Hitman: Absolution Details Talk “Variety”

Is he getting older? I think he is. Awesome.

Ripten‘s only gone and harvested a entire picnic of Hitman: Absolution details from the latest issue of Edge, including the following bombshell- “47’s voice actor will not be returning.”

An era is over, my friends. A weird era, but one that did, at least, perfectly capture the voice of a psychotic man raised in a jar. 47’s agent and only friend, Diana, is being played be someone else too- Lost’s Marsha Thomason, aka Naomi Dorrit from Lost. But there’s lots, lots more after the jump.

Ordinarily in these circumstances I trawl the original article for choice details, then organise them all into a handy bullet point list for you, the reader. Except Ripten’s already done that, so I’m copying and pasting exactly what they have to say. You hear me, Ripten? And if you don’t like it, we’ll have it out in person, like men. And by “in person” I mean “in Nidhogg“.

Tell you what, actually. I’ll bold the important bits, too.

  • The game is set in Chicago.
  • Tons of time making core movement and controls very responsive.
  • IO’s Glacier 2 engine supposedly offer fantastic facial animations.
  • Optional cover system with the use of cover mechanics without actually being in cover.
  • Instinct mode highlights enemies and patrols glow red through walls, similar to Arkham Asylum’s detective mode. It also replaces the map screen from the previous Hitman titles.
  • Mini map will highlight points of interest.
  • Threat meter is now a grey circle in the middle of the screen that flickers in directions where enemies may spot 47.
  • The more eyes on you, the faster your threat meter will fill.
  • Lots of environmental weapons, unique to each location such as a lamp cord being used as a garrotte.
  • Taking hostages return, but the AI is smarter and wont just start shooting at you.
  • Levels are divided into checkpoints for the first time in the Hitman series.
  • Many levels will be as large and open-ended as the levels from previous Hitman games, but some others will be tighter, more focused sandboxes.
  • IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
  • Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.
  • Having a disguise doesn’t meal you’ll be able to fool everybody or bluff your way past a group of NPC’s.
  • Instinct mode increases disguise effectiveness. Cops in the demo questions 47′s movements while he’s disguised as a police man, he enters instinct mode and uses his police radio walking straight past the cops and fools them.
  • 47′s handler, Diana, is now played by Marsha Thomason.
  • Designated safe spots for disguises. Such as walking up to a box of doughnuts disguised as a cop.
  • Safe spots will keep you completely safe for as long as you want, even if the room is filled with enemies.
  • Crowds will be used very differently.
  • 47′s long time voice actor will not return. No name was given for a replacement.
  • Glacier 2 engine offers realtime AI editing.
  • AI will react dynamically to your actions.


  1. P7uen says:

    “Optional cover system with the use of cover mechanics without actually being in cover.”

    You crouch in open spaces and fire wildly without aiming? That doesn’t seem particularly useful.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Yeah, I did raise an eyebrow about that.

    • Pop says:

      Maybe 47’s learnt the art of the mime. He gestures a wall in place, and voila! There is a convenient, invisible half-height wall, perfect for gun fights and parlour games.

    • The Hammer says:

      Actually, this is just a crappy paraphrase on Ripten’s part.

      The actual quote is: “As for the cover system, it’s a choice whether you want to use it or not. We made it so that if you are crouched and moving around, you are below cover height.”

      So basically, if you’re behind a low wall, and you’re crouched, you can either enable cover if you’re into that sort of thing, or go without it, and fire normally, but you’ll still have the benefit of being hidden.

    • jezcentral says:

      I think that means you don’t stick to a wall, a la Mass Effect or Gears Of War, or Thief.

    • Eukatheude says:

      I think that could be Kany & Lynch 2-like. As in, destructible cover which you can be hit through.
      EDIT: Nevermind, The Hammer got it.

    • Soon says:

      Now I want a game where everybody is a mime. You don’t need a gun, but just point your finger, and enemies silently act as though they’ve been shot and fall dramatically to the floor. And so on.

      I don’t know why, either.

  2. sana says:

    I don’t even remember that guy ever talking! Must play more Hitmans.

  3. Guiscard says:

    Dammit on the voice actors. They were perfect. No doubt been screwed over to keep it in line with the crud third-rate films.

  4. xeon06 says:

    That David Batheson is not returning is a great shame. I know I shouldn’t talk before seeing the game, but damn am I losing hope every week that this will ever be as good as Blood Money.

    • MrMud says:

      Looking at IOs recent output (and before it as well) I think Blood Money was a fluke.

