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Everything We Know About Hitman 3 - Year 2

While fans still heatedly debate whether they prefer the classic "Hitman" formula or that of IO Interactive's newer "World of Assassination" trilogy, there's no denying that the newest "Hitman" games have taken great lengths to modernize the series. Offering some genuine fun and tense gameplay, 2021's "Hitman 3" particularly continues to set itself apart from predecessors while once again setting players in the shoes of the deadly Agent 47. Players have spent the last year sneaking around and dispatching targets to their heart's content, but the developers have now revealed there's more on the way.


IO Interactive has announced what players can expect from the second year of "Hitman 3," showcasing an evolution in how fan-favorite Elusive Targets will work and offering glimpses at both VR and an all-new mode. From the sound of things, players will have a lot to look forward to throughout the year, and with the "Hitman Trilogy" collection releasing across multiple platforms, it's the perfect time for newcomers to jump on board. Here's everything we know about Year 2 of "Hitman 3."

Elusive Targets are changing in Hitman 3's Year 2

Elusive Targets have been a mainstay of the "World of Assassination" trilogy dating back to 2016's "Hitman." Traditionally, Elusive Targets are a contract that players can accept from the main menu. These Targets are time-sensitive and can only be attempted during a limited in-game event. Players only get one attempt at the Elusive Target, with a player death or a Target's escape meaning players have lost their chance at the potential rewards — at least until the next time that particular Target returns to the game. 


This exclusivity led to players coming up with creative ways to tilt the odds in their favor. IO Interactive is changing things up for Year 2 in "Hitman 3," replacing standard Elusive Targets with the new Elusive Target Arcade.

Elusive Target Arcade will challenge players in new ways, putting them against a succession of multiple targets and introducing further complications after each successful kill. However, if players can manage to eliminate every target, they'll be generously rewarded with unique equipment, which can then be used in other game modes. 

To help balance the increased difficulty, IO Interactive has also changed how failure is penalized. Instead of preventing players from undertaking the challenge again, "Hitman 3" will only lock players out for 12 hours. Elusive Target Arcade will be available beginning January 20.


Hitman goes to virtual reality

Players who are always on the hunt for a more immersive gaming experience will be pleased to learn that IO Interactive is introducing VR to the "Hitman 3" and its predecessors. While this feature will only be available for PC players (at least for now), it'll mean a whole new way to play through the recent "Hitman" titles. 


Bringing VR to "Hitman" in January couldn't be better timing; many gift-givers in the 2021 holiday season opted to make a present out of the Oculus Quest 2 rather than face the near impossibility of locating a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S or Switch OLED amidst continuing shortages and rampant scalping. The Oculus App even became the most downloaded app on Apple's App Store on Christmas Day (per CNBC).

Those who own a VR set-up will be able to take advantage of all the hard work IO Interactive put into making its "Hitman" titles look and feel natural in a VR space. The team went to great lengths to make sure the transition to a new medium wouldn't leave players feeling like they had less mobility or technique, paying particular attention to gunplay and how physical interactions work in-game.


Year 2 introduces Freelancer Mode

The second year of "Hitman 3" aims to deliver another new experience via Freelancer mode. Inspired by the popular roguelike genre, Freelancer offers players a mix of the series' past and present. However, Freelancer is less concerned with the arcade-esque and narrative-heavy campaign and more focused on survival and decision quality. Players will start in a new customizable location, the Safehouse, which will act as a launchpad for the rest of Freelancer. The Safehouse is where players gear up, adopt disguises and plan their next mission.


Freelancer campaigns consist of multiple missions that take Agent 47 across the globe, leading to a final confrontation with the leader of whichever group is being targeted. Players can choose the order in which they pursue each mission, and in that sense, have some control over where the final confrontation occurs. Unlike the regular campaign, players will have to purchase the weapons and gear they want to use, and if it's left behind on a mission, it'll have to be repurchased. Freelancer is set to appear in "Hitman 3" sometime in Spring 2022.

There's more to come in the second year of Hitman 3...

An evolution of Elusive Targets, VR and a new mode are all updates fans will be able to actually play, but IO Interactive announced some exciting updates happening under the hood too. 

At the top of the list for technology improvements are options for PC players to enable ray tracing. "Hitman 3" already looked gorgeous when it launched, but now with improved reflections and more realistic shadows, locations like the Dubai skyscraper and neo-urban Chongqing will look even better. Additionally, the title will benefit from Intel's XeSS machine learning technology and VRS (Variable Rate Shading), which will "boost PC performance by shading at different frequencies in different part of the image, putting more power where it has the most impact" according to IO Interactive.


While there's a lot already on the horizon for "Hitman 3" players, IO Interactive didn't stop there. Before the end of the reveal, the developer confirmed a new map was also in the works for the game — Codename: Rocky. More information on the mysterious map is expected to arrive later in Year 2.

It looks like "Hitman 3" players will have no shortage of content to help fill out their year. For those who might have missed "Hitman 3" last year, or any of its predecessors for that matter, the new "Hitman Trilogy" collection offers an excellent opportunity to get started as Year 2 begins.