Pre-orders are the lifeblood of most video games. They’re the guaranteed revenue most publishers use to figure out just how a game will sell and how much it makes. So canceled pre-orders are rare and usually not the best of news. And when they come from a franchise like Hitman, tongues usually start wagging.
Fans got a message from Sony today that all digital pre-orders for the game were being canceled because “the configuration of the product you pre-ordered has changed significantly,” in their words. They also noted that a new pre-order would be up soon.
To the Hitman team’s credit, they grabbed this bull by the horns:
It’s likely this has something to do with the game’s unusual structure. Hitman is supposed to launch with three sandbox areas to mess around, with three more arriving monthly after the game’s release, and two story missions per area. If that sounds a little skimpy, IO Interactive has, at least so far, been banking on the idea of fans creating their own contracts for you to play as well as creating their own one-off missions for you to backstab and snipe your way through. The good news is that buying the game at the full $60 price means you get everything, including the upcoming DLC, but you could also buy a $30 “intro pack” with just the launch content.
Since we have to guess why this is, we’re betting that they’re doing away with this structure altogether and just shipping the $60 version of the game, with all the sandboxes. They may possibly also be dialing back the focus on online content somewhat, although Hitman: Absolution‘s popular Contracts mode will likely make a return. Multiplayer games with piles of DLC have been struggling lately, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the “intro pack” just was not delivering the pre-orders they’d hoped.
We’ll find out soon enough, of course, but until then, we can discuss why a bald guy with a bar code on the back of his neck blends in just by changing his pants. And why the guards don’t notice until you walk through a random door.