    • Ging says:

      MrMud: They’ve varied considerably, their high points are certainly Freedom Fighters (which is really what Homefront should’ve been) and Blood Money – everything else has been a bit average.

    • Heliosicle says:

      Its a bit of a deal breaker for me, David Bateson was perfect for the role, no idea why they want to be rid of him.

    • Ian says:

      I love Freedom Fighters and will take any opportunity to say so.

      FF2, please!

    • woodsey says:

      @ Ging

      I thought Silent Assassin was very good. Contracts was bleh. They don’t really seem to know how to listen to people.

      When your game is lauded as being amazing, make your next one in line with that, don’t look at other stuff that’s also doing well also and ape off of those. Likewise, if your game is shit (K&L), probably best to drop it.

    • P7uen says:

      Oh, Freedom Fighters. That was tops.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’m a big fan of the Kane and Lynch games. Blood Money was certainly their best game. But I don’t think it was a fluke at all. Really feel Kane and Lynch is underappreciated. I certainly much prefer it to any other cover based shooter.

  5. Mordsung says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic about this game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I was, until I read parts of this list.

      Some levels are very story driven

      Which, given Squeenix involvement, is a huge god-DAMNIT.

      Instinct mode increases disguise effectiveness.

      So much for just not using it! Seriously, they couldn’t decouple see-through-walls from actually-act-your-disguise?

      Also the comment below about scripted sequences.

    • Heliosicle says:

      Remember that the first and last levels of Blood Money were completely scripted, but they weren’t really proper levels.

  6. Metaphorazine says:

    Sounds like it’s a very different game to what it was.

  7. Snargelfargen says:

    “scripted action sequences”

    I really hope they don’t turn Hitman into a QTE game. Having to mash keyboard buttons to garrote somebody would be pretty annoying.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Maybe there’ll be a bit where you control a turret on the back of a truck. That’s always a genre classic.

      You know, for genres other than stealthy murder.

  8. Oak says:

    We’ll always have Blood Money.

    • jezcentral says:

      And if they ever released an SDK for it, I’d never have to play another game again.

  9. reticulate says:

    As long as they don’t turn him into Sam Fisher, I can deal.

    • Oneironaut says:

      I wouldn’t even mind if they made it like Chaos Theory. It would be a very different game, but still a good stealthy experience. This looks more like they’re going in the direction of Splinter Cell: Conviction.

    • noodlecake says:

      Luckily conviction was amazing! The closest thing to a decent 24 game.

  10. Danorz says:

    What A Shame.

  11. PickyBugger says:

    The addition of checkpoints is the worst thing on the list. If they aren’t optional/ turned off on the hardest difficulty I doubt I’ll get this game.

    The best thing about the Hitman series is devising a plan and failing over and over again until you get it correct. Some of these changes seem more suited to the last addition of the Splinter Cell series and that makes my tummy all poorly.

    • Dozer says:

      There was a checkpoint in the third or fourth level in the original game – the one in the large restaurant where you have to give the dragon to the bartender so he’ll give you the poison for the other guy. Shortly before the game crapped all over itself with that huge level where you wander through a tropical jungle and get shot by unseen guards with M16s.

      Come to think of it they had a similar level in the second game, except it was ninjas with crossbows.

    • LionsPhil says:

      What you call suspense, I call tedium.

      If they’e going to make the levels bigger, checkpointing is very much necessary. Also, Hitman 1 had such on larger missions, along with its “lives”-like retry system. (Lose them all, all the way back to the start you go.)

      Or, better yet, just a plain old save-game system so I can stop playing at arbitrary points, because Real Life doesn’t believe that uninterrupted gaming sessions are more important than phonecalls or vomiting cats or needing to wake up early the next morning.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Thanks for reminding me of that horrible, horrible part, Dozer.

    • PickyBugger says:

      The ability to save the game unlimited times, 3 times or never depending on the difficulty level is perfectly fine and far better than checkpoints.
      I would question the choice to make the levels larger, one of the main reasons that Blood Money was so good was the smaller levels. They allowed for a tighter, coherent gameplay experience which usually increased the chances of getting caught doing something nasty. There was way too much chaff with no reason to exist in the earlier games and Blood Money did really well getting rid of this.

      P.S. It only gets tedious if you aren’t very good at the game.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Blood money had, in the early difficulties, a limited number of saves that would be used as checkpoints. You chosed what was important and what was well done. I don’t see why else they would be changing it unless they wanted the levels to be more linear. Also, I am truly fucking disappoint every time I see news about this game. I don’t even see why they wouldn’t continue on the blood money road, the game was nigh perfect!

