Grand Designs: Big Level Blueprints For Next Hitman

An entire building of murder.

After the disappointment of Hitman: Absolution, developers IO Interactive came to the Internet with their collective hat in their collective hands. Without quite admitting that Absolution’s small levels, linear missions, wonky AI, more personal story, and bottomless pockets didn’t pan out, they did write an open letter mentioning that they plan to do away with all those things for the next Hitman game. Reminding people that it’s still being made and they really did mean all that, IO have shown off a little concept art including a building which, they say, “on its own is larger than any location in Hitman: Absolution.”

Click away for the full 1920×1080 2.6MB artwork. “You’ll be able to explore the entire building,” IO say, “inside and out.” It certainly hints at a promising return to form, but is still only concept art.

Perhaps I’d like more of this, though. It feels more honest than a lot of AAA marketing, especially the requisite reels of worthless trailers many publishers spit out. IO have some nice ideas and a pretty picture and would very much like to make them real. I can relate to that! Whatever I imagine and project to fill in the gaps is my own responsibility and my fault, rather than planted by misleading ‘gameplay’ trailers. Square Enix gave the new Deus Ex a similar concept art-y teasing too.

And besides, given that I’ll never have the time nor inclination to play every single video game, I experience most of them as ideas anyway. I’d much rather they stay inspiring in my imagination then be dragged into horrible cardboard mock-reality with faked screenshots and daft trailers. Give me a demo to play, solid footage of actual gameplay to watch, or a lovely string of ideas and evocative pictures. More floaty dreams please, thank you video games marketing.


  1. Paul says:

    I am very very hopeful and I really really hope this is Prague.

    I was able to enjoy Absolution, quite a bit, but it was definitely deficient in very significant ways to Blood Money, and complete regression. It seems they realize that too, thank god.

  2. Utsunomiya says:

    I’d like to see more Hitman.
    And I even liked Absolution, too!

    • Richard Burton says:

      Same here, I thought it was a pretty good effort. The soundtrack wasn’t as good as the oldies but “Triggerman” was good! I think Jesper Kyd could’ve done a much better job overall than whoever did Absolution but still… ;) link to

  3. Muzman says:

    It’s funny how Hitman is demanded to be bafflingly complex, but Thief isn’t. Except by old school fans of course. Perhaps Hitman just has more of them.

  4. MkMax says:

    i just wish they would do away with the horrible disguise reveal system they used in absolution

    it made no freaking sense, dress as a policeman and all policemen would spot you on sight, dress as a drug dealer and they wouldnt care, wtf

  5. Mctittles says:

    Maybe they are going with the Microsoft Windows strategy. Release something utter crap, then “listen” to your customers and release something better than complete crap but still worse than two generations ago. It’s a quick way to climb to the bottom without loosing everyone on the way.

  6. Hydraulic Meercat says:

    Count me among those who also liked Absolution a lot. Surprised at all the negative press it got. It’s like everyone only started playing at Blood Money, and didn’t know Hitman II had levels based on his personal story also. The claims of levels in Absolution being too linear makes me wonder if anyone played any of these games at all. Even if you had just played Absolution you’d see multiple ways to kill everyone and make your way through levels, and there were even less options in previous ones, so it’s really like people are just making things up.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Completely agree. While I was a bit disapointed with Absolution, I still had a lot of fun. It really had a lot of emergent gameplay, really impressive ai, and the best ai dialogue I’ve ever witnessed in a game.

    • MkMax says:

      while i do agree absolution is quite good, more than half the levels are very linear, every now and then you have a small sandbox to dick around, and while the early ones like the Shanghai mission offer a lot of options they get less varied later

      the broken disguise system makes dicking around much harder however unless you know exactly the best disguise for that room

      in the old games levels were HUGE sandboxes, and disguises worked much better, the options were so varied you can always find videos of ppl doing the mission in a different way

      but i think it was the “personal” story what got more fans with the outright linear “escape from the police” levels, the completely out of nowhere scene just for the sake of controversy, some forced events were stupid (wth is 47 doing wrestling someone ? they mixed up saints row somewhere) and the boring “must save girl” thing, i know the old games had sort of a storyline weaved in the missions but most missions were self contained stories supporting the idea of a “hub” and “choosing your equipment for the mission/how you approach it”

  7. DrManhatten says:

    Come on! Absolution wasn’t that bad it was a bit short but I had some good fun! Just don’t know where they want to take it now without the agency!

