Looking Down the Barrel of a Gun: “Hitman: Absolution” And the Upcoming “Sniper Challenge” DLC

Starting May 15th, when you preorder Hitman: Absolution from Gamestop, you’ll be able to unlock and play The Hitman Sniper Challenge DLC on the PS3, PC, and Xbox 360. This “standalone experience” will place you in the well-polished shoes of Agent 47 as he takes aim at businessman Richard Strong from a sniper’s nest overlooking a rooftop party. In this arcade-style mode, you’ll stealthily take out members of Strong’s entourage through your scope as you try to find and eliminate the big man himself (along with unlocking score multipliers and equipment upgrades).

Well, we wanted to know more about this new piece of DLC, so we spoke with Cord Smith, Product Marketing Director for Hitman: Absolution for Square Enix.

MTV Multiplayer: How did Hitman: Sniper Challenge come about?

Cord Smith: During the development of Hitman: Absolution, IO Interactive—in conjunction with the global brand team—built and shared an early prototype of a standalone sniping mission in 2011 that garnered a strong positive response amongst the territory teams. In addition to spawning some heated competition between some of the more hardcore gamers in the mix, discussions about how to utilize this unique Hitman experience turned immediately to pre-order incentives.

Multiplayer: Could you give us a little insight into the overall vision for the game—we understand that you’ve got 15 minutes to take out a target with your rifle, but little else beyond that.

Smith: The Hitman: Sniper Challenge not only re-introduces Agent 47 to gamers everywhere after a long absence, but actually serves as an ingenious prologue to the events that take place within Hitman: Absolution. With regards to the challenge at hand, gamers have a limited amount of time and ammo to assassinate an arms dealer and take out his security staff during a decadent penthouse party. Combos, headshots, body disposals, and an astounding number of secrets and achievements all play a part in dictating the player’s final score.

Multiplayer: What did you think the draw for gamers would be with this experience?

Smith: Impatience is a powerful thing. We felt that Agent 47 had been away from the spotlight for long enough. Why force gamers to wait any longer to accept their next assassination contract when the team had crafted this deep–and incredibly replayable–experience built with the same new technology powering the full game experience?

Multiplayer: To what extent did the team at IO want to get deep into story/narrative here?

Smith: I think the amazing quality of the opening cinematic alone might best answer that question, but while the story of this “hit” connects ingeniously with that of the full game, it’s the deep gameplay and long-lasting challenge of the experience that we hope will ultimately shine through.

Multiplayer: While the game is standalone, are there any plans for interoperability between the Sniper Challenge and Hitman: Absolution (i.e. how Dead Rising: Case 0 carries over XP into Dead Rising 2)?

Smith: Indeed. Hitman: Sniper Challenge is, essentially, the gift that keeps on giving. Players not only retain access to the awesome Kazo TRG sniper rifle in the full game, but all earned upgrades and achievements carry over as well. And let’s not forget about the monthly prizes in the US or the grand prize of earning your likeness in the next Hitman game.

Multiplayer: The initial release says that Agent 47 will be getting rid of some dead bodies here—does that mean players won’t just be looking down a scope in Sniper Challenge?

Smith: In the hands of a professional, a high-powered sniper rifle can accomplish some unexpected feats. Utilizing hyper-accurate hit detection, Hitman: Sniper Challenge allows players to pull off shots that propel victims into fountains, down elevator shafts, and even off the building entirely. Intelligent snipers will use advanced methods to ensure they remain undetected while systematically eliminating the opposition.

Multiplayer: Could we ever expect to see something like Sniper Challenge show up on mobile devices?

Smith: Playing it on PC and console has definitely had us dreaming about taking it on the go, but this is an experience exclusive to the Hitman: Absolution pre-order, meaning this is your one and only chance to enjoy it.

Multiplayer: As for the main game, can we expect anything in the way of a demo leading up to release?

Smith: I can’t divulge details on upcoming phases of our campaign, but I can assure you that the Sniper Challenge provides an excellent early preview of the powerful technology, high production values, and outstanding depth of the full game.

Hitman: Absolution will be available on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC later this year.

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