    • LionsPhil says:

      P.S. It only gets tedious if you aren’t very good at the game.

      This just in: people who aren’t pro-gamers are not allowed to enjoy games. Self-congratulating PC gamer elite bemused by continuing “consolization” of games.

    • PickyBugger says:

      Okay I never said anything about people not having fun if they aren’t pro and the consolisation thing is nonsense as Blood Money was fine on the consoles. I don’t think this game is affected by consoleisation just a load of shit design principles and game mechanics.

      You have to stop adding things to peoples posts like ‘What you call suspense, I call tedium’ and then getting mad at the things you’ve added. For instance, I didn’t use the word consolisation or imply anything about it..

    • gwathdring says:

      My issue is that the checkpoint saves don’t stay saved when you quit the game. I loved it otherwise. It meant I didn’t get screwed over by surprise check pointing saving the game after I screwed myself into a corner or found it was too late for me to try a different approach on the level because the one I got myself into wasn’t fun anymore. In Blood Money, I got to decide when I wanted to place a checkpoint based on what I planned on doing next, rather than having to work my plans around whatever the game designers felt would be a good stopping point.

      I despise traditional checkpoint systems for this reason. I should get to choose when I save the game. I’m fine with having a limited number of saves per level, as well. There were certain levels in Blood Money I didn’t mind starting from scratch, event. But I want to be able to turn off my computer and then come back to the same point I saved the game at. And I don’t want to have to hack the game to do so.

    • LionsPhil says:

      In this thread: horrible mischaracterisations from illiterates!

      What gwathdring said.

    • Thants says:

      LionsPhil: Blood Money has a save system. You’re arguing about nothing.

  12. Dozer says:

    “Tighter, more focussed sandboxes” – cat litter tray then?

    • MSJ says:

      Not a fun place, that.

      On a more serious note, that does sound a lot like Blood Money level A New Life (aka Dress As A Clown And Punch A Bikini Cougar). It’s a very small and yet the best and most open level in that game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I approve of the Cat Litter Tray monkier for small, token sandbox elements.

    • Andrei Sebastian says:

      Why are they doing this?
      I don’t understand! Help me!
      Why can’t they just leave them alone at least? Why are they continuously ruining loved games?

    • DrGonzo says:

      That was one of the best bits of news for me. One of my favourite levels in Blood Money is the FBI protected house, as it was a very small detailed level with lots of options. More of that I say!

    • gwathdring says:

      That level was fantastic! I love the smaller levels in Blood Money, too. They felt more like puzzles. I couldn’t get away with as many mistakes simply because I found a dark corner in an enormous mansion so no one heard the screams.

      My first time trying that level, I opened the van doors without thinking, and had to act really fast before the equally surprised FBI agents made any noise. There was this great moment when we all sort of stared at each other … then 47 went to town. I took too long getting to the target though, and someone went out to the van and found the bodies. Shortly afterwards, the realized I didn’t look like any of the agents they’d come here with and I was in a lost-cause firefight.

      When I finally nailed that level … I was immensely proud. I did everything perfectly … except I forgot my suit. The one thing between me and a silent assassin rating was a god damn custom tailored suit and $6000 of requisite damage control. Good times.

  13. RenegadeRed says:

    I’ve never played a game in this series– OH OUCH! Don’t Hit, man!

    • reticulate says:

      Play Blood Money. It’s easily the best in the series, and you don’t really need the backstory to make any sense of it.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Actually in blood money they ditched every kind of story for a: Damn you are an elite assassin thingy, you kill people, for money, and that should be fucking enough. No more bullshit about friendships and such.

    • PickyBugger says:

      I really don’t see why this series needs a story. Every story has been terrible and usually forces you into poorly designed mission where you have to escape from somewhere or something. Just give us plenty of missions where we have to ‘Hit’ various people in increasingly challenging environments.

  14. Teddy Leach says:

    What is this I don’t even.

  15. Icarus says:

    > Niddhog mentioned

    > Obligatory ‘so when the fuck is Nidhogg coming out then’

    • Teddy Leach says:

      I’d hazard a guess of never. Not outside of expos and the like anyway. How much development can such a tiny game need?

    • Eukatheude says:

      I guess Messhof is just messhing with us.

    • gwathdring says:

      I don’t understand! In the age of the Internet, why make a game so exclusive? :(

  16. int says:

    “47′s long time voice actor will not return. ”

    ARGH. I played the first one recently and noticed that he’s pretty damn bad in it.

