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Blood Money — Reprisal’ Interview – Feral Interactive Discusses ‘Hitman’, Nintendo Switch Performance, Future Mobile Ports, and a Lot More – TouchArcade

Following the recent launch of IO Interactive’s Hitman: Blood Money on mobile as Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal ($14.99) through Feral Interactive, I had a chance to talk to Feral about why they chose this game as the team’s next mobile release, the Switch release date, prioritizing features for mobile, learning from prior releases, Nintendo Switch resolution and frame rate targets, future game teases and more. If you’ve not read our other interviews with Feral Interactive, I spoke to the team about Company of Heroes on Switch and also Sid Meier’s Railroads this year.

TouchArcade (TA): Tell us what led to picking this as Feral Interactive’s next major project for mobile and Switch?

Feral Interactive (FI): We’ve had a long history of working with IO Interactive, starting with Mini Ninjas almost 15 years ago on Mac. Before that many of us played the original “Hitman: Codename 47” when it was released, and we’ve been fans of the franchise ever since.

When the opportunity arose to bring Hitman to mobile and Nintendo Switch the first choice was Blood Money. It is one of the most loved games of the series, and we believed that there were some interesting opportunities to enhance it with some of the modern features from the World Of Assasination games.

TA: A lot of Hitman fans consider Hitman: Blood Money the best game in the series, but it hasn’t really been very accessible on modern platforms outside that HD version for PS4 and Xbox from a few years ago. The PC version doesn’t even have proper controller support natively. What were your priorities when approaching Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal’s feature set?

FI: We reviewed the game’s features and functionality and how users interact with it. When you think of the great games you have played, your memories will be of the game, and not about how you controlled things. So we put a lot of time and effort into designing, developing and tuning the controls so that the game would be equally fun regardless of whether you are using touchscreen, gamepad or keyboard and mouse.

Beyond that, we also looked at what features might be lacking when compared to later releases in the series. The most obvious features we have added are Instinct Mode and the on-screen mini-map, but a lot of our time was actually spent on all less obvious improvements that combine to enhance the entire experience. For example, we optimized traversing through windows, hiding bodies and the strangling takedown, all of which were tricky to trigger or time consuming in the original game.

TA: The modern Hitman World of Assassination trilogy is amazing, and I’m glad to see some useful features from those games included in Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal. Was there any rebalancing done on each difficulty for those playing with the new quality of life features compared to how the original game was back in the day?

FI: We feel that this an important distinction to make, so we’re glad you asked! The modern quality of life features in the HITMAN games are primarily designed to help the player get the information or items more quickly.

For example, in the original game you might walk up to every window or drainpipe to see if you can interact with them, in Reprisal you can use Instinct Mode to look around the area and see if they are interactable. This will save time searching, but the actual tactical decisions remain the same. For the purists who’d like the original experience we’ve made the larger quality of life features – such as Instinct Mode and the mini-map – optional.

There is also a second set of changes related to the game now being played on a mobile device. We have auto-aim, auto-reload and weapon hotswap features that are designed to help the experience when playing on touch screen devices. As before, if players don’t want to take advantage of them they can be disabled in the game’s options.

The one balance change we implemented is to the “Last Stand” mode. In the original game it could be difficult to succeed in headshotting three enemies before time runs out. With Reprisal we have implemented a sliding scale, so the easiest difficulty only needs one headshot, scaling up to the original game’s three headshots on the hardest Pro difficulty.

Other than that we did not touch the existing difficulty settings, instead we focused on making the game more accessible to new players, providing additional options that allow for a gentler learning curve, while maintaining the same peak difficulty as the original.

TA: Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal includes quite a few control options as I covered on TouchArcade already. It even displays PlayStation button prompts when I use my DualSense controller on my iPad. Can you discuss how you approached the touch controls in Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal compared to your other games with controller support like Alien: Isolation.

FI: Every game builds on what we learned from our prior releases, plus a constant review of other mobile games for good solutions. We felt the system we had for Alien: Isolation was a good starting point for the core elements, but it needed to be adapted for the different gameplay of Hitman. We also had a number of improvements based on feedback from Alien: Isolation players.

For touch controls in Reprisal, we focused on giving players greater freedom and ability to customize. This includes making the UI as context-sensitive as possible, so that it does not clutter the screen with too many buttons.

For keyboard and mouse controls, we offer two options – Classic and Modern – and stay as close as possible to the original mappings for both so that they are familiar to all players.

