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IO-Interactive Interview Update
by: Tech21 | April 27, 2001

HitmanHQ: Wow - it seems like ages since we last heard from Io-Interactive. After all the post-Hitman partying, what has been the main focus of the team since settling back into the daily grind?

Jens Peter: Did we do any partying .. ? - With our very limited social skills I sincerely doubt it. The main focus has been to get playable levels for Hitman 2 as fast as possible, but with maximum amount of preparations on beforehand. This means long hours.. especially since so much else has been going on. Overall there's been a tremendous amount of work put into the design doc for Hitman 2, and all the levels have been designed and built in a version which is good enough set up gameplay in ASAP. The coders have done a beautiful job (an understatement - we don't want them to develop a self-consciousness) with our production tools and the Glacier-engine, and the artists have been busy building new characters, new props and loads of new weapons.

HitmanHQ: Ok, here's the question everyone is dying to get an answer on. Is Io-Interactive going to release an official level editor for Hitman, and if so, when can we expect it (can you give out any details on the program)?

Jens Peter: No. It has been discussed heavily. It's placed very high on our wish list, but lower ranking than delivering the next game on time in the quality we demand. We know that we can make games that are much better that Hitman 1, both in terms of gameplay and visuals, but it takes a strong focus.

HitmanHQ: The power of the Glacier Engine is phenomenal, and in my personal opinion, is the most underrated 3D technology out there. Has the programming team been working on new developments for the engine, perhaps for future titles?

Jens Peter: You can say that again... The glacier is still the same engine, but it sure looks allot slicker now. We liked the Hitman 1-Glacier because of the flexibility with the AI, dynamics and the ability to do both huge and small levels, but it really wasn't that good at drawing large amounts of polys. That has changed big time. The amount of polys we're pushing now is downright silly. The new polys are mainly being used to make the gameplay better with much longer drawdistance and more characters on screen. The background is extremely detailed now and looks amazing, but the impact the new polys has on the gameplay are much more important.

There's also a number of new AI features headed for Hitman 2. We'd like to keep most of the new features a secret though, but it's no secret that a lot of the gameplay ideas and suggestions have been picked up from forums like your own. We've been listening carefully to thousands of posts on newsgroups (ignored a few as well). Together they give a nice pattern of what people liked, disliked or found disturbing. The last can often be considered a good reaction.

HitmanHQ: One major complaint of Hitman fans is that the game was cut a little short. Can you give any word on a possible official expansion to Hitman?

Jens Peter: There won't be any official expansion for Hitman 1. Again, this is not because we don't recognize the importance of expansion packs and level editors, we just don't want you guys to wait 3 years for our next game, and we don't want to be stuck with yesterday's gameplay or engine.

HitmanHQ: Of course, Io-Interactive is a fairly new company, with Hitman begin your first release. Are going to be branching out to any new titles? Perhaps different genres?

Jens Peter: We're curently two fairly large teams working on two projects.. You already know a tiny bit about Hitman 2. The other project is kept a secret, but if you liked Hitman it's very unlikely that you won't like the second title. It's different in a lot of the gameplay elements, but it's got the same sincerity to it. Right now it doesn't look like a kids game. It looks exactly like something I would love to play when it's finished.

HitmanHQ: Finally, a question for the ages: Exactly who thought up that whole bar-code thing?

Jens Peter: That's hard to figure out. It has a connection to the background story, but it sort of entered the game by a coincident. One of the graphic guys - Jesper V - added the barcode just before the first public appearance at E3. We didn't think much of, but people who saw it all went - "Hmm...Is-that a....a barcode on his head ?" and wanted to know more about it. Reactions like that is important when theres 50 other action-heroes on display. People remembered it and it quickly slid into the story. Whenever we displayed older artwork or screenshots to people they were always like- "ah nice...but..where's his barcode".

HitmanHQ: Well, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule, and good luck with all your future projects.

Jens Peter: No problem, and thank your for your site. I'm truly scared by your screenshot section.

HitmanHQ: Don't worry, it scares me too.

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