    But! He gets much better in the sequels, 47 doesn’t talk much so it doesn’t make sense to get someone big to voice him if that is what they are doing.

  17. zombiemonkey says:

    I remain dangerously optimistic regarding other somewhat ambigiously sounding facts, but what DOES make me quite unhappy is “The game is set in Chicago.”

    Apart from a few other things that make the Hitman series so great, I always enjoyed it’s hugely diverse locations, it’s colourful to gloomy to crazy level environments, it’s world traveller-kinda feel. It strongly set it apart from other stealth games.
    Now, I’m sure Chicago can be a pretty diverse place, so I’m hoping that at least visually the levels will be very distinct and different from each other, but I’ll still miss going from Japan to India to Britain to America and so forth.

    • The Hammer says:

      Again, having read the original EDGE article myself, this seems like misinformation. It doesn’t actually say this at all.

      The only pointer towards this is tiny segment:

      “[The developer] sets the scene, informing us that the city beyond the rainy window is Chicago – “a good place for a hitman to lie low” – and that the Agent 47 we’re about to meet isn’t on a hit, but on the run.”

      So that’s been taken as the entire game being set in Chicago. Er…

    • zombiemonkey says:

      Ah, thank you! Great to know; optimism shall remain, then.

    • Dozer says:

      Blood Money is set entirely within the USA. I didn’t like that very much.

      I’m reminded of the end of the film Hancock:


      where Will Smith’s character (who’s an old Greek god with amnesia) must stay as far away from his former wife (another god) as possible, because when they’re near each other then bad things start to happen. So they decide to live at opposite ends of the world – or to be exact, in Los Angeles and New York.

    • Optimaximal says:

      The Opera House was in Paris… That was a fantastic level, although it was only there to bridge as a segue from Contracts.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Yes, the Opera house was definitely in Paris. Also, I think that the wine/drug place, the second level, is set in southern america.

      What bothers me more is: Hitman is on the run. Hitman doesn’t run, he kills people, for money, Blood Money understood that it was how you make a good hitman game, why are they changing that?

  18. yhalothar says:

    Scripted action sequences and checkpoints in a hitman game?
    Silent assasins are not amused.

  19. Perkelnik says:

    Did 47 actually talk in Blood Money? Im replaying the game and apart from two sentences in the tutorial level I cant think of anything so far (the boat level).

  20. jezcentral says:

    I really hope they have all the NPC stories gong on in the background. Half the reason for replaying the levels in Blood Money (i.e. other than getting Silent Assassin, or a joke rating like Mad Hairdresser by killing everyone with scissors or something) was the pleasure of finding out what went on.

    It took me thee years before I finally attended the wedding in Blood Money! How did that happen? (Actually, I was always too busy saboutaging a chandelier in previous playthroughs).

    And I hear now that you can actually GIVE the ceremony. Genius!

  21. Drake Sigar says:

    I’m glad for the checkpoints, because I suck.

  22. sinister agent says:

    Checkpoints are not a good thing for hitman games. Half the fun in hitman was in saving at a particular point on a whim, just to see what lunatic ideas you could pull off in that situation.

    Could work well if they’re both in there, though.- not knowing how long a level is was a problem in some missions. I hope they keep in the limited saves option, rather than having the checkpoints completely replace saving.

    The ‘grey circle’ meter actually sounds like it could work really well – simulates human situational awareness much better than a rising bar.

    I thought the hostage taking in Blood Money was quite will handled – they didn’t just staret shooting you, they would try to circle round to get a shot at your rear, and only opened up if you opened fire, which makes sense as if the guy’s going to shoot you anyway, you may as well risk shooting the hostage and saving everyone, right?

    Concerned about the change in voice actors. Hitman was not a big talky game and hope this doesn’t mean they’re making it one, especially as the existing voices were lovely and very distinctive.

    Overall… again, cautiously optimistic.

  23. Sinnorfin says:

    “Safe spots will keep you completely safe for as long as you want, even if the room is filled with enemies.”

    Sounds like AssCreed’s sit on a bench looking not suspicious…

  24. Anton says:

    Reading about Hitman : Absolution made me download and play Blood Money…. but… it kept on crashing on my Win 7 x64 when I load a save game and even went BSOD on me one time. I can’t get past the Vineyard level (2nd level). Sigh… HM:A might be my best bet to play Hitman on Win 7.

    • John Connor says:

      Works fine for me on Win7. Maybe you should buy the game instead of being a pirate asshole.

