Square Enix’s Hitman model is dangerously consumer positive
We’re only a few years removed from Square-Enix being on the brink of financial ruin. Final Fantasy XIV pulled them into the green with its well received re-launch, and they locked in some money with the timed exclusive status of Rise of the Tomb Raider. While the news that Final Fantasy 7 remake would be broken into parts cause quite the stir, the announcement that Hitman will be broken into episodes should be met with a sigh of relief… for the consumers at least.
The next iteration in the Hitman franchise will be released in chunks over the span of 2016, with the first to drop in March in a $15 base package. From there, each additional episode will drop a month apart for $10 each. The new episodes will each add new locales such as Italy, Japan, and more
to the base game’s Paris. Players will also be able to buy the game in a more traditional fashion at the $60 mark.
On the development side, this allows the game to hit the market sooner than waiting for the full title to come together and also allows time to address community concerns between releases. On the flipside, Square is taking a huge risk. If the base game isn’t reviewed well, the sales of the extra episodes could tank and be a major hit on development costs as the team prepares additional pieces. There’s the possibility that many will simply opt for the $60 version, locking in the investment in the title, but these smaller bites are ultimately beneficial for the consumer. That’s not something I’ve been able to say or type concerning video game business in quite a while.
With developers cutting portions of games out in an effort to streamline costs and focus on what they believe the consumers desire most, giving consumers the option to choose what pieces they want (extra areas, single player/multi-player, etc) could be a good move in the industry. Leave it to a company fresh out of being on the brink of a financial death to find a model that could be the most consumer friendly for the fan-base. Potentially, of course.