Hitman has been one of the most confusing projects that's been attempted to be explained to people. That's because oftentimes Square-Enix doesn't seem to quite know how to talk about it - with them at one point insisting it wasn't episodic but having content packs, then delaying to launch with more content, then changing their mind and deciding to go episodic after all and then oddly referring to it as not an episodic game but a platform and in a new post called it episodic again.... Confused yet?
Well good because that's the release so far. One thing though that hasn't really been addressed until now is exactly what the Live component that Square-Enix and IO-Interactive kept referring to throughout the whole period on their episodic game/platform. There are apparently 4 different components that make up the Live component and they will be how IO-Interactive keeps the game updating throughout the year in-between episodes.
Elusive Targets are one of the new additions and are about a limited time challenge essentially. Elusive Targets are all about putting you in the role of a hitman on the clock with a target you need to get to and eliminate them without being found out. To start on an Elusive Target mission you watch a unique briefing video which will tell you about who you're hitting, something about them and why they are in the area they are. That information is in fact key for you locating them as they won't appear on your map with a quest indicator or appear in Instinct as you follow those clues and the photograph you have. Once there you have to figure out how you want to kill them, because with Elusive Targets you only get one shot - there's no saving and retrying here. If you kill the wrong person, or die trying to get away that's it - the target escapes and you'll have failed the mission.
Throughout the season (year) you'll earn in-game rewards for completing multiple Elusive Targets in addition to what you get for each. The rewards will be suits from previous Hitman games and versions of those suits with gloves. All Elusive Targets are designed by IO-Interactive.
If Elusive Targets is IO-Interactive's attempt to bring the assassination fiction to life, Escalation Mode is them putting in a silly challenge mode essentially. With Escalation Mode you are going into an area and given a challenge in a particular area with 5 stages of the challenge that will build on each other and it's more about having fun then the realism attempt of Elusive Targets. The example provided is that the first stage could be to eliminate a target with a sabre, and then the second would be to do so while dressed as a waiter, removing any security camera recordings and within two minutes. Beyond that they might add things like laser trip-mine explosives to spruce up things.
Escalation Mode has a leaderboard and like Elusive Targets it turns off save game functionality while in it so that you can't cheat the system there. You are free to replay it though as much as you want. All Escalation Mode challenges are designed by IO-Interactive.
Returning from Hitman Absolution contracts mode allows you to create your own targets, choose how to kill them and compete against others. While this is community based, IO-Interactive will be watching them and pick the best of them to go into the Featured Contracts list to help keep new things to do flowing towards you.
One last bit that they are wanting to do for Hitman's live content is 'live challenges'. Essentially these are challenges they'll put in based on amusing, difficult, or creative things the community does that gain some traction. The example for one of the first ones they are working on is called 'Hammer time' and is based on a livestream done during the beta by '2AngryGamers' where they used only a hammer to knock out the guards in the 'Final Test'. Note: at this time they aren't guaranteeing that Live Challenges will make it in, but are something they want to do and are testing out right now.
So there you go - that's what Live means to Hitman. Two modes of gameplay feeding you with more to do, and a couple of alternative modes based on what the community does with them tapping it.
What do you think of Hitman's plans for Live Content? Are you interested in this Hitman game? Share your thoughts in the comments below!