Freedom Fighters

IO Interactive became an independent developer when Square Enix dumped them in 2017, after less-than-stellar sales numbers for their episodic Hitman reboot. The company went on to release Hitman 2, which didn’t see massive sales figures at first but eventually became beloved by the community. And now, with the release of Hitman 3 just weeks away, IO Interactive is preparing to take a much-needed break from their 20-year relationship with everybody’s favorite bald assassin.

On one hand, this is a bit of a bummer, since IO really seemed to find the essence of the Hitman franchise and return to form. But on the other hand, taking a break does give them the ability and freedom to do something different. And although I’m sure most of their resources are getting dumped into the recently teased Project 007 James Bond game, I also hope this newfound freedom will ultimately lead to a new Freedom Fighters title.

The original Freedom Fighters — released in 2003 for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Xbox, and PC — was one of my favorite third-person action games of that era.

Freedom Fighters

You play as Christopher Stone, the New York equivalent of Mario (well, maybe not so much, but he is a plumber). When the Soviets decide to invade America, Chris’s brother Troy is captured, causing Chris to side with an underground unit of freedom fighters set on kicking some Rooskie butt and reclaiming America.

Each level was a mini sandbox, akin to the earlier Hitman titles, which allowed for some variations in approach, though this mostly just allowed for some flanking and minor environmental sabotage. There were mild stealth mechanics, but by and large it was a pretty straightforward shoot-’em-up with some A.I. squad mechanics.

Plans for a sequel were announced in 2004, but as resources shifted to production of Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, Freedom Fighters ended up in the backseat and hasn’t been heard from ever since (aside from the recent PC re-release). Considering how Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days faired (Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw called it “Just one piece of nauseating unpleasantness after another”), this seems like a bitter pill to swallow.

So please, IO Interactive, if you are reading this — and let’s be frank, I know you are — pretty please with sugar on top, please make another Freedom Fighter game. The world is depending on you.

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