Hitman: Absolution marks the triumphant return of Agent 47, but developer IO Interactive is tweaking the classic formula a bit to streamline the assassin's options. Game director Tore Blystad says the wealth of mechanics and options means the controls can't intuitively support it, which necessitates some changes.
"I think, from a control point of view, everyone wants a unified system because it gives a better input; if you can pick up a game and instantly know how things are mapped out," Blystad told Rock Paper Shotgun. "We've been trying that a lot, but we still fail because we have so many extra mechanics that we're running out buttons really quickly."
He says the old game had too many menus and options to offer clarity to the player. "How do we make this simple to understand? We're getting closer to that but without compromising, how to say, fidelity or choice, then making it more obvious for the player how to play the game."
Despite the attempts to simplify the controls, the central gameplay of giving Agent 47 options is remaining a major part of the game. To that end, the team is aiming to make the difficulty more reactive to the player's decisions. "If you go in guns blazing, we know how many NPCs will go into combat mode or send out hunting parties for you, if you run away," he said. "You can seamlessly go back and forth between all these different states. And this is how to show off without trying it out and seeing how my play style is reflected in how the game presents the world to me. This is the biggest challenge we've had, to feel linear but not be linear."
Hitman: Absolution is due for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 this year, and is one of Jeff's most anticipated 2012 games.