Hitman III developer IO Interactive surprised fans when it announced last week that the entire trilogy of stealth titles will be compatible with PlayStation VR when it releases in January 2021 on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The developer released a four-minute video that gives fans a better look at what to expect when stepping into Agent 47’s virtual shoes. This includes a look at the additional freedom players will have when using the contracted killer’s weaponry and how going first-person impacts the gameplay.
Lead game designer Sidsel Marie Hermansen says playing Hitman in virtual reality feels like an entirely new experience. The immersive nature of VR is aided by the existing level of detail, and the studio making sure that each location feels like a lived-in world with characters that have their own routines. The developer describes the experience as being more “powerful” and that it’s easy to get distracted by side conversations that take place.
“Every little thing wants to take center stage,” senior game designer Eskil Mohl explains. “Before in the third-person game, maybe you got a little distracted from something else but now you can’t escape them anymore. They’re right in your face. I found myself traversing the levels slower and just taking everything in because it’s so dense with detail.”
Since players have full control over Agent 47’s hands when playing the PlayStation VR mode, it has resulted in some gameplay changes. Rather than simply pressing a button to unleash a melee attack, players can now swing a crowbar at enemies and even tap their shoulders with it to get their attention beforehand. Likewise, players can now blindly fire around corners that they reach around. The first-person action also adds some risk to going prone on the ground as any vegetation will block the player’s view, creating new challenges for players to tackle when trying to sneak around.
“We are simulating a living world with a lot of different characters,” creative director Christian Elverdam says. “Witnessing that in VR … you feel a part of that living, breathing world in a completely new way. I think it’s going to be raising a few eyebrows.”
While the VR mode is exclusive to PlayStation platforms, Hitman III is also set to release on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Stadia.
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