IO Interactive‘s (IOI) Hitman franchise is among the very few video game series that have kept on innovating. The franchise’s first release was in 2000, and somehow, IO Interactive made things so interesting with each passing entry that 2021’s Hitman 3 received critical acclaim upon release.
As per the studio, this marks the end of their World of Assassination trilogy. But let’s move on to the more pressing matter on hand. Where’s Hitman 4? There’s a lot the developer has said regarding the future of the IP, and here’s the full scoop.
Is Hitman 4 Happening?
If you’re looking for the short version, yes, Hitman 4 will happen in the future. But that’s putting it out very blatantly. In reality, IO Interactive doesn’t have any intentions of making another Hitman game for now. So if you’re hoping to get your hands on a sequel soon, that’s unfortunately out of the picture.
Despite the overwhelming success of the third installment in IOI’s World of Assassination trilogy, it was settled beforehand by the studio that there won’t be a fourth installment in the series. Instead, when the developers finally decide to revisit the Hitman-verse, they’re planning on doing a reboot — at least that’s what they’ve stated officially.
They tend to keep things pretty loose with the endings of their games. Hitman: Absolution did tease the plotline further, but a sequel to it never happened. We got the World of Assassination trilogy instead. Similarly, Hitman 3 has already set up a plethora of story paths. But whether they’ll ever be explored is as good as anyone’s guess.
Hitman’s On a Hiatus
Any chance of a Hitman 4 or any other AAA Hitman game for that matter is on hold at IOI. The company has actually moved on to pursue another original IP at the moment, and while that may seem like bad news, they didn’t leave us hanging in the dark about the highly anticipated sequel.
Speaking to Eurogamer, IO Interactive’s chief creative officer, Christian Elverdam stated:
“Right now a major, major new Hitman game: that’s a little bit on hiatus……”
Elverdam and IOI’s CEO, Hakan Abrak, followed this notion by saying that this is a creative decision. It was influenced by their not wanting to be known as the “Hitman-only studio“. IOI does have a penchant for creating masterful games set in the stealth genre, and it’s only right for them to diversify their portfolio by forging another franchise.
That’s also the reason why IOI has announced they’re working on an original James Bond game titled “Project 007“. From what I can gather so far, Project 007 will be IOI’s first foray into building a new IP in the past 13 years. It’s great that they’re finally developing something we’ve never seen before. But well, that may have put many fans who were hoping for Hitman 4 on edge.
Although it isn’t much, Elverdam said the following about a future entry that should take your stress levels down:
“Obviously we’ll come back to beloved Agent 47. He’s still very much in the heart of this company.”
The Bond Game Is Taking The Spotlight
Project 007 was announced a little while after Hitman 3 was met with superb reviews. A lot of people are presuming it’s going to be another stealth game by the developer since that’s IOI’s home ground, but I’d say the action is more of a priority here. And that sounds right as Project 007 is meant to be a different sort of game.
Nevertheless, James Bond is known to be subtle on some occasions — he is a secret agent after all. A mix of Splinter Cell and Uncharted wouldn’t be a bad assumption about gameplay. That, instilled with IOI’s Hitman magic would make for an interesting play.
The game is also going to be an origin story about James Bond, so don’t expect to see Daniel Craig. Besides a couple of pointers, there’s nothing about Project 007 yet. Its release date hasn’t been formally hinted at either, but an earnings report of the company stated they’re expecting revenue to decline in the years 2024 and 2025 which makes a case for a 2026 release window for their James Bond attempt. Sorry folks, it looks like no Hitman 4 before then.
When’s Hitman 4 Releasing?
Hitman 4 does not have a release date at this moment. There’s been no announcement confirming whether the title is in development. So, unfortunately, it’s going to be a long wait before we have word on a potential release window.
