Hitman (stylized as HITMAN) is the 6th game in the Hitman series, released on PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. It was the first Hitman game to release through an episodic method rather than traditional release. The first episode was released March 11th, 2016, with the sixth and last on October 31st, 2016.
A retail release with the complete first season was released on January 31st, 2017. A sequel, HITMAN 2, was announced at E3 2018.
Initially, development of the next Hitman game was to be helmed by the newly created studio Square Enix Montreal. However upon numerous layoffs for veteran Hitman developers IO Interactive, they were once more given control of the next Hitman game, although all of their other projects were also cancelled in the process. Square Enix Montreal was involved with the Hitman franchise up until the sale of IO Interactive by Square Enix, but only for developing smaller tablet-based entries within the series such as Hitman Go.
IO Interactive updated their website on Jan 16, 2014, detailing the direction they intend to take with the next Hitman game. Due to the feedback after the release of Hitman: Absolution, Hitman 6 was said to be a lot more open in scope and more in line with the older games of the series. Locales were said to be much more diverse as well, and feature Agent 47 ‘at his prime’ as his work takes him across the world.
On May 28th, 2014, IO Interactive stated that their next Hitman game would not make an appearance at E3. However to reassure fans they released a concept image depicting Agent 47 in Central Europe showing one of the locations in the full game. They further stated the player will be able to explore the entire building shown in the image, and that its size will be larger than any level from Absolution.
Come E3, 2015, Hitman was given an official trailer during Sony’s conference, now rebranded as simply ‘Hitman’.
A new feature which sees new targets added to maps with only a certain time to complete them. The elusives targets can only be attempted once and the mission can’t be retried if the player dies or fail any requirements for the target.
Escalation Contracts are five-part contracts that progress in difficulty and are designed to test the player’s mastery of different parts of the level. A new objective, target, or rule is added on with each subsequent level. For example, level 2 of an Escalation Target may require the player to assassinate the target detailed in level 1 but with the additional requirement that they avoid being spotted by security cameras. New Escalation Contracts are frequently added to each episode.
Players may create their own contracts in any of the game’s levels with up to five targets. Featured and most recently published contracts can be browsed and played.
Each episode of Hitman contains a story chapter linked to at least one contract within each map. Backstory is given for each one, and upon completion a cutscene details the progression of the story’s overarching narrative.
‘Hitman’ (Main Campaign)
20 Years Earlier
The prologue begins in the year 1999. Agent 47 steps off a helicopter in the mountains which leads into a secret International Contract Agency recruitment base. Diana Burnwood greets him and speaks about the agency. 47 is lead to his quarters and is told his training will begin the next day.
47 starts his training with a simulated test, he completes the test with great effectiveness prompting Burnwood to give him more time with free-form training.
47’s final test is a recreation of the agency director Erich Soders own legendary mission, where he had to kill Jasper Knight at a Cuban military base during the cold war. Soders believed 47 was a threat to all the agency stood for and because of this made the final harder than it once was. 47 overcame Soders challenge with the help of Burnwood and was accepted in the agency under the title of “Agent”.
The prologue finishes with a conversation between Burnwood and 47. Burnwood tells 47 to lay low until The Agency contacts him. 47 leaves the mountains.
The game starts after the events of Hitman: Absolution, it is the year 2019 and Agent 47 has been given contract for Viktor Novikov and his acquaintance Dalia Margolis. IAGO, an intelligence agency has smuggled top secret information about MI6 agents in the middle east. Novikov and Margolis are part of a smuggling operation and MI6 contracts the ICA to kill them both and retrieve the information.
A day earlier Novikov and an unnamed man referred to as the “Shadow Client” hold a meeting. The Shadow Client takes a notebook from Novikov and claims it’s “The Secrets of the Global Elite.”
World of Tomorrow
After Paris, Agent 47 travels to Sapienza, Italy where the ICA has been contracted to eliminate a DNA-specific virus capable of infecting anyone and leaving no evidence of ever being infected. Also 47 has been tasked with the job of assassinating the creator of the the virus Dr. Silvio Caruso and his company appointed assistant Dr. Francesca De Santis.