For gamepads we kept to that principle and again offer two options, Classic and Modern. Beyond that, we just followed our usual principle of testing all the major gamepads and making sure that they work correctly and have the correct on-screen button prompts.

TA: Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal also includes multiple graphics options depending on the device. Performance+ targets 90fps, but I was curious if the new M2 iPads can do 120fps without issues. I don’t have one to test, but played the current build on my iPhone 15 Pro in Performance+ mode and on my iPad Pro (2020) in Performance mode. I was wondering if there were plans to add any additional anti-aliasing or texture filtering like the HD version on PS4 and Xbox One.

FI: Texture Filtering on the mobile version is set to the maximum settings the game supports (16x Anisotropic Filtering).

Most iOS devices will be running at native resolution, so Anti-Aliasing is less important, but we don’t rule out a future patch with additional improvements should the technology allow it.

TA: Can you tell us how Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal looks and runs on Nintendo Switch compared to modern mobile devices? Will it have a 60fps mode?

FI: The Nintendo Switch shares the same Blood Money HD codebase as the mobile game, so it is very similar in terms of visuals. However, due to Nintendo Switch not being as powerful as modern mobile devices, we’ve optimized the visuals at a locked 30fps and it doesn’t have the 60fps performance mode that the mobile release has.

On Switch, the title runs at a native 720p in handheld mode and 1080p when in docked mode.

Feral Interactive also confirmed to us that Hitman: Blood Money – Reprisal will launch in late January 2024 on Nintendo Switch.

TA: Are there any plans for a Switch physical release?

FI: We are aware that there is always a demand for a physical release on Switch. Unfortunately the economics are tricky, but it is under active consideration.

TA: Did you work with IO Interactive in any way during the development of this project? Did they have any input in the enhancements and improvements?

FI: We have a long and happy history of working with IO Interactive and they have always been very supportive. We had discussions about the quality of life improvements and discussed updating the experience for the modern World Of Assassination player.

TA: Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal feels like one of Feral Interactive’s most impressive conversions yet making it yet another case where mobile has the definitive version of a PC and console game. Were there any features that couldn’t be implemented in the launch version that will be added through patches?

FI: We don’t have any major features planned post-release. We try to make sure the initial release has everything including final polish.

That is not to say the game won’t be patched, but that will be mainly directed by user feedback, or even new functionality that might not have been possible when the original development was happening. For example, our Rome: Total War update to use Metal instead of OpenGL, or our addition of extra graphics modes to GRID Autosport. Both of these updates took advantage of new features that became available after the initial release.

TA: It won’t be a Feral Interactive interview on TouchArcade without me asking about future plans so let’s get into that. Are there any unannounced games from Feral Interactive planned for release in the first quarter of 2024 on mobile or Switch?

FI: Yes! We can give TouchArcade the exclusive news that Feral do have games planned for early 2024… but we’d be tempting fate if we said any more.

TA: Is there any chance Hitman World of Assassination is a project Feral Interactive would bring to mobile?

FI: Interesting suggestion… let’s see how Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal is received.

TA: Are there any plans to bring Reprisal to macOS?

FI: No plans right now, but we have had some requests, so we may see.

TA: Are there plans to bring Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal to PC in any form? The PC version right now is really not fun to play compared to Hitman: Blood Money — Reprisal.

FI: No plans right now, but we see the requests across our social media channels.

TA: Tell us what you’ve been playing recently and what games you’ve enjoyed this year so far.

Edwin (Design): I’ve been working through my backlog recently completing Borderlands 3: Game Of The Year and most of the way through the first game of the Mass Effect Trilogy. I’ve also been playing a little bit of Mario Wonder with my daughter.

Sam (Design): I recently completed a co-op play-through of Wasteland 3 as well as the LASO Challenges on Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Though I’ve been constantly revisiting Deep Rock Galactic when I’m a bit low on time! (Rock & Stone!)

Sam (Dev): Destiny and Factorio have probably taken most of my time this year. A few of this year’s highlights have been Shadow Gambit and Chants of Sennaar, and most recently I’ve been revisiting Dark Souls 3.

Valeria (Design): I have not played any new games recently but I have been playing a lot of HITMAN games for inspiration.

I’d like to thank everyone at Feral Interactive for their time here.

You can keep up with all our interviews here including our recent ones about Sonic Dream Team, Football Manager 2024, Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, and more.


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