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Hitman 3: Release date, gameplay, story and more

IO Interactive
(Image credit: IO Interactive)

Hitman 3 continues the story of everyone’s favorite cold-blooded, badass assassin: Agent 47. This time, you’ll have the option to tiptoe around the world as a murderous stealth master in virtual reality. 

The Hitman 3 release date can’t come soon enough. The exhilaration I’ve gotten from sneakily executing our targets, whether it’s pushing a lawyer off a cliff in Japan or poisoning an engineer’s spaghetti in Italy, defies reason. I’m just imagining the adrenaline rush I’ll get when we play Hitman 3 in VR.

Aside from inventive ways to kill, the Hitman franchise is also well known for its picturesque, graphically impressive missions that will punish your GPU. Locations such as the lively, colorful spice stalls in Marrakesh and the verdant rainforests of Colombia are beyond beautiful. 

Hitman in Marrakesh

A colorful lantern stall in Marrakesh (Hitman) (Image credit: Sony PlayStation)

Thankfully, you’ll get to experience these stunning locales in VR — gamers will have the option to import locations from the last two games in Hitman 3. Woot!

Since Hitman 3 was announced at Sony’s June 11 PlayStation 5 reveal event, juicy news about the highly anticipated installment have trickled in from IO interactive, a Copenhagen-based video-game developer. Here’s everything we know about Hitman 3 so far.

Hitman 3 release date

The Hitman 3 release date is on January 20, 2021.

Hitman 3 will be playable on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X and Google Stadia. The game will arrive on PC, too, but it will be available exclusively via the Epic Games Store for one year. Console players will be happy to know that they’ll have access to free next-gen upgrades. When you buy the PS4/Xbox One version of Hitman 3, you can download the PS5/Xbox Series X equivalent at launch without spending a dime.

Pre-orders for Hitman 3 went live at the end of August. IO Interactive announced they’re launching two versions of Hitman 3 — the standard edition and the deluxe edition. 

Hitman 3 release date

Hitman 3 Deluxe Edition (Image credit: IO Interactive)

The former only features the Hitman 3 base game while the deluxe edition comes with the base game and the deluxe pack, which includes digital soundtracks, cool in-game items, sexy suits and more.

Pre-orders come with a bonus called a Trinity Pack; this features new themed items that represent a game from the World of Assassination trilogy, which includes Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2.

Hitman 3 in VR

You’ll no longer be forced to stare at Agent 47’s bony, bald head throughout a third-person perspective game. In Hitman 3 VR, you are Agent 47. You can look at your victims directly in the eyes or blend into a busy, lively crowd. You will sense how you’re treated differently when you wear a new disguise. Everything will feel more real — perhaps too real — as you simulate the role of an assassin.

Hitman 3 release date

Lead Game Designer Sidsel Marie Hermansen playing Hitman 3 on PlayStation VR (Image credit: IO Interactive)

We got a snippet of Hitman 3 VR gameplay at Sony’s June 11 PlayStation reveal event. Agent 47 enters a swanky, glitzy event from a third-person perspective. Suddenly, the camera switches to VR view. Agent 47 then follows his target into an isolated room and strangles him to death. Hitman 3 VR seems to have all the addicting elements that the previous games had, but it will be intensified in the VR world.

“Hitman for VR is absolutely phenomenal,” Senior Game Designer Eksil Mohl said in an interview. “It’s not a linear game — it’s never been. It’s a sandbox.”

What gamers love about the Hitman series is that it gives players a lot of creative freedom to complete assassination assignments. Agent 47 may get an order to eliminate a target, but he can complete this task in a number of ways, whether it’s smothering the victim with a pillow, luring the target into an electrically-charged puddle, or blowing him up with an exploding rubber duck. 

Hitman 3 release date

Agent 47 walking away from an explosion like the badass he is. (Image credit: IO Interactive)

Mohl promised that Hitman 3 VR will continue the beloved sandbox-game experience where gamers can formulate their own strategies and plans, but it will be magnified thanks to the immersion of virtual reality.

Describing her experience with Hitman 3 VR, Lead Game Designer Sidsel Marie Hermansen said she often found herself getting distracted in the game. Like previous games, Hitman 3 will have NPCs engaging in conversations that provide useful hints for completing an assassination assignment. As such, with many different conversations at play, you may find yourself losing focus like Hermansen did, so make sure to keep your eyes on the prize like a true assassin.

IO Interactive

Holding a crowbar in Hitman 3 (Image credit: IO Interactive)

Another fascinating aspect of Hitman 3 VR is that using weapons will mimic real-world maneuvers. For example, on previous games, knocking people out with a crowbar required a boring ol’ press of a button. With Hitman 3 VR, you can employ a swinging motion — as you would in real life — to knock someone out cold. Interestingly, IO Interactive gushed about how you can even use a frying pan to deflect bullets flying your way.

Mohl revealed in an AMA Reddit thread that Hitman 3 VR will not be using PlayStation’s Move controllers. Instead, the game will use the DualShock controller — players will be able to take advantage of the gamepad’s motion sensors and gyro aiming. This, to be honest, is a little disappointing, but I won’t knock it until I try it.

Hitman 3 VR will only launch for PlayStation VR headsets, but it’s unclear whether this will change in the future.

Hitman 3 gameplay 

Hitman 3 will continue to implement the most thrilling elements of the series in its upcoming game, including stealth mechanics, freedom of choice, setting up distractions and luring targets into traps.

According to the Hitman 3 VR gameplay trailer, like previous games, you’ll have to blend into the environment — act natural, Agent 47! — and keep your ears peeled for useful conversations. You’ll also have to stalk your target and follow them into isolated areas to complete your assignment. It seems like Agent 47 will still be equipped with his infamous “fiber wire” weapon to strangle victims.