Project 007 is IO Interactive’s next AAA game, and it doesn’t have a launch date set yet. As you’ve read above, 2026 might be when the Bond game releases. And only after then can we actually hope to hear about Agent 47’s future. If 2026 does end up being when Project 007 hits markets worldwide, then 2028 at the earliest would be when we hear about Hitman 4, and that’s a really big IF.
A Dry Decade of Hitman Games Is Ahead
With Project 007’s release shaping up to be years away, it isn’t looking good for Hitman 4. IO Interactive has been killing it for over a decade with their Hitman games. The World of Assassination trilogy, and the original series that ended with Absolution, all have gone on to receive universal praise from gamers.
Why I’m bringing that up is because when you have a studio this amazing, their future titles also tend to turn out spectacular. Project 007 is a strong contender for success, and if that happens, IOI may prioritize a sequel instead of resurrecting the Hitman series.
Odds are that they’ll definitely go for a duology or even a trilogy if that fits. It would inevitably further push behind the already far-out Hitman 4 or reboot, perhaps even into the next decade. It sounds insane when you say it out loud, but there’s certainly some truth to this. AAA games in general take very long to develop. And if a sequel to Project 007 ever gets greenlit, it’ll be bye-bye to Agent 47 for another vexing number of years.
But IO Interactive’s CCO did say Agent 47’s still at the heart of the company. If they don’t choose to make Hitman 4 themselves, they might outsource the IP for the first time ever. Outsourcing would provide a fresh spin on the universe. And wouldn’t be negatively received by fans since getting a new Hitman game trumps waiting for a decade any day.
What Could Hitman 4 Be About?
The World of Assassination trilogy is supposedly now completed, so a reboot should be in order. However, that isn’t enough to dismiss that the developers can continue things from Hitman 3’s epilogue if they do choose to do so.
Diana and Agent 47 had become rogue agents available to hire. But all in all, they wanted to work for the betterment of the world. As “Freelancers” they may get caught up in another international-level conspiracy theory. That may cause them to come out of the shadows to restore order.
When it releases, Hitman 4 could even mark the inception of a completely new trilogy of games. Hitman plots do tend to unfold themselves over the course of multiple games. So whenever the next one arrives, you can be sure that more are right behind it.
In contrast to this, IO Interactive might just reboot the series. But that would also suggest there will be other entries planned in that rebooted universe. Whenever the next Hitman game launches, it’s going to be after the World of Assassination trilogy has aged like fine wine. Because let’s be honest, all the games in the series, especially Blood Money, and Absolution, have only become better with time.
Avoiding Conspiracies Would Be A Nice Change of Pace
Apart from the mind-blowing ways you can kill your targets no matter the scenario, and crisp stealth aspects, Hitman’s storylines have become a little niche. And that’s especially true with the World of Assassination trilogy.
It’s always taking down this government, taking down that government, how about a vendetta or emotional journey for a change in Hitman 4? Settling down, being dragged back into the world of crime, and hunting down those who hurt your loved ones *ahem, Max Payne* would be a stellar idea, but Agent 47 isn’t exactly a heartwarming person so it’s too far-fetched. Although, instead of an origin story, if we get something of a preset Hitman-verse, like what Marvel’s Spider-Man did, then this would definitely be doable.
Hitman: Absolution’s take on Agent 47 was quite different too. Although, yes, it did heavily feature CIA themes, since that’s unavoidable due to Agent 47’s upbringing. Absolution’s looming plotline of protecting Victoria from threats was more gripping than anything else during the course of the entire game. Agent 47 developing bonds with people and saving them or any other version of a story that focuses on social themes would be a terrific narrative to consider.
It seems that IO Interactive has closed the book on its stealth franchise for the time being. Hitman 4 will certainly happen, and Agent 47 will return. But before that time comes, the studio is going to reinvent itself with the release of different IPs. And that’s starting with Project 007. It might not be what you’d like, but since it’s by the same developers we all love, Project 007 may end up feeling like more of a Hitman game than we’d like to admit.