Contract Kills In A Procedural City: The Hit

When I saw The Hit [official site] this morning, it took me a while to realise I’d read about the game before. That’s partly because it’s been a while since we heard anything about the game – two years – and partly because I have dreams that look a lot like The Hit. Dropped into a procedurally generated city, you have a target to kill, and should try to do so causing the minimum of commotion so as not to attract unwanted attention from the police and other players (solo play will be available too). It looks lovely, playing with social stealth and crowd behaviour in a way that tickles my fancy.

It’s a good year for fans of hitting men, with Agent 47 back in business and Dishonored 2 just around the corner. The Hit looks like it might land somewhere between Spy Party and one of those ace Hitman levels where you’re pushing through huge crowds and trying to keep track of a target.

You can buy The Hit now, though that’ll only get you a very early build and prototypes for systems not yet implemented (or not yet complete). Dan Stubbs, the developer, says he hopes to launch on Steam Early Access soon and has been sharing some details about the features he’s working on over at TIGsource. I’m particularly excited about the interiors, which look like convincing little places from which to observe and snipe. I want to jump up and down on the couches and beds.

The game as we first saw it two years ago has been almost completely rewritten, though it’s based on the same design philosophy, but hopefully we’ll get to see something more soon. There’s mention of a free demo at some point in the future. Next up is more work on those interiors and a whole lot of other things:

“Now, I have a completely different visual style (I’m trying to bring it closer to the previous version, but destruction and interiors are a higher priority right now), much larger environment (1 square kilometer at present), many, many more NPCs (over 36,000 in my most recent test, but I’ve rewritten the navigation system since then, and I’m now aiming for 100,000 NPCs), and significant extra features like destruction, an in-game editor and a few things I’ll show-off as I integrate them with the main game.”

Most exciting though is the mention of TREE generation. Because, in ways that my mind cannot entirely comprehend, the creation of trees is somehow linked to the possibility of cats and dogs in a future build.

“The other thing I’ve been working on lately is a new tree generator. The main aesthetic is very blocky, so it’s nice to have some more natural-looking shapes to break that up.

“I’ve also been getting my utility functions in order for the next (probably final, at least for a while…) update to the character generator. Trees have helped a lot with that. I should even be able to extend the body generator to allow for all sorts of bipeds and quadrupeds, so cats and dogs just got a little closer too.”

YES. The next step, naturally, is to allow the player to take on the role of a hitdog. You can follow development of The Hit right here.


  1. Neurotic says:

    Finally, an assassin-em-up I like the look of!

  2. aDFP says:

    Thanks! I had no idea you were doing an article. I’ve been doing the bare minimum of talking to people for a while so I can concentrate on development.

    Please note that the build on is seriously lacking in gameplay right now, which is why I haven’t been talking much about it. I seem to have just sold two more copies though (I think that’s six in total now), so I’ll make sure I get that updated soon.

  3. CMaster says:

    It looks a little bit like Black Shades.

    Which would be excellent if you had an adversarial mode combining the two.

    • Dan Stubbs says:

      I only discovered Black Shades recently, which is crazy ’cause I totally have a dev-crush on Wolfire games. Early versions of The Hit looked even more like Black Shades, with even blockier characters and a city made from Minecraft-alike 1m voxels.

      If David Rosen’s ever up for a head-to-head, either virtual or non-virtual (there’s gotta be a word for that), I’d be game.

  4. Scythe says:

    Is there an RSS feed to which I can subscribe in order to be kept up-to-date on this? It looks interesting.

    • Dan Stubbs says:

      Sorry, no RSS feed yet. There’s my twitter feed (link to, where I tend to post random development stuff when I stop work and remember there’s a world out there.

      I desperately need to redo my site (especially after the bump I got from RPS today) and turn my notes into a few articles, so I’ll try and figure out something then.

      Thanks for the interest!


      • MisterFactoryNewPotatohead says:

        I’m on board. As a rule, I don’t buy into early access, but I’ve tabbed your website and I’ll follow the development. When it’s out I’ll definitely buy it. :D

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    phuzz says:

    Did Spy Party ever get released? I got quite excited about that game about five years ago when it was announced.

  6. Stugle says:

    From the screenshots on the site, it looks like a city I might simply want to wander, with nary a violent thought in my mind. And then, when I get bored, procure a truck bomb to see if I can topple the tallest building (would there be such a thing as a truck bomb?).

    • Dan Stubbs says:

      Bombs are actually one of the reasons I ended up completely rewriting the game. I was using static meshes, but an assassin who can’t find their way into the lowliest shack or semi-detatched house doesn’t seem very dangerous to me.

      So yeah, bombs are going to be a thing. I’ve already written a wall damage system, but it needs a small rewrite after I changed the way facades are created… again.

      You’ll also be able to put bombs (also weapons, equipment, bodies) in vehicles when I finish those off.

      Oh, and if you just want to wander, you’ll be able to. I’m not a fan of mission nags in games, so if you want to play the game as a civilian, that’ll be an option.

  7. Shigawire says:

    Love the idea. It’s been one of my dream game ideas since 2000.. Procedurality, Hitman, destructible environments. :)
    Bought and followed.