Hitman 3 release date

Fiber wire in Hitman 3 (Image credit: Future)

IO Interactive also revealed a short clip of Agent 47 posing as a detective to sneak into a mansion, so wearing disguises is another beloved Hitman element that will be featured in the upcoming game. The Copenhagen-based video developer also revealed that gamers can still do a lot of hiding in Hitman 3, whether it’s blending into the shrubbery to dodge bodyguards or sneaking into closets to keep an eye on targets.

As per the PlayStation blog, Hitman 3 will have “unparalleled player choice and replayability in mind.” Similar to previous Hitman IPs, the upcoming game will encourage you to replay missions. Who knew there were so many ways to kill someone? In Hitman 2, for example, you could kill Alma Reynaud, a Spanish freelance assassin, by poisoning her honey, shooting her while she brushes her teeth, tampering with her ventilation system and more. 

Hitman 3 release date

Agent 47 stalking his target (Image credit: IO Interactive)

This entices gamers to replay missions to try different kills and Hitman 3 will feature the same replayability.

Unlike Hitman 2, Hitman 3 will not have a 1v1 multiplayer component. In addition to playing the campaign, there will be four modes you can enjoy: Elusive Targets, Escalations, Contracts and Sniper Assassin. In Elusive Targets, you’ll have only one shot to eliminate a target. You also won’t have Agent 47’s “instinct” power nor will you have any HUD help. Escalations mode challenges your assassin skills with difficult gameplay restrictions (e.g. additional security cameras). Contacts mode lets you choose your own target and elimination rules. And lastly, Sniper Assassin mode focuses on long-range elimination assignments. 

Hitman 3 story 

During a livestream at the end of June, Hitman 3 developers revealed that the upcoming IP will be “a lot more mature, serious and darker,” according to NME. However, there will still be some doses of humor sprinkled throughout the game.

Marketing copy for Hitman 3 claims the game will be the “dramatic conclusion to the World of Assassination trilogy.” The World of Assassination trilogy includes the previous two games, and in the third and final chapter, Agent 47 will go on another globetrotting adventure. 

Hitman 3 release date

Globetrotting Agent 47 (Image credit: IO Interactive)

In Hitman 3, Agent 47’s main objective is to eliminate the partners of Providence, an incredibly powerful, ancient secret society that controls the world. Providence was founded after three extremely rich dynasties came together to merge their monetary resources into one, giving them unbridled power and influence over global affairs.

Agent 47 has it out for Providence because they are an evil organization that funded Dr. Ort-Meyer’s unethical genetic engineering programs, which birthed Agent 47 and molded him to become the perfect assassin. Despite Agent 47’s top-of-the-line murdering skills that got him a cushy job at the ICA (a global conglomerate that employs professional hitmen around the world), he remains traumatized by the lasting effects of Dr. Ort-Meyer’s evil experiments. 

Hitman 3 release date

Lucas Grey (Image credit: IO Interactive)

In Hitman 3, Agent 47 will team up with Diana Burnhood, his ICA handler, and his long-lost, childhood friend, Lucas Grey, to eradicate Providence. You should also expect to take down anyone else connected to Providence’s web of evil.

Hitman 3 setting

So far, we know that Agent 47 will be discharged to two new locations: Dubai and Dartmoor, England.

According to the Hitman 3 VR trailer, Agent 47 will attend a plush event in Dubai that has a mix of high-brow tourists and wealthy men dressed in traditional white Arab clothing. The posh venue features beautiful gold accents around doorways and modern, minimalist furniture.

Hitman 3 release date

Hitman 3 (Image credit: Future)

In another trailer, we see Agent 47 scaling a Dubai skyscraper — he’s so high in the sky, he can see clouds hovering below him. In one scene, Agent 47 is wearing a skydiving suit, which suggests the professional assassin didn’t get to the top of the Dubai skyscraper by taking an elevator.

In Dartmoor, England, Agent 47 will pay a visit to an old-money family by pretending to be an investigator. The family’s mansion is humongous and grand, but it looks ancient and haunted. The dark halls are filled with creepy portraits of forefathers. 

Hitman 3 release date

Dartmoor Manor in Hitman 3 (Image credit: IO Interactive)

The most stunning room in the mansion is the dining room, which features an opulent chandelier, a grand piano and intricately carved furniture. One of the most alluring aspects of the Hitman series is that you are free to explore your beautiful surroundings. Missions are typically not time sensitive, so exploring Dubai and Dartmoor should be an exciting experience, especially in VR. 

According to the Epic Games Store pre-order page, the minimum system requirements for Hitman 3 are Windows 10, a 3.3-GHz Intel Core i5-2500K CPU or AMD Phenom II X4 940 CPU, 8GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 GPU or AMD Radeon HD 7870 GPU and 80GB of storage.

The recommended requirements for Hitman 3 are Windows 1, a 4-GHz Intel Core i7-4790 CPU (no AMD CPU equivalent mentioned), 16GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 GPU or AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 GPU and 80GB of storage. Be sure to check out our best VR-ready laptops, each of which can handle Hitman 3 in VR.

I am excited to see the GPU-punishing, beautiful locales that Agent 47 will visit. As we get closer to the January 20, 2021 release date, IO Interactive will reveal four more locations for a total of six sites. With the ability to import locations from the last two games, IO Interactive boasts that fans can explore over 20 exotic sites in Hitman 3.

At the risk of sounding like a total psychopath, I can’t wait to step into the shoes of Agent 47, wear disguises, sneak into buildings and successfully complete assassination assignments using my own creative strategies. While I wish Hitman 3 VR could be optimized for other virtual reality headsets besides PlayStation VR at launch, I still look forward to immersing myself in the final chapter of the World of Assassin trilogy. As the Hitman 3 tagline says, “Death awaits!”