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HitmanHQ Mailbag
by: Tech21 | October 18, 2001

In this special edition of the HitmanHQ mailbag, we have finally decided to disclose to the public a series of e-mails that, in all consideration, should have never left the hard drives of their original recipients. Over the course of twenty days, jobs were lost, reputations were shattered, and the bitter rivalry between two seemingly unrelated development studios was brought to the forefront. It's a wrenching epic of betrayal, as a defectant rogue within Remedy Entertainment, creators of Max Payne, releases the company's true opinions of IO Interactive and Edios to a select group of journalists.

On Thursday, August 30, at approximately 4:03 p.m., the following e-mail arrived in the mailbox of several staff members at Gamespot.com, as well as the HitmanHQ mailbox and that our good friend Blank.

FROM: Anna Olinsky
SUBJECT: ripoffs

we are disappointed that eidos and their game hitman
feel they must copy max payne
read this shit:


graphics don't make games good
gameplay does
and they should not copy ours
hitman2 is nothing but an add-on disk that took 8 months to make
eidos sux

Taken at face value, this e-mail appears as nothing more than the accute opinions of a distressed fan. However, upon further inspection, looking between the lines, we are able to discern the true implications of such a statement. Two subtle clues - simple pronouns - reveal much about the author, who under the use of an obvious fake Hotmail account, wished to conceal her identity. And that was her mistake.

The painful truth.

First, take a look at the top line: "we are disappointed." There's really no problem with the use of a collective pronoun in this case. She could easily be referring to her friends, perhaps a brother or sister, or maybe even the entire Max Payne fan community as a whole. But scanning down several lines, we can see her first real blunder: "they should not copy ours." Maybe she wasn't meticulous enough. Perhaps she forgot how to spell Remedy. Whatever the case, Anna Olinsky (if that is her real name), slipped up. We now knew she was indeed inside the industry. She was inside Remedy.

After a sleepless night of wondering, when, how, or even if, the next message would come, I was beckoned by the gentle chime of my Outlook inbox. There it was, staring me in the face, Anna's second e-mail. It was 2:23 a.m.

FROM: Anna Olinsky
SUBJECT: thanx for your review

the guys at eidos have been to our studio many times
we worked on our game for nearly 5 years
we put the time in while they released early
watch how much copying of max goes into hitman 2
hitman2 was supposed to be updated levels just an add on disk
now eidos has made it a game
supposedly a sequel which it is not.
even their own developers are complaining.

She had replied to my response, and she knew the cat was out of the bag. It would be smooth running from here on out. So it was true: employees of Eidos Interactive were visiting Remedy Entertainment during the production of Max Payne and stealing ideas for Hitman 2. The motives are unclear from this e-mail, but one can assume with all the creative input Eidos provides to IO Interactive, this was an ingenious plan of deception. How could a Danish development studio gain access to closed-doors information from inside Remedy? The Baltic is a big sea. It was highly improbable. It was perfect.

Next: The Plot Thickens...


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