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Hitman changes release structure again, now 'fully episodic'

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Day one consists of one location, prologue mission

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Square Enix and Io Interactive are changing their plans for the new Hitman once again, and will release the game as "a truly episodic AAA game experience, with a major live component." When the game launches on March 11, it will include a prologue mission and one location, Paris, and will cost $15.

Hitman will get its next location, Italy, in April and another, Morocco, in May. Square Enix says Io Interactive will then "deliver regular monthly content updates, including three additional locations; Thailand, the US and Japan until the season concludes in Japan later in 2016." Weekly live events and "additional planned content" will be released between those monthly updates, according to a press release.

"We decided to take the full leap and publish Hitman as a truly episodic game experience," said Hannes Seifert, head of studio at Io Interactive, in a release. "Part of that decision is for that little bit of extra time to ensure every location we release is at the quality level fitting for a Hitman game. But the main driving reason is that this will allow us to create a living game that will expand and evolve over time and establish a foundation for the future — this is the first game in a storyline which will continue and expand with future Hitman games."

Hitman's Intro Pack, which contains the prologue and Paris level, will be sold for $15. Additional locations will cost $10. Hitman fans can buy the full game, which includes the full year's worth of content, for $60. A disc-based version of the game will ship during the end of 2016.

Prior to today's announcement, Io Interactive planned to launch Hitman on March 11 with three locations — Paris, France; Sapienza, Italy; and Marrakesh, Morocco —€” 800 targets and six campaign missions. The new plan looks more like what Io Interactive planned to do from the get-go: release Hitman with a limited amount of content day one and continually add to it.

Earlier this week, Hitman was removed from the PlayStation Store in European territories and Square Enix canceled pre-orders for the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Sony said in a message to those who had their pre-orders canceled that the configuration of game had "changed significantly" with revised details to come.

Hitman is slated to launch on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One on March 11. A beta will be available on Feb. 12 on PS4 and Feb. 19 on Windows PC.

You can listen to this story — and many more — in the episode of Minimap, Polygon's daily news podcast, below.