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Hitman: Blood Money

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Genre: Action
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: IO Interactive
Release Date: May 30, 2006 (US), May 26, 2006 (EU)

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PS2/Xbox/PC Preview - 'Hitman: Blood Money'

by Rainier on Jan. 1, 2006 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

When assassins from Agent 47's contract agency, The ICA, are eliminated in a series of hits, it seems a larger, more powerful agency has entered the fray. For Agent 47 it's business as usual, until he suddenly loses contact with The ICA. Sensing that he may be the next target, he travels to America, where he prepares to make a killing.

Genre: Stealth/Action
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Io Interactive
Release Date: Fall 2005

Eidos' showroom at E3 was small, quiet, and altogether more intimate than many of the experiences we had on the show floor. But this also meant it was absolutely packed with fans and journalists who were dying to get a closer look at the Eidos lineup. We did good to squeeze in a close look at Hitman: Blood Money, with the developers on hand to answer a lot of questions.

Hitman: Blood Money is the latest in the line of Hitman games that began in 2000 on the PC. Blood Money is set to be a multiplatform release, although the version we looked at was a partial PC build. The title is reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid in many respects, with an emphasis on edgy political espionage and stealth gameplay. Unlike Metal Gear, Blood Money focuses on giving the player the freedom to decide how to achieve their objectives. This, in turn, will affect the difficulty level of the game and also alter the details of the game's overall story.

In the demo, we saw a level of the game where Hitman is trying to assassinate a South African politician in an Egyptian-themed hotel. While the graphics were not especially impressive on their own, as this game was only a partial build, there was a striking attention to detail in the placement of NPCs and the AI behaviors. The hotel was believably full of random tourists, who had a convincingly wide array of different body types. The tourists would wander about the hotel the way real tourists do, and Hitman could opt to interact with them in any way he wished. The player could opt to "Rambo" through the game, as the developer put it, or could play it safe by using stealth and deception to set up his kills.

Taking the "Rambo" path would make Hitman's actions more visible to the police and media, and make setting up kills in subsequent levels more difficult. The AI would grow more vigilant, and more police officers would be on hand to try and get in Hitman's way. Playing the stealthy way would require a more careful approach, as Hitman would need to make sure he had scouted out good places to hide bodies. A really stealthy player could make his hits look like accidents, which would make setting up subsequent kills in later levels a bit easier. The trade-off is that doing things the stealthy way in Blood Money is more time-consuming, as it requires a very meticulous sense of strategy from the player. There will be lots of elements in the game present to try and tempt players into making foolish decisions – particularly, a selection of about 60 realistic and high-tech weapons, five of them upgradeable.

Hitman: Blood Money is set to go on sale this fall, and we look forward to seeing how it shapes up as the year progresses.

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