A week later an unknown agent who was investigating the virus is ambushed in his car. The Shadow Client reveals that he has been following the agent since Italy after using agencies IAGO and the ICA to arrange for the destruction of the virus. He threatens the agent into giving him “the key”, whilst the agent replies with a threat of the organization from “Providence.” The ambusher mentions “Cobb” had made a similar warning, takes the key, and then shoots the agent.
A Gilded Cage
After the events in Sapienza, 47 is dispatched to Marrakesh, Morocco to assassinate fugitive and alleged fraudster Claus Hugo Strandberg as well as General Reza Zaydan, leader of the military group who freed Strandberg and is currently staging a coup. Hamilton-Lowe, a defense contractor with lucrative deals under the current Moroccan government, wants them both eliminated before the coup can be launched.
At the same time, the Shadow Client continues his work to grab keys from various individuals, opening a vault as two agents from Providence come too late to stop his theft.
47 is sent to a luxury hotel on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand to take out rock star prima-donna Jordan Cross and his attorney Ken Morgan after they were supposedly responsible for squashing any legal consequences for a drunk-driving incident that resulted in the death of his girlfriend, Hannah Highmoore. The family of Hanna asks the ICA to eliminate them both.
One week later, news emerges that Jordan’s reclusive father was kidnapped from Jordan’s funeral and later murdered. Diana quietly meets with 47 and tells him that she suspects Jordan’s death was part of a ruse to lure his father out from hiding. Furthermore, all of 47’s recent contracts were legitimate, but Diana suspects that they are being manipulated by some Shadow Client as part of a larger scheme they are not completely sure of.
In the most sweeping mission yet, 47 is dispatched to an undisclosed militia camp in Colorado, United States to assassinate the militia leader and eco-terrorist Sean Rose, Interpol defector Penelope Graves, former Mossad operative and interrogation specialist Ezra Berg, and former assassin and combat instructor Maya Parvati.
After 47 eliminates all 4 targets, he investigates the militia’s command center in the tornado shelter and uncovers the shadow client has been following the missions of 47 for decades. It is believed that only someone with knowledge of 47’s identity and the ICA could have done such a thing. 47 examines the board and sees the pictures of previous assassination targets from the game and discovers they’re linked to the shadow organization Providence (seen repeatedly throughout the game) whose covert exploits influence world events. To further concerns of the integrity of the ICA, 47 finds a picture of ICA top brass Erich Soders. Diana and 47 assume that Soders was the mole who infiltrated the ICA and place him as a prime target for assassination.
In his final mission, and the only one that isn’t a private contract, 47 makes his way to a snowy mountaintop medical facility named GAMA in Hokkaido, Japan to assassinate ICA defector Erich Soders and former yakuza lawyer and current Providence liaison Yuki Yamazaki.
Diana and 47 confirm that Soders has defected from ICA and is awaiting a rare heart transplant at the facility. 47 is sent in to assassinate Soders before he can give up the identities of ICA operatives and send a message to Providence not to interfere in ICA affairs by killing Yamazaki as well.
Having succeeded in the assassinations and gotten the attention of Providence, Diana is seated on a train where she is approached by an unknown Providence member from New York. The man tells Diana that they are aware that the infamous shadow client has used the ICA to attack and kill powerful members of Providence and that Providence would like to partner with the ICA to go after the shadow client. Diana is reluctant to accept the offer but the man offers additional information into 47’s background, presenting a photograph of a young boy who looks suspiciously like 47.
‘Patient Zero’ (Bonus Campaign)
Note: It is unclear when the events of the ‘Patient Zero’ bonus campaign – of which ‘The Source’ is the first of its four missions – take place in the series’ timeline, if at all. However, a combination of familiar maps and appearances of technologies on-par with those seen in the main game, along with minor dialogue references to prior events (Jordan Cross’s funeral) and set dressing (‘The Class’ tour equipment/road team still being present in the Himmapan Hotel) suggest ‘Patient Zero’ (or at the very least its first mission) takes place shortly after this game’s core campaign but before the events of the 2018 sequel.
47’s next assignment takes him back to the Himmapan Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.
