While Hitman released to critical acclaim one of the biggest issues facing the game has been the nature of its episodic release schedule. Some fans are happy enough with it, some are outraged and the rest are just confused as to why Io-Interactive would break the game up like this in the first place. Well, the answer to why it is being broken up episodically probably goes something like this: The developers want people to play the game for as long as possible before switching to something else. They are using a combination of an episodic release pattern and live content updates to keep players engaged with the game for as long as possible.
How successful has their goal of keeping players engaged been then? To answer that question I’ve turned to none other than PSN’s trophy list for the game. I’ve included two up-to-date screenshots from my PS4 down below to help answer that question. Firstly though I want to mention that according to the trophies rarity ratings only around 60% of the players that have purchased the game have completed the Paris Show Stopper mission, that would be a fairly respectable completion percentage for a full retail game but I’d expect it to be higher for this because players only need to complete one mission not a twelve hour campaign to unlock the trophy.
Anyway the main question here is how successful has the episodic release and live content updates been at keeping players engaged? The trophies indicate that it hasn’t been very successful at all. If you look at the ‘Training Escalated’ trophy from the first screenshot below you’ll see that only 7.7% of players have obtained it. Now it is likely that more players attempted the mission than those who completed it, but it does indicate that a very low percentage of players actually found Hitman’s live content updates to be an enticing reason to stick around. This is further backed up by the ‘Paris Escalated’ trophy, which is shown in the second screenshot down below. Only 4% of players have obtained this trophy, which indicates that even fewer players felt the second set of Escalation missions were worth coming back for.
All in all then Hitman’s trophy list indicates that the game’s episodic release and live content updates have not been overly successful in keeping players engaged with the game. The most recent content update was the one with the Paris Escalation missions and apparently only 4% of players thought they were worth completing, as pointed out it’s likely that more that 4% of players attempted the mission but it’s unlikely that the number is much higher. I actually reviewed Hitman for Pure PlayStation earlier this week and I absolutely loved it, but one of my biggest concerns was that the episodic release might damage the game long term due to it forcing players to play the same map over and over again. Obviously only time will tell if the release pattern has been as damaging as the trophies indicate so I’ll probably be revisiting the situation after the next map has been released to see if it has changed.
Psst. Did you know we’re on Twitter? We’ve got a brand new account and it’s looking a bit empty. Give us a follow and stay up to date with the latest PlayStation news. We don’t bite (unless you’re into that).