With the launch of Hitman 3, Google’s Stadia platform is finally getting one of its most interesting features: State Share. As proposed in, this allows Stadia players to share their game states with others, letting them to hop into the game and take on a Hitman mission with the same loadout, objectives, and difficulty setting.
Game states created with State Share are playable chunks of Stadia games that you can share just like you might a video or screenshot. It’s essentially like handing your save file over to someone else, but instantly. If the other player has access to that Stadia game, they can essentially click a link and jump into the game in exactly the place the share came from, complete with all the same parameters. In Hitman, that means players can share their particular missions, with their difficulty setting, starting location, disguise, objectives, equipment loadout, and smuggled gear. You can use State Share to drop other players right in the middle of a mission–perhaps right after alerting guards or just before sneaking into a high-security area–or share the completion screen of a mission to challenge others to earn a better score using your parameters.
Sharing a game state from the end of a mission includes your rank on the Hitman leaderboard, so anyone playing with State Share can see how they rank against you. It also includes the new Celebration Tag in Hitman 3 that gives you a rank based on how well you fared. The tags include Amateur, Professional, Silent Assassin, and Professional ICA Shadow Assassin, providing another way to compare yourself to anyone you share your game state with.
As IO executive producer Forest Swartout Large explained in an interview with GameSpot, though, State Share with Hitman 3 isn’t just about giving you a chance to show off your assassination skills and challenge others to beat you. Hopping into a game state also lets you experience aspects of Hitman you might not have access to in your own game. If the player sharing their game state has unlocked different weapons, for instance, you can use those weapons when you play the game using State Share. But playing Hitman through State Share won’t affect your game when you go back to it–you won’t make progress on your own Hitman account, and using State Share won’t unlock new weapons and items. You’ll still have to earn those yourself by playing through the game and completing objectives.
Hitman 3 will be the first Stadia game to support State Share when it releases on January 20. Since Hitman 3 is also compatible with the missions released in Hitman and Hitman 2, those games will also include the State Share feature.
While the Hitman games let you drop into missions and share mission parameters, not every game will use State Share in the same way. Stadia product manager Catherine Hsiao told GameSpot that how games utilize State Share is up to developers and will depend on their particular vision for their game.
“For example, a game state could do something like take you to the beginning of a level with a custom character,” Hsiao said. “It could have certain inventories, certain loot drops in a dungeon, certain objectives. It really depends on how the game implements it.
“This works really well with games that have any sort of user-generated content, or where you’re creating something within the world. Then you can actually easily create a state and share it with your friends to be able to play together. If there are certain parts of the game that you really like, you could replay them yourself, or actually share them with others.”
Maybe the most surprising thing about State Share is how easy it is to use. In supported games, you create game states to share the same way you snap a screenshot or save a video–the state is saved along with the captured footage or image. Accessing the State Share is as simple as clicking a link, since Stadia runs out of your browser. You have to have access to the game on Stadia, either through its subscription plan or by purchasing it through the service; if you don’t have the game, the State Share link will take you to the Stadia store page for it.
Hsiao said she expects State Share will make it easier for content creators to interact with their audiences, going beyond just showing off videos or live streams so that they can accept challenges from the fans watching them, or share their own game states so viewers can try out what they’re seeing. And the State Share process streamlines a lot of what members of the Hitman community were already doing among themselves, IO communications manager Travis Barbour said.
“We’ve really been quite happy to see that players have really attached to this idea of being creative and finding groups and styling their way through Hitman,” Barbour said. “They’ve been sharing all of these settings on Discord–you have to choose this location, you have to do this and you have to go there and do that. We see that quite a lot.”
Share State knocks down the barriers that might stop other players from getting involved in these sort of ad-hoc competitions and play sessions, Barbour continued. Where you previously had to find the right Discord servers or forums where players were creating challenges for one another, sharing game states is done with a single simple link.
State Share goes live with Hitman 3’s launch on Stadia on January 20. We’ll have to stay tuned to see what other games support the feature in the future, though.