One of the interesting things IO Interactive has done with its latest trilogy of Hitman games is bring each previous game's levels into the latest entry, and offering those levels for free to players that already own other Hitman games.
This means that Hitman 3 players that also own Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 on the same platform can play the expansive sandbox levels featured in both older games in Hitman 3 (and with Hitman 3 mechanic tweaks) when the game launches next week.
Unfortunately, the nature of storefronts and game exclusivity (paired with some messaging missteps) has complicated that process on PC, and has some players expressing frustration on social media.
The difficulty comes from the fact that Hitman 3 is launching as an Epic Games Store exclusive. This means that players who might've purchased either Hitman (2016) or Hitman 2 on Steam won't be able to play either game's levels for free in Hitman 3 on the Epic Games Store.
IO Interactive has recently clarified that players can purchase DLC to access legacy levels, but will only be able to download the DLC for free if they already own the content on the platform where they're purchasing Hitman 3. However, Hitman 2 never released on the Epic Games Store, meaning PC players hoping to get free access to its levels are out of luck.
"We’ve done everything possible to make this process smooth and player-friendly. However, due to various circumstances out of our control, we want to acknowledge that the process is different to our initial plans for PC players."
For what it's worth, IO has outlined some steps it's taking to try and smooth out the increasingly rocky transition in its pre-launch guide, one of which includes an initial 80 percent discount for the DLC containing Hitman 2's levels on the EGS and promises it'll "continue to be discounted regularly."
"Our hope is that these initiatives help to ensure all Hitman 3 PC players can able to enjoy the new game with full access to Hitman 1 and their progression carried over as a minimum."
Update: IO Interactive and Epic Games are looking into ways to smooth the transition into Hitman 3 on PC. Part of that is captured in the below Twitter statement from IO, while Epic Games head Tim Sweeney separately said in a tweet that it was "never Epic’s intent to create a situation where someone who owns a game on Steam would have to buy it again on Epic Games Store to get the full benefits of it."