IO Interactive was founded in 1998 and is currently a subsidiary of Square Enix. It is best known for developing the critically acclaimed stealth action series Hitman, which began with Hitman: Codename 47 from 2000, an exclusive PC that developed using the Glacier game engine and one of its earliest titles became to feature ragdoll physics.
IO continued the success of its first title, releasing a sequel, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, for PC and large consoles in 2002, as well as a third entry, Hitman: Contracts, in 2004 and a fourth, Hitman: Blood Money, in 2006. Due to a hiatus in the Hitman franchise, IO switched to other projects for the next half decade.
Six years later, the developer seems ready to revive the infamous Agent 47 in Hitman's fifth game, which snuck onto the shelves last Tuesday, November 20th – or week 47 of the year. Hitman: Absolution is, among other things, the first game to be developed with the new Glacier 2 engine.
The updated engine has been specially designed for Hitman, with an emphasis on accommodating very dense crowds and allowing players not only to interact with characters but also to influence their behavior. The engine should be able to hold up to 1200 characters, which makes Absolution an incomparable game.
In addition, Glacier 2 uses DirectX 11 and many of its key features such as global lighting, bokeh and tessellation. As is often the case, this means the PC version has better graphics, including increased texture resolution, gesture resolution, and shadow map resolution.
After seeing gameplay screenshots of Hitman: Absolution prior to its release, we knew the game was going to be challenging – how challenging, of course, is what we're trying to discover here, and there is only one way to find out …
We will test 28 DirectX 11 graphics card configurations from AMD and Nvidia in all price ranges. The latest beta drivers are used, and each card is paired with an Intel Core i7-3960X to remove CPU bottlenecks that could affect high-end GPU results.
IO Interactive was kind enough to include a benchmark showing a detailed scene with a large crowd in Hitman: Absolution. Instead of using Fraps to record our own scene from any of the levels in the game, we decided to use the benchmark as it represents exactly an action-packed situation. It also makes it easier for you to compare the results of your system with ours.
We tested Hitman: Absolution at three popular desktop display resolutions: 1680 x 1050, 1920 x 1200, and 2560 x 1600 using the High (2xAA / 8xAF) and Ultra (4xAA / 16xAF) quality settings in DX11 mode .