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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to 4K Screenshot Showcase: Hitman Absolution">Hitman 4k header 2







Every Monday, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.



We were disappointed by several aspects of Hitman Absolution, but the visuals weren't one of them. The Glacier engine could render dank apartments with obsessive detail and handle crowds of hundreds in outdoor environments. The colour palette and environments shifted dramatically as the globe-trotting adventure progressed, all of which makes it a great candidate for a 4K screenshot showcase. Absolution is a fine looking game, and Agent 47's bald head looks even shinie in super high-res, as you'll discover in the 20 massive shots that follow.







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Announcement - Valve
Save 80% on the Hitman series during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.

*Offer ends Friday at 10AM Pacific Time

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Next Hitman game detailed in open letter to fans">Hitman







The next Hitman game was cancelled. Then it was uncancelled. Now it's being talked about in an open letter on the Hitman website. "Dear Miley," it reads. No, wait, that was the other one. "Dear Hitman fans," it begins, before outlining, in some detail, what Io's next sharply dressed bald assassin simulator will entail.



If Hitman: Absolution converted you from a Hitman fan into a lapsed Hitman fan, there's good news: you can read the letter anyway. Also: I have a feeling the missive is meant for you most of all. I'll quote the highlights, but the highlights are talk of "open, non-linear level design" and "huge, checkpoint-free, sandbox levels". Those were some of things we moaned about it in our review. I don't see any mention of "non-excruciating nun-based trailers", however, so Io may still have a way to go yet.



Io say that "the game concentrates on the core Hitman fantasy of using a wide range of tools to take out a diverse group of targets across expansive, exotic locations around the world. We are building this game on the backbone of the Glacier 2 engine, using the best parts and what we have learnt through Hitman: Absolution and drawing inspiration from past titles like Contracts and Blood Money to fulfil the core Hitman fantasy. That means we re packing in an extreme level of detail on the largest levels we have ever built for a Hitman game. We ve adopted an open, non-linear level design approach to the game, ensuring the game will play out across huge, checkpoint-free, sandbox levels. Our aim is to create living, breathing and believable levels which will allow gamers to play around with the AI to create those unique moments every fan of the Hitman franchise loves."



Promising words. Io have also "removed 47 s magic pockets" and brought Contracts mode back - which is nice. As letters go, it's certainly a lot better than the Council Tax bills and pizza coupons I generally get in the post. Now, Hitman fans - what are you going to write in reply?



Thanks to Blue's News.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Hello there. Things have sounded a little unhappy at Hitman and Kane & Lynch devs IO Interactive for a while now, in the wake of 2012′s Hitman: Subtitle achieving neither the acclaim or the spondoolies it was hoped to. Last year, the Square Enix-owned Danish studio saw half its workforce removed from their jobs, along with claims that the remainder would get to do nothing but Hitman games. Yesterday, reports circulated that the Next Jennifer Hitman game had been quietly garotted. That claim, despite being made on a Square Enix Montreal senior game designer’s LinkedIn profile, has now been denied. (more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Square Enix Montreal’s Hitman game seems to have been canceled [Updated]">hitman







Square Enix has issued the following statement to clarify today's news about the cancelation of a Hitman game that was being developed at Square Enix Montreal:



"There's a bit of confusion around the Hitman projects currently in development at Square Enix-owned studios and so we wanted to take the time to clarify what each studio is working on to clear up some of this confusion. Io-Interactive is developing a new, AAA Hitman game that will be coming to PC and next-gen consoles and Square Enix Montreal is fully focused on mobile development of games some of which are related to the Hitman franchise," A Square Enix representative said. "We look forward to sharing more details about these titles later this year."







All is not well with agent 47, the eerily hairless protagonist of the Hitman series. The LinkedIn profile of senior game designer Richard Knight indicates that the next-gen installment in the series he was working on at Square Enix Montreal was recently canceled, Videogamer first discovered.



The LinkedIn profiles of other employees at Square Enix Montreal indicate that the game was a re-imagining, and that it would have featured some form of microtransactions.



In late 2012, we first reported that the next-gen Hitman game was being developed by the then newly formed Square Enix Montreal, and not the original Hitman developer, IO Interactive. Hitman: Absolution director Tore Blystad said the franchise would be handled similarly to how Activision handles the Call of Duty games.



