Hitman 2: Silent Assassin - Helle Marijnissen
Ferrago probe IO Interactive's Project Coordinator...
Our recent Hitman 2 preview (click here to visit it) left us with few remaining questions pertaining to IO/Eidos' upcoming action title. Hence Mr Jackson spent a little more time in the world of the Hitman, grilling Helle Marijnissen on this rather exciting Spring release. You say that you are aiming to create the most stylish game in the genre. Just how do you plan to make this game so ‘stylish’? Are we talking Max Payne style ‘cool’, Devil May Cry ‘gothic’ or just some nice art deco arches? Helle Marijnissen: Well both Max Payne and Devil May Cry are very cool looking games, but they’re also very ‘traditional’ in the sense of using gothic castles and New York back alleys (not that it’s by any means a bad thing). We try to pick locations that are a bit different; like for instance a Sicilian Mafia mansion on a summers day or a hospital building inside an old Indian palace. Were you pleased with the feedback from the original Hitman? Helle Marijnissen: Yes, and by that I mean both the good and bad. Of course you ignore the extreme but generally we’re happy with the feedback, it gave us a good picture of what people liked and didn't. What’s the setting for the game this time round? Are we talking a bustling metropolis or a quiet country village? Helle Marijnissen: Both. Hitman travels to Sct. Petersburg, India, Japan and some other rather exotic locations. Just to what extent do you plan to use the current technology at your disposal (new 3D cards and Uber PC’s)? Helle Marijnissen: It’s always hard with PC’s because the different 3Dcards have different special features. Generally the engine has been optimised to handle a far greater number of polygons. One of the complaints were that the viewing distances were very limited so we increased it from about 40 metres to about 300; and still the geometry is far more detailed. How much work has gone into overhauling the graphics engine from the original? Helle Marijnissen: A lot, our biggest headeache was to make everything run at 60fps on a Playstation2 and still fit into the PS2’s 32meg of RAM. The nice thing is that when you optimise the engine for a console it gets quicker on the PC aswell. Tell us about the score for Hitman 2, we hear that it’s a little special… Helle Marijnissen: The music has been composed (again) by Jesper Kyd, who normally specializes in techno music. This time its completely different, and has been recorded by a 120 piece Symphonic Orchestra. Any vehicles that we can utilise in Hitman 2? Helle Marijnissen: Hitman is able to climb onboard certain vehicles and use them as transport, but you won’t see Hitman turning into a driving game. How did you guys come up with some of these mission ideas (especially the likes of the poison blow-fish!) Do you work for the CIA or something! Helle Marijnissen: Some of the guys in the company come from the Danish Secret Service and of course they have a lot of experience in the field that they share. No, really, it’s just crazy ideas that comes out of some of our brainstorm meetings. Some of the ideas are spawned when reading newsgroups where gamers discuss what they would like to see in the game. We hear that the missions in Hitman 2 will be almost ‘free-roaming’ and that you can choose several different routes. Just how much freedom can we expect to see? Helle Marijnissen: We have cut-down on the amount of things you have to do in each mission, and increased the amount of ‘routes’. This makes for different solutions. Of course your choice of weapon also makes a difference, you can take out the target (or a guard that might give you trouble later) from a distance with the sniper rifle or you can take the backway and sneak up close. The disguises also have different levels of protection, for example a fireman suit with a gas mask is far better than a bodyguard suit and a pair of sunglasses. The weapons are very important to the role of Hitman, what kind of arsenal can we expect to see this time round (I’m hoping high calibre sniper rifles are involved)? Helle Marijnissen: You will be able to use more ‘normal’ objects as weapons (golf clubs, fire-axes, etc.), and yes, a .cal 50 sniper rifle is in the game (it’s good for stopping armoured vehicles). How big will the finished game be? Roughly how many hours of gameplay will the true gamer be able to squeeze out? Helle Marijnissen: That depends completely on which type of gamer you are. The levels can all be completed the true Hitman-way (completely undetected, only killing your target) or you can blast your way through. Of course the blasting-way will be quicker, but I’ll say they’re should be at least 30-40 hours of gameplay, but as it was the case with Hitman 1 there’ll be quite a lot of re-play time when you go back to earlier missions and try to complete them in another way. Any multiplayer shenanigans planned? Please? Pretty please? Helle Marijnissen: Given the short development time we have not been able to implement any networking. We’re working on networking technology here at IO-Interactive but it will not be ready for Hitman 2. A later add-on possibly would definately be nice, we’re swimming in cool multiplayer ideas (both in-house and fan-stuff). Do you like the idea of being a hitman yourself? If so, could I hire you? I’m having some trouble with some associates of mine... Helle Marijnissen: Well, before IO was founded we used to have a small ‘service-company’. A few of the workers are still active so I have sent one your way. I’ll mail the account number. The payment better be on time otherwise I have to give him an extra job before he goes home(!). Don’t you ever fancy making a nice little friendly game, with bunnies and Kittens, with absolutely no Sig 9mm’s or AK47’s and such? Helle Marijnissen: Nah, that’s already been done. Finally, can you sum up Hitman 2 in one sentence? Helle Marijnissen: Think, then kill. Remember, for another account of Hitman 2, our full preview of the game may also be of interest. Click here.