His targets are the leader of a self-help/spiritual group known as ‘Liberation’, Oybek Nabazov, and Nabazov’s second-in-command, Sister Yulduz. Both are currently overseeing an art exhibition on-site – ‘A Study of Life, Death and Rebirth, viewed through the lens of atrocity’ – while also leading and participating in group gatherings of ‘Liberation’ followers on the hotel’s top floor.
In reality, ‘Liberation’ is a doomsday cult – and the client, a reclusive millionare, codename ‘Locksley’, has evidence of the cult’s plans to unleash a bio-weapon somewhere in Bangkok with Nabazov and Yulduz’s guidance.
47 successfully eliminates both targets. However, Nabazov’s death incurs a spike in traffic on the hotel network – a ‘dead man’s switch’ – as a series of automatically dispatched messages is released. In relaying this information to 47, Diana confirms she’ll have a team look into what’s happened.
Following Nabazov’s death, a number of Liberation cult ‘sleeper agents’ around the world are activated. While the exact nature of the surviving members’ ultimate plan is unclear, the ICA is able to triangulate the coordinates of the recipients of the automated messages. In turn, the first opportunity to dismantle the cult’s designs arises, in the form of a time-sensitive assignment to the Italian coastal town of Sapienza.
47’s objectives: eliminate YA fantasy author and secret Liberation cult affiliate, Craig Black; eliminate Black’s cult contact, Brother Akram, and retrieve a canister containing a deadly viral weapon.
Upon 47’s arrival in Sapienza, Black is participating in a publisher-arranged late-night reading of new material in a local church and its accompanying crypt. At the stroke of midnight, Black and Akram are to meet, upon which Akram will hand the weapon off to Black, who will leave to parts unknown. 47 is to ensure Black doesn’t escape with this weapon.
47 terminates both Black and Akram before retrieving the weapon. Diana assures 47 the weapon will be safely destroyed upon his return to ICA.
The next site of cult activity is in Colorado, USA. A militia compound on an old apricot farm is playing host to Liberation cultist Dr. Bradley Paine, his attempts to better-engineer a more resilient strain of the ‘Nabazov Virus’ involving use of its operatives. While his work has yet to reach beyond the compound’s walls, it seems only a matter of time before the virus’s reach exceeds the Doctor’s grasp.
Due to the exposure risk on the ground, 47 sets up a sniper nest in a nearby radio tower. His objectives are to eliminate Dr. Paine, along with four survivors of his experiments, all of whom are highly contagious. Doing so will stop the experiments, along with a further spread of the virus from the compound, owing to the virus dying with the infected individual.
Following Diana’s instruction regarding which of the militia are targets, 47 successfully and quietly eliminates both infectees and infector. He then proceeds to leave his nest to head for one last destination.
Following the final automated message recipient coordinates, the ICA discovers a man suspected of carrying an infectious disease by Japanese authorities – subsequently detained in Hokkaido’s GAMA Medical Facility – is, in fact, the creator of the ‘Nabazov Virus’ and the final surviving sleeper agent of the Liberation cult, Owen Cage. Having intentionally infected himself with his creation, Cage has become ‘Patient Zero’ for any outbreak ahead. However, the debilitating effects of his virus have left him at the mercy of Klaus Liebleid, an amoral researcher from the Ether Corporation, who is keeping Cage alive in his efforts to reverse-engineer the ‘Nabazov Virus’ for his employer.
47 must infiltrate the facility before eliminating Cage and Liebleid. Due to the highly contagious nature of the virus, 47 must also eliminate any individual infected on-site by Cage. He then exfiltrates the area.
Some time later, while on another assignment, 47 is contacted by Diana on the status of the prior operation. She has finished the final operations report on behalf of the client and confirms the destruction of the viral weapon (from ‘The Author’.) 47 muses that Nabazov’s plan was greater than a cult could fulfil; that a hidden hand could be involved. In response, Diana notes the ICA considers the contract effectively closed. 47 suggests she has some work to do before involving him further in the matter, then ends the call, having acquired his current target.
Seven separate episodes were announced that would comprise a season. These were released over the course of 2016.
