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Free agent: Square Enix dumps Hitman Absolution's online pass

"We really want to make Contracts available to anybody that plays the game"

Good news, champions of pre-owned! Square Enix has dispensed with Hitman: Absolution's online pass system, making the game's Contracts Mode free for all regardless of whether you buy the game new or second hand.

If you're unfamiliar with online passcodes (which particular rock have you been living under, incidentally?), the idea is that first-time buyers get a one-use code which provides access to online features. Pick up a pre-owned copy, and you'll have to pay extra for the latter. Needless to say, it's a controversial trick, and the decision to axe Absolution's equivalent may reflect mixed critical responses to the game as a whole.

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"We'd actually planned to have this mode accessible via a code in the game's box, but we really want to make it available to anybody that plays the game - so we want to take a new approach," Square explained in a statement (via CVG).

"If you're in North America you'll see the mode automatically appear in the game menu. If you're elsewhere, you can redeem the code inside the box, or you can simply select the BUY CONTRACTS PASS option. From there, head to the store where CONTRACTS will be free to access."

We published arguments for and against the practice of pay-gating access to online features last year. Feel free to kick the debate off again, after rubbing your ecstatic face against our Hitman: Absolution review.

The game's on sale tomorrow.

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