It s like with Treyarch and Infinity Ward, Blystad told OPM. You have an IP that has been developed. They will feed off each other, as well as somethings that stand out. I think with these big franchises it takes a long time to develop just one game. If you can, work a little bit in parallel at least and help each other out.



The plan was to let IO Interactive begin work on a new franchise while Square Enix Montreal took the lead on a new Hitman. But following a devastating fiscal year for Square Enix, IO halved its workforce and went back to Hitman, which, as far as we know, they re still developing now.



So it s not like we ll not get another Hitman game, it just might take a little longer until we do, and we won t be seeing the one Square Enix Montreal was working on.



We weren t the biggest fans of the most recent Absolution, but the Hitman series has had some amazing moments, especially in Hitman: Blood Money, which we ve recently reinstalled.
Announcement - Valve
Save 75% on Hitman: Absolution™ during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Hitman: Absolution follows the Original Assassin undertaking his most personal contract to date. Betrayed by the Agency and hunted by the police, Agent 47 finds himself pursuing redemption in a corrupt and twisted world.

*Offer ends Thursday at 4PM Pacific Time

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

So many layoffs. When will the carnage end?

After the gaming industry went on a dubstep-and-Dew-fueled vacation to E3 last week, it’s now back to business as usual. By “business,” I of course mean layoffs, and goodness gracious, figurative business is booming. However, literal business – the part where people make money – isn’t faring so well because, well, layoffs. This time, the sobering specter took its scythe to Hitman developer IO Interactive, reducing its workforce by “almost half”. Yeesh. The plan to get things back on track? Er, make more Hitman. Which is to say, make nothing but Hitman.

(more…)

PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Hitman studio lays off almost half its staff, taking another swing at franchise">hitmanabsolution







Dark clouds may have formed over Square Enix’s financial future months ago, but that doesn’t make the storm of layoffs at IO Interactive any less surprising or disheartening.



In a statement to Develop, Square Enix confirmed that almost half of IO Interactive's staff has been laid off. What makes this news particularly depressing is Hitman Absolution actually saw decent sales, but 3.6 million units sold (and that’s only physical copies) still wasn’t enough to hit Square Enix’s lofty expectations.



So what does this mean for IO? The studio has cut production on all non-Hitman projects while attempting to refocus on the next Hitman game.



"The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project,” Studio Head Hannes Seifert said. “However, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today's market."



Hitman Absolution may not have scratched our homicidal itch, but we still wish everyone affected the best of luck.
Announcement - Valve
Save up to 75% on new Week Long Deals on Steam, available now until May 6th at 10AM Pacific time!













PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Square Enix’s new president plans fundamental review, as more lay-offs hit LA office">Tomb Raider - fire







Square Enix's incoming president, Yosuke Matsuda, has started sharpening the axe of financial viability after the "extraordinary loss" of this last financial year. In a Square Enix Holdings briefing session, translated by Siliconera, Matsuda announces plans to review all elements of the business, with a view to focusing its direction on "what makes us successful".



"After having succeeded the important role as the president, I plan on reviewing all Square Enix duties, business and assets on a zero-based budgeting standpoint," Matsuda says. "Due to the radical change of environment, I’d like to fundamentally review what works and what doesn't work for our company, then cast all of our resources towards extending what makes us successful and thoroughly squeezing out what doesn't.



"As far as a concrete plan on what to expect from us, I will further explain it on another briefing session in the near future, so I kindly ask for your patience. Thank you for your support."



While Matsuda isn't due to step into the role until June, Square Enix have already begun to restructure. In a statement to Polygon, senior director of PR Reilly Brennan announced, "We can confirm that Square Enix's Los Angeles office has eliminated a number of positions as part of the corporate restructuring announced last week. This is an unfortunate situation and we are offering assistance and severance packages to any employees affected by this, we want to thank them for their hard work and sincerely wish them well in the future." This is in addition to the LA office lay-offs made back in December.



How SE's development studios will be affected by Matsuda's review is unclear, but sales figures suggest a change may be due. Tomb Raider, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs all failed to meet expectations, despite Tomb Raider experiencing a record launch week for the series.
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