How to Make a Better Hitman Game

Agent 47 front

Killing’s an art; watch me paint my masterpiece

-Dr. Awkward

Last week IO Interactive wrote an open letter to the fans of the Hitman series talking about the next installment in the franchise. I’ve had the game since November, but this gave me the knife to the throat I needed to hurry up and play it. I fell in love with the Hitman games back when I played Blood Money on the original Xbox a few years back. So far the latest one is great, but it could be a lot better. Today I’m going to give my ideas on how to make the next Hitman the best in the franchise. This article will likely get me a visit from a sharp-dressed bald man. Whether he will be holding a contract to work at IO Interactive or a silenced pistol is yet to be seen.

Fix the Disguises

Judge Agent 47

One of the signature features of the Hitman games is Agent 47’s ability to use disguises to blend into his surroundings. You could dress up as anything from a cop to a Mardi Gras bird. But the update that the disguise system got really doesn’t sit well with me. As long as you don’t threaten anyone, no one will recognize you. Except for the people dressed like you, of course. If you dress up as a gardener, the guards won’t pay you any attention, but any other gardener will instantly become suspicious when he sees you. I know it’s always been unrealistic how easily Agent 47 could blend in just by wearing different clothes, but this is ridiculousness in the opposite direction. Now it seems like every person in the universe knows every single one of their coworkers’ faces by heart and totally rule out the possibility of there being a new hire.

This would work in some contexts, like in the first level where there was ultra-strict security. But it was just so frustrating in later levels. It almost feels like the disguises aren’t worth anything since you’re going to be considered suspicious on sight anyway. I was forced into a gunfight on almost every one of the first few levels–something that didn’t happen in the previous game. The next game needs to get rid of this update and instead focus more on behavior. Let people get suspicious when I’m the only one who isn’t visibly armed, or when I’m crouching like a weirdo.

Bring Back the Tools of the Trade

Agent 47 briefcase

One of the things I liked most about Hitman: Blood Money was the ability to choose your loadouts for each mission and customize your Agency-issued equipment. This feature was sadly absent from Absoulution. Sure, it’s interesting to execute your mission with primarily whatever is lying around, but that still takes away a lot of the agency that was present in previous games. Something that stood out a lot was that they got rid of the coin. You used to be able to distract NPCs by throwing a coin (unlimited use), but now you can only use things you find around the level, which sometimes means sacrificing your only silent weapon. Come one guys, who thought this was a good idea? The open letter I mentioned earlier said that the game was going to take place at the prime of 47’s career and that he’ll have full Agency backing, so I expect that we’ll be seeing this again.

Give Us Proper Maps

Hitman Blood Money Map

What you see above is one of the maps from Hitman: Blood Money. It would show you everything you need to know: entrances, security offices, everything. On lower difficulties, you could even see the NPC’s positions in real time. This was a huge tool in constructing your plan of attack. Proper preparation prevents piss poor performance, afterall. But in Absolution, all you get is a cluttered minimap and your “Instinct”, which I rarely use. These seriously do not cut it compared to the old system. I have no idea where anything is or how big the level is. Unless you’ve played the level repeatedly and extensively, you’re pretty much going in blind.

And while we’re on the subject of levels, I’d like them not to be so broken up. Instead of being huge sandboxes, levels are broken up into smaller chunks. I kept moving through the small levels wondering when I was going to get a new setting. Combining the levels that take place in the same area will make completing them much more satisfying for the player.

Add a Proper Multiplayer Mode

hitman absolution contractsYou can read all about that here.

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