“One of the things that was difficult with the old games was that there was a lot of freedom, but you really had to dig it out, it wasn’t really presented to you at all. So you could start a level and there was ten doors open to you and was like, ‘well, where the hell am I supposed to go? I don’t know, I’ll just have to try the first door, oh I got killed, now I’ll try the second one.’
“That kind of freedom is not very interesting because it’s not really a choice, but you just try it and then you see if you fail and then you try something else. Now, you’re very mindful to present choices to the player that might be more binary in a way because there are physical choices, but in the level. There is also [inaudible] choices of how you want to play through it as a player, based on, ‘do you want to be a silent assassin or do you just want to get through the game and have a good storyline and experience?" Link
Key part is "binary" choices. It sounds like we wont see the large open sandboxy levels that made them so fun to replay over again. They are just giving you two choices (stealthy or action) as they funnel you along mostly linear levels point A to point B. The game is becoming like splinter cell conviction.
Sure the game isn't out yet, but every sign so far points to this game being far more restrictive in the gameplay. The demos so far have not indicated that there are any significant open level designs. Hopefully, these concerns prove to be false.
Not to mention they chose not to use the same Agent 47 voice actor from the last 4 games, and dropped the composer Jesper Kyd.
-Edit: It also looks like it will mostly take place entirely in the same setting. No more awesomely exotic and varying levels.
-Edit 2: They dropped the long running voice actor of Diana, your employer.
-More edits: The map is gone (who needs it in linear levels) and it seems Agent 47 will be involved in some sort of romantic subplot.