Tore Blystad, “not because they lack the skill, but simply because that’s what cold, calculated metrics tell [us]”.
Speaking with OPM, the game’s director said that:
“We are using metrics a lot more now than we did, for good and for bad. The general player will probably never even finish the game, which is very sad. Or they might only play through it once, but the game is built for the people who want to go back through every single level and get all the stuff out of it. It’s built to last, rather than be a one-off experience.”
The metric that they used is not just for Hitman but covers “any game”. This means that the figure should be taken rather loosely, as non-specific metrics are somewhat inappropriate to attribute to an individual project. Regardless, whilst he laments that the majority of players will never have the full experience, he seems encouraged by user tests that revealed that it’s “the situation or the humour” that makes players return to levels:
“They want to see more, they want to find these things, which makes us very happy, because it takes a lot of time and effort to get these things in.”
From what we have seen so far, it certainly seems that there will be numerous ways to approach a mission. If IO Interactive manage to balance the stealth and brute force approaches well, then I can imagine getting at least two playthroughs of Agent 47’s latest assassinations. Yet again, my introduction to stealth came from the incredible Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, and I have the feeling that I never managed to complete that contract – though that was definitely due to its difficulty.