It’s a big day for Agent 47. IO Interactive has just hosted its Hitman 3 Year Two reveal stream, giving us a peek at what’s coming up for the stealth game in the months ahead. Alongside news that Hitman 3 and the just-unveiled Hitman Trilogy are headed to Steam and Game Pass, and a showcase of snazzy new technological improvements, a brand-new single-player mode has been revealed, which draws on the roguelike genre.
Called Freelancer, the shiny new mode is due to land sometime in spring this year. This “introduces roguelike elements, strategic planning, and a customisable safehouse”, IOI explains in a Year Two reveal blog, though you can also hear about it from the devs in the timestamped clip below. In the mode, you’ll have a safehouse where you don’t have everything served up to you on a platter before you dive into a mission, as is the case in the three games’ usual single-player locations. Instead, Agent 47 will need to sink his teeth into some pre-mission planning. Well, Diana deserves a day off, y’know.
Principal designer Torbjørn Vinther Christensen highlights in the stream that Freelancer adds something to the role-playing aspect of the game, because “you feel like you are Hitman, basically”.
“You can also visit all your different parts of the safehouse, and these are customisable. So you can, over time, configure how you think your Hitman should live.” You’ll get to pick out 47’s new outfits, try out his rather extensive arsenal of weapons at the safehouse’s firing range, and change its décor. But then, it’s about picking up some contracts and getting to work.
There’ll be a ‘mission hub’ that offers Freelancer campaigns, with each representing a criminal enterprise that appears across the games, and you get to pick which you go after. “As 47, you are taking on some cool freelance contracts,” associate game director Jonas Breum Jensen says. “You have to find some criminal enterprises that are destroying the world slowly, and you have to choose which one you really hate and go against them. So really, a a campaign is a set of missions that spans across the World of Assassination.”
Each campaign will take you to a bunch of locations on the hunt for your chosen target enterprise. You pick the order in which you play the missions given, and between them you’ll head back to 47’s base to re-supply and “strategically plan”, as the blog explains. “Whichever location you leave until last will be where you’ll corner the leader of the enterprise. Blow their cover, eliminate them, and the campaign is complete. You get paid and return to your safehouse.”
Existing missions have been given a tweak to fit them to the new mode’s format, with NPCs now – for example – being able to help or hinder your progress. Additionally, extra facets, such as safes, hidden stashes, and other NPC assassins roaming about “will make the Freelancer campaigns unique”. You can lose gear along the way, too. Gulp. Gear is not persistent, so you’ll need to restock from supplier NPCs if you lost your stuff on your travels and consumables like poison need restocking after use.
Freelancer is a brand new way to play @HITMAN 3 that introduces roguelike elements, strategic planning and a customisable safehouse.
— IO Interactive (@IOInteractive) January 13, 2022
“We’re excited about Freelancer giving players a persistent and infinitely replayable experience that is entirely their own; from customising their safehouse to match their style or mood [to] configuring and strategically planning for campaigns through to picking a playstyle with all of their gear on the line,” IOI says. There’s no set release date for Freelancer just yet, but it’s due to arrive sometime in the coming months.