Earlier this week, IO Interactive launched its industry-shaking pre-order incentive Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a downloadable ‘experience’ designed to reward fans with an early teaser of this November’s killer title Hitman: Absolution.
But what inspired IO to create Hitman: Sniper Challenge? Will we ever see additional maps released for it? And what hints and tips does the developer have for reaching those high scores? We get the inside story from Game Director Tore Bylstad…
GamerZines: What inspired you to create Hitman: Sniper Challenge?
Tore Blystad, Game Director, Hitman: Sniper Challenge: We were for a long time discussing what would be a suitable pre order incentive for Absolution and early on we wanted to create a game experience rather than the usual “hats and guns”. Different ideas floated around and we had an old prototype sniper challenge that was made by the level designers during some downtime. We brushed it off and decided to go for it and it quickly escalated as new ideas and concepts kept creeping up.
The scoring system and Easter eggs were crucial elements alongside the main story and direction of the level since they all are somehow representing parts of Absolution. I would say that the Sniper Challenge is sort of an ambassador for Absolution in terms of style, direction and ideas. Many things are directly linked or taken from Absolution and we are looking forward to player seeing both games alongside each other to understand some of the more obscure references in Sniper Challenge.
TB: We knew we wanted to create something unique and different, and we wanted to create something ambitious. Pre-orders are a part of this industry and we were lucky that we were given the freedom to create something the team really believed to be a great and fitting addition to Absolution.
GZ: Have you been pleased with the public and media’s reaction?
TB: Yes. In general it seems to be coming as a surprise to most and the response has been overwhelming. It also seems to have spurred a general debate about pre orders and which place they have in our business, which I guess is natural as it is standing out.
GZ: What are your views on typical pre-order incentives, like access to beta tests or exclusive items? Do you think there is still a place for them?
TB: Different incentives work on different people. There is a charm of pre-ordering something you have to wait for rather than being served up front. Many pre-order incentives tie into an extra fantasy around the game, a specific trait in the game, and this will always be interesting in itself. The Beta direction is linked to the balancing of the final game and is an interesting way to gain insight into the development of the game itself, which also has its value.
GZ: Do you have any hints and tips for players on how to rack up a high score in Sniper Challenge?
TB: Find all the challenges as they serve as static multipliers. Headshots, concealing bodies and moving targets are all giving good points especially in streaks. Observe the environment and find your perfect succession of targets. Other than that, you’re on your own.
GZ: Would you ever consider releasing a multi-level, fully-fledged spin-off Hitman game built around the mechanics of Sniper Challenge?
TB: Well, I would say that depends on the response and fate of the Sniper Challenge. It is not impossible to imagine a game built around these challenges exist within the Hitman universe. I know the team would love to make more of these maps as they pose a different challenge to create than a regular Hitman level and we already have some ideas for similar maps. Time will tell…
GZ: We can see its structure working quite well for a PSN/XBLA title.
TB: That would be a natural choice, yes, as would Steam.
GZ: Will there be any missions similar to Hitman: Sniper Challenge in Hitman: Absolution?
TB: Not exactly, no. The way the scoring mechanics and controls works are unique for Sniper Challenge. Of course, there will be sniping in Absolution but not as a unique level mechanic.
For more information on Hitman: Sniper Challenge, including information on how you can get yourself a download code, click here.
Alternatively, take a look at our in-depth hands-on with the game.
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