In this day and age, you can't so much mention a game name in HTML code or upload a jpeg file without someone finding it and leaking an announcement before its time. Earlier today, WB Games started a 72-hour countdown livestream (opens in new tab) for a pre-E3 reveal of an unannounced game, showing only a looping snippet of a pit crew working on a souped up race car. Given the distinctly NASCAR-esque imagery, everyone assumed this would be a new racing game - but a Hitman 2 logo that briefly appeared on WB Games' sitemap (before being taken down in what I assume was a blind panic) says otherwise.
Hitman 2 logo leaked on WB Games teaser site https://t.co/J0TpT5M5L1 pic.twitter.com/15akEA8o4HJune 4, 2018
After the critically acclaimed return of Hitman (opens in new tab) in 2016, which used an episodic structure in place of the previous games' conventional campaigns, Square Enix opted to sell off series developer IO Interactive (opens in new tab). In June 2017, IO managed to buy itself out (opens in new tab) from its former parent company, retaining the rights to Agent 47 and his professional killing ways. And last November, IO confirmed that more Hitman was in development (opens in new tab), promising "franchise firsts" and saying more could be shared "at some point" in 2018. It seems that time has finally come.
The big question here is: will this Hitman also be episodic? The logo suggests that Hitman 2 - and not Hitman Season Two - will be its own beast, and my money is on a more traditional campaign that drops all at once. Season One's episodic format led to some great reasons to come back, like the ever-changing Elusive Targets missions, but by my estimation it seemed like the general public didn't know when to jump in, and the game as a whole never got its big moment to shine (despite the inevitable Game of the Year Edition rerelease).
So how does that teaser livestream tie in, exactly? My guess is that it's a brilliant bit of misdirection unfortunately spoiled by an errant bit of site design: that shot we see of a racer zipping up his suit would eventually pan up to reveal Agent 47's bald head in the full reveal. Either that, or 47 will manage to make a miracle sniper shot on a driver going 200mph to complete his contract. We'll know for sure when the livestream finishes its countdown on Thursday at 10am PT (the same date teased by a new post (opens in new tab) on the official Hitman Twitter account). If WB Games ends up revealing two unannounced games via a new Hitman and a racing title, I'll eat my silenced pistol; all I ask is that you hide my dead body in a dumpster before you leave.
For more of what we hope to see at E3 this year, check out all the biggest E3 2018 games (opens in new tab).