    • MrCraigL says:

      Works fine for me too – both steam and disk version. So yeah, what John Connor said if that’s the case.

  25. westyfield says:

    Oh thank goodness they got rid of the awful, awful map.

  26. MrCraigL says:

    I started writing a comment, but I had too much to say, so I wrote a blog post instead. If I may be so bold

  27. Zyrxil says:

    link to beefjack.com

    ‘The absolute truth is: no one from IO Interactive is answering my calls, e-mails or sms. Feeling very let down at the moment but I haven’t heard personally.’

    Uh yeah, that seems very odd. It’s not, as one would assume, that Bateson doesn’t want the role after 5-6 years, but that IOI feels too good for him. WTF? Someone go start an ineffective internet campaign to tell IOI they’re terrible people.

    • woodsey says:

      That’s pretty appalling behaviour; and he IS the character so cutting him loose like that is ridiculous.

    • The Hammer says:

      Ugh, yes. Horrible way of treating a former employee.

  28. MrGreen72 says:

    “Having a disguise doesn’t meal you’ll be able to fool everybody or bluff your way past a group of NPC’s.”

    Hungry Quintin?

  29. woodsey says:

    Several of these bullet points are very troubling.

  30. BreadBitten says:

    “Optional cover system with the use of cover mechanics without actually being in cover.”

    Did anyone else notice the oxymoron in this statement?

  31. Frabble says:

    Wow, another IP down the shitter because of consolefags.

    • reticulate says:

      Oh, please.

      Blood Money was easily the best game they’ve done, and it was on consoles and PC.

    • Rath says:

      Agreed. Having played both versions, I can honestly say I don’t find that one has any kind of an edge over the other.

    • MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

      I’m not a fan of his phrasing, but he’s got a point. Blood Money (and Silent Assassin) already had a pretty bad interface due to it being made console friendly. Now, with Absolution, it looks like they are extending that “accessibility” to how the game plays, as well.

      As others have said above, at least we’ll always have Blood Money.

  32. Durandir says:

    Not going for Bateson as Agent 47 is a damn disgrace. He IS 47 for crying out loud! Just look: link to youtube.com
    But as long as the game can still be beaten by only killing your targets I will probably get it. That is what I love about the series, and few games have that option. Finishing a mission without having fired a single bullet, with no enemies harmed beyond being drugged. Hell, I love that so much I beat every mission in both Hitman 2 and Contracts with the Silent Assassin rating. That was back when I had time and less games, so I could play the same game for months… those where the days.

  33. Burning Man says:

    EVERYTHING has Detective Vision. I guess gamers are just stupid nowadays. Or devs are too lazy to do good level design. Or upper management saw it as an easy way to save money. Or all of the above.

    • Eolirin says:

      Considering that the instinct mode mostly replicates the map screen, which is being removed, except that it puts it in the game world instead of an awkward to use interface screen, I hardly see how this has anything to do with lazy level design or dumb players.

  34. Gazanator101 says:

    I already get a horrible feeling this is going to be the Kane & Lynch 2 of the Hitman series. I was so excited when this was announced and now reading this, I am very skeptical.

  35. Rath says:

    A shaven headed man in Chicago asassinating people? Man, Billy Corgan’s sure taken a surprising career change.

  36. Vandelay says:

    I’m not going to pass judgement yet, at least until I’ve seen some substantial footage or actual hands-on plays of a complete level, but some of those bullet points are a little scary.

  37. poop says:

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

    IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences.
    Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.


  38. sdtipps says:

    Re: the mime thing. I actually had an idea for that game the other day. If we can figure out a way to make a mouse gesture system work in the XNA framework, you might see it by the end of the year. No promises though. XNA is a blessing and a curse for amateur games devs.

  39. Radiant says:

    I keep getting the impression that what the developers want to make is actually /another fucking game entirely/.

    This game they’re making lets call it Splintered Hitman Asylum and be done with.

    • Radiant says:

      Also 47 doesn’t run from you.

      Straight into a trap I set about an hour ago whilst you were swanning about in a kiddie pool full of whores and jello.

    • Radiant says:

      Posioned jello.
      That I poisoned as part of my elaborate trap to murder you and make it look like an accident.
      An accident involving ten dead guards who also died due to a series of unrelated accidents.


  40. gwathdring says:

    I’m going to reserve judgment on almost everything until I actually see the game played or get to try a demo (if they still exist by 2012).

    The exception: Floaty icon things randomly in the middle of my screen bad! Keep floaty things on the edge of my screen or in dedicated HUD locations! I’m looking at you, threat arrows!