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HITMAN 2’s lead designer Andreas Krogh talks progression and difficulty

The upcoming reboot sequel of the classic Hitman franchise will drop next month.  IO Interactive’s HITMAN 2 (2018) will inevitably knock us all away with deception at its very finest. The Danish developers have had media pop into their studios for stealthy previews of the game before release. Now with some embargos lifted, the company removes the veil on one of the main aspects of Hitman that encourages replayability – difficulty and progression.

Travelling across the world to showcase their exciting project, IO Interactive gave press unrestricted access to two levels of the game and a new mode. Miami and Colombia display HITMAN 2‘s versatility in level design and objective choice. However, what we are really interested in is how the sequel will provide longevity with intuitive progression and difficulty changes.

A hot topic online since the announcement of the successor, IO Interactive asks head-honcho Andreas Krogh, Lead Game Designer on the project, to speak about the ambitions for these two areas and what players can expect from them when the game launches.

Krogh begins by speaking about the progression system’s focus on ‘mastering locations’.  Mastering each level in the game unlocks new starting locations, agency pickups, and fun items to open up new creative options for players to take in each mission. This can be done by completing challenges or earning ‘Performance XP‘.

“Performance XP is a new system and acts as a second avenue to accumulate experience points. The Performance system awards a small amount of XP for doing moment-to-moment actions during a playthrough, like taking someone out silently, hiding a body or killing a target.”

All this can be monitored in ‘Player Profiles‘ that level up by earning XP and Mastery, accompanied by a shiny badge presenting player skill.  Additionally, Krogh explains “XP systems will also work on the Season One locations within HITMAN 2 if you own the Legacy Pack. Because of that, we’ve tweaked the mastery tracks for the Legacy locations so that they give a more directed progression of unlocks and the ambition is to give you something valuable whenever you invest time into the game.”

Evidently, IO Interactive isn’t simply making new levels and tweaking the previous title for another quick cash-in. They are thinking long and hard about how they want HITMAN 2 to represent itself in the market, with longevity in the forefront of their goals.

Three difficulty levels will feature in the sequel:

  • Casual for new players. Gives all players a relaxed way to explore the game without fear of failing.
  • Professional is balanced to give players a feeling of being a true assassin. It includes all the game’s core mechanics for a full experience.
  • Master presents an extra challenge. Players almost certainly need to approach every situation with strategy and stealth to survive. Those who overcome it receive Mastery and exclusive unlocks.

More details about HITMAN 2 will be coming in the weeks leading up to release. Don’t forget to keep up to date by following Checkpoint on social media and reading the website. HITMAN 2 releases 13 November 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.