  8. steviebops says:

    I wasn’t aware Absolution required an apology.

  9. jonahcutter says:

    I hope they learned a harsh lesson. Most of Absolution was hot garbage. From the often linear broken up levels, to the wannabe Uncharted action set pieces, to banal save the little girl story, to the wannabe Tarrantino grind house vibe, to the forced fail state on a mission for the sake of the narrative, the game was terrible as a Hitman game far more often than not.

    Absolution is a case study in how a unique, idiosyncratic and already successful series can be screwed up by “re-imagining”.

  10. Yglorba says:

    Absolution wasn’t completely terrible. There were a few levels that felt like they came from Hitman’s better era; and it did have a few good ideas.

    I liked the way its achivements worked, which were a good way to encourage exploration — it also improved replayability by giving you vague hints into aspects of the level you might not have learned. And the make-your-own-mission mode was clever.

    It’s just that they screwed up the core design too heavily (Instinct, mostly non-Hitman-ish levels, too much focus on an overarching metaplot nobody had ever cared about.) But I can totally believe that the team could make another Blood Money, since it felt like under all their mistakes, a lot of what made Hitman good was still there.

  11. cheaperthansteam says:

    From all hitman games. Blood Money is the best. Absolution is nice but I can’t stand the A.I even after the newest update. Anyway, I bought my games from here: link to Much more cheaper than STEAM or retail store.

  12. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    So from reading most of the comments here, it seems that the only consensus is that fans of the Hitman games have strong opinions, which are probably different to the opinions of all other Hitman fans.

  13. KenTWOu says:

    Absolution wasn’t that bad, it had issues, yeah, but the most important one was they underutilized their new disguise system. That’s why some of the levels were really limited because of the lack of different enemies archetypes, therefore, disguises too. Meanwhile, levels like Terminus Hotel were few and far between. And that was the most important problem. Some of the game mechanics were not systemic enough, especially heavily scripted patrolling routes because of console limitations, that’s why absolutely brilliant Contract mode didn’t really shine.

  14. sd4f says:

    I haven’t played absolution, but what I really liked out of the earlier hitman games was the puzzle element and setting. Actually aiming to get the silent assassin rating made the game more fun for me, and I found it most enjoyable in the levels where you weren’t dropped in enemy territory, but rather could ambulate around examining the detail in the environment and observe what’s going on. The most memorable levels for me have been the petronas towers, meat kings party, health bath hotel, mardi gras, heaven and hell night club; they’re the levels which i found quite memorable because they had an interesting setting, and the opportunity to examine it.

  15. knowitall011 says:

    am I the only one liked it? it was basically cool, compact missions with various ways of doing them. I thought it was a fine game. just different than other games in the genre.

  16. frank9945671 says:

    Hitman Absolution epic fail – terrible short levels, bad weapon sounds(I think best sounds in Hitman Contracts), bad music, and splinter cell style looks stupid in Hitman, and bad contracts game mode. I think coop game mode and versus could be better, for example in Hitman Contracts and Codename 47 we have big interesting levels for multiplayer system.

    How developers can try to create cooperative game mode: first of all players must choose their outfits and weapons, maybe they can choose spawn locations if developers create several entrance zones. Now lets look on Beldingford Manor level – for example players can choose swat uniform and assault palace with silenced m4 and kill all bastards on level, or kill only targets with stealth style. And maybe some script can block some outfits what NPCs use on choosed level.

    How developers can try to create versus game mode: for example they can create 1v1 and 2v2 modes, and team who first eliminate targets and leave level would be won if they survive(or teams must eliminate tagets and enemy team). Players can change their outfit as in singleplayer. Maybe on some levels can arrive police as it realised in Absulition, but for this idea developers must create more free space. And developers can create some alliances as in original Deus Ex or as in Contracts: if police see guy(bandit) with weapon they must attack him and in multiplayer players can see and create epic shootout.

    And maybe developers can add some levels from old Hitman games as bonus missions.