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January 28, 2006
Hitman: Blood Money - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
1/6/2006SciIo Interactive1$99.95

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Sneaking up from behind.
Eidos have been struggling financially in recent years, and indeed were recently bought out by Sci, but they have three big franchises to fall back on Tomb Raider, Commandos and Hitman. While the former should be familiar to any gamer from the last ten years or so, and Commandos will be well known by PC gamers the latter series, Hitman, is a series which sells in big numbers, and continues to go from strength to strength as time goes on.

In Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 finds himself in the midst of a war between two rival contract agencies. When assassins from his contract agency, the ICA, are systematically eliminated in a series of hits, it seems a larger, more powerful agency has entered the fray. Suddenly, Agent 47 loses contact with the ICA. Sensing that he may be the next target, he travels to America where he attempts to carry on with business as usual.

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3 on 1 - not good odds.
Agent 47 is back and this time he’s paid in cold, hard cash. How the money is spent will affect his passage through the game and the weapons at his disposal, resulting in a unique gameplay experience for each player. Powered by a new version of Io’s Glacier engine, Hitman: Blood Money will deliver the most brutal and realistic simulation of life as the world’s deadliest assassin.

In terms of gameplay we can expect several changes and enhancements over previous titles. Firstly the cleaner the ‘hit’ the more money you receive which can be spent on reducing your notoriety, weapon customisation, specialist equipment and information. Indeed it is this feature which has given the name its title, Blood Money.

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Crack with the baseball bat.
Notoriety now plays a major role in the game as any actions which you take can affect the rest of the game world. After missions you'll be able to read newspaper reports with your dirty deeds detailed, and the way in which it was covered up.

There are many other new features directly related to how you play the game. These include new methods of distraction, accidents, body disposal, human shield, and even decoy weapons. Do you want more? Well Agent 47 can now climb, hide, scale ledges and automatically pass low obstacles. It certainly seems as if the games developers, Io Interactive - who also worked on the previous titles, have added in quite a bit to keep gamers coming back for more.

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Are those bottles empty?
The developers are promising improved AI for the game. Guards will follow blood trails, investigate suspicious items and behave in a much more realistic manner. A new and improved pathfinder engine provides improved tracking and movement with realistic enemy behaviour and interaction.

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A human shield - always handy.
Audio should play a major part in the game with composer Jesper Kyd enlisting the help of the 150-piece Budapest Symphony Orchestra and Choir to complete the music for this game - a task which was apparently completed in November 2005. Jesper will also be composing several electronic based tracks for inclusion into the game.

Eidos, which has been bought out and is now owned by SCi, have been struggling of late but mid-2006 promises to be a monster period for the company as they are set to unleash new titles in their big three franchises.Tomb Raider Legend was a wonderful return to form for the series selling 2.6 million units in the first few weeks while Commandos: Strike Force has also received positive reviews. Hitman: Blood Money is set for release and promises to deliver the goods on June 1st.