Hitman 3 players will get a free PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrade – on one condition

Hitman 3
(Image credit: IO Interactive)

The upcoming stealth assassination game Hitman 3 is confirmed to release on January 20, and developer IO Interactive is throwing a free next-gen upgrade to players you buy it on the Xbox One or PS4 first. That means you'll be able to get the game on PS5 and Xbox Series X at no extra cost.

You'll have to buy the game digitally, though, with IO Interactive signalling that it's keen to get players used to digital downloads – a trend that's only likely to continue. 

It certainly fits in with IO's history of episodic releases, as with 2016's Hitman, though the next iteration will release the entire game at once as was the case with Hitman 2. Players will also have the option to import levels from previous games – and we wouldn't rule out DLC down the line either.

Pick a lane

With the number of in-store purchases likely to be hit by ongoing lockdown measures, we can't see many people queuing up to buy Hitman 3 in store anyway, but it's refreshing regardless for the developer to give players clarity over what they can expect.

Some publishers are handling next-gen upgrades better than others, though. NBA 2K21 is already mired in a confusing upgrade system, which involves either buying the game twice over or spending roughly the same amount for a premium version that includes a 'free' next-gen upgrade.

We know both Marvel's Avengers and FIFA 21 will offer free next-gen upgrades, too, with Microsoft encouraging devs towards this consumer-focused choice. With the Xbox Series X's Smart Delivery system, we expect this to be more common in the Xbox ecosystem, though some of these games – like Cyberpunk 2077 – were also confirmed to offer the same free upgrade on PS5.

Tensions could rise if players can only access certain upgrades on certain platforms, of course, and we hope to see more devs (and Sony) largely fall in line behind Microsoft's example.

If you're mainly excited to play Hitman 3, though, the game is coming to you on January 20 on current-gen consoles – and you can watch a thrilling reveal of one of the game's levels below, which seems as influenced by Agatha Christie (and Rian Johnson's excellent whodunnit Knives Out) as previous Hitman games.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.