When Hitman 3 shows us the conclusion to the shadowy war against Providence next year, the way it tells its story will look a bit different. Today, on a community stream about the sequel, IO Interactive said that players can expect the team to inject more story into Hitman 3's sandbox levels while also changing up its style for the between-mission cutscenes.
Community Manager Travis Barbour and Community Developer Clemens Koch hosted today's Hitman 3-focused stream and, after recapping the title's dramatic unveiling during Sony's PS5 reveal, peeled back the curtain a bit on the sequel's storytelling. Without getting into spoilery specifics, Barbour and Koch promise that the story will be more closely intertwined within Hitman 3's levels, rather than being mostly handled during the pre-brief and debrief mission cutscenes.
Additionally, it sounds like we're in for cutscenes in Hitman 3 that are a lot more dynamic this time around. While 2016's Hitman folded in some fully animated CGI scenes between missions, Hitman 2 mostly kept to scenes composed of still images with voiceovers—something of a jarring change when playing through all the missions from both.
Then, IO changed up the presentation of its story again with the release of Hitman 2's additional bank and private island locales, using animated cutscenes that seem to be rendered in-engine. Those, Barbour and Koch say, are closer to what players should expect to see in Hitman 3.
Spiffier cutscenes are nice, but Hitman diehards are likely more curious about what IO's plans for folding story beats into missions are. Barbour stresses that "sandbox is king" for IO's designers just as it was in the previous two games, so hopefully these story moments won't get in the way of replays and challenge runs, which is where the last two games really thrived. Perhaps it means more gameplay like in Hitman 2's suburban Whittleton Creek mission, where players have to engage in a bit of detective work to find their next mission location while also closing in on their assassination target.
We should be hearing more soon about the changes coming to Hitman 3. IO says there will be "constant releases and information drops" via its monthly streams between now and launch and promises that they'll focus on different subjects, including details on how Hitman 2 progression will carry over to Hitman 3. Hitman 3 is targeting a launch in January 2021 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.