Hitman’s first season will conclude Oct. 31 with the release of the game’s sixth episode, publisher Square Enix announced today.
The episode takes place at an exclusive resort called GAMA in Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. GAMA is set amid a snowy forest in the mountains, and combines the best of nature and modern design with a Zen garden, organic sushi restaurant and hot spring.
Square Enix says players will face their toughest challenge yet in the season finale, with Agent 47 having to find two different targets. The mission, "Situs Inversus," will bring together all the skills players have learned over the past five episodes from Paris to Colorado.
Hitman’s story really got going in the previous episode, which brought Agent 47 into an unfamiliar situation: a fortified farm in Colorado. The assassin was on hostile turf for the entirety of his mission, so there wasn’t any of the social stealth players knew from preceding chapters, like blending into urban crowds.
"It took three or four months" for Hitman players to understand the scope of the story, said Michael Vogt, the game’s lead writer, in an interview with Polygon last week. That was intentional, according to Vogt — developer IO Interactive didn’t want to force the narrative onto players, and in any case, the episodic format allowed the studio to drip-feed story details over time.
Vogt said Hitman’s story was "tangential" through the first three episodes of the season, but a major revelation at the end of the fourth chapter brought the plot of the season to the fore. The Colorado episode fully integrated the story into the proceedings, providing more background on 47’s apparent adversary, and now the Japan episode will resolve the first season’s arc.
Of course, 47’s tale will continue beyond that. Square Enix hasn’t officially announced any additional episodes, but Vogt said Hitman’s storyline is "planned for multiple seasons." Sven Liebold, global brand PR manager for IO Interactive, wasn’t ready to detail timing, but said, "We definitely won’t take three years to put out a next one." (The studio’s previous Hitman title, Hitman: Absolution, was released in 2012, more than three years before Hitman.)
Following the Oct. 31 release of the Japan episode on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One, Square Enix will package all six chapters onto one disc called Hitman: The Complete First Season, which will be released at retail on Jan. 31, 2017.