Episode 1 – Intro Pack (Paris)
This was the first release and was launched on March 11th, 2016. It consisted of two tutorial levels, which made up the beta, and a fashion show located in Paris.
Episode 2 – Sapienza
The second episode took place in a small coastal town of Sapienza and was released on April 26th, 2016.
Episode 3 – Marrakesh
The third episode, Marrakesh, came out on May 31st, 2016.
Summer Bonus Episode
A special non-canon episode released July 19th, 2016. This saw Sapienza repurposed for a film shoot and Marrakesh repurposed for another contract.
Episode 4 – Bangkok
Episode 4 was released August 16th, 2016. The destination sees 47 traverse a luxury hotel on the Chao Phraya River.
Episode 5 – Colorado
Episode 5 takes place in Colorado it was released September 27th, 2016. This destination had four targets in the main campaign.
Episode 6 – Hokkaido
The final episode to round out season one was released October 31st, 2016. The location is a remote, high-tech mountaintop private hospital in Japan.
Landslide Bonus Episode
Taking place in the lower half of Sapienza, this bonus episode involves eliminating mayoral candidate Marco Abiatti. It was released alongside the retail release of HITMAN on January 31st, 2017.
Patient Zero is a four map bonus campaign set across restricted versions of Sapienza, Bangkok, Colorado and Hokkaido. It was released on November 7th, 2017.
A new addition to the Hitman games is the “Elusive Target”. Elusive Target contracts add a unique character to one of the game’s episodes with their own backstory and briefing cutscene. Changes are often made to the level, such as additional security around the target.
The Elusive Target must be killed within a specified amount of real-world time, often between 53-72 hours. The player gets one attempt at taking out an Elusive Target, though they may restart and replan the contract as long as they haven’t died. If the player does die, they may not replay the contract. Additionally, if the target is successfully killed the contract may not be replayed. Elusive Target contracts cannot be attempted once they expire.
|Mission Name||Target Name(s)||Initial Release||Internal Codename||Notes|
|The Forger||Sergei Larin||May 13th, 2016||tequilasunrise|
|The Congressman||Anthony L. Troutt||May 27th, 2016||mintjulep|
|The Prince||Adlarico Candelaria||June 8th, 2016||sazerac|
|The Sensation||Jonathan Smythe||June 14th, 2016||shandy|
|The Gunrunner||Vito Đurić||July 1st, 2016||screwdriver|
|The Twin||Dylan Narváez||July 15th, 2016||piscosour|
|The Wildcard||Gary Busey||July 21st, 2016||quadruplerumandcoke||
Gary Busey was voted by the community to be a target via poll. He received more votes than Gary Cole (who was also included within the mission).
|The Broker||Howard Moxon||August 5th, 2016||margarita|
|The Black Hat||Owen Wagner||August 26th, 2016||kamikaze|
|The Pharmacist||Nila Torvik||September 16th, 2016||kirroyal|
|The Fixer||Xander Haverfoek||October 12th, 2016||cosmopolitan|
|The Identity Thief||Brendan Conner||October 21st, 2016||whiterussian|
|The Ex-Dictator & The Gold-Digger||Richard Ekwensi & Inez Ekwensi||November 1st, 2016||brassmonkey|
|The Chef||Gabriel Santos||November 14th, 2016||sakini|
|The Angel of Death||Etta Davis||December 2nd, 2016||hottoddy|
|The Guru||Richard J. Magee||December 16th, 2016||harveywallbanger|
|The Food Critic||Wen Ts’ai||December 30th, 2016||martini|
|The Chameleon||Richard M. Foreman||January 13th, 2017||MoscowMule|
|The Blackmailer||Walter Williams||January 27th, 2017||lumumba|
|The Warlord||Adeze Oijofor||February 10th, 2017||bloodymary|
|The Doctor & The Surgeon||Pavel Frydel & Akane Akenawa)||February 24th, 2017||moscowmule|
|The Bookkeeper||Pertti Järnefelt||March 17th, 2017||Flirtini|
|The Paparazzo||Kieran Hudson||April 7th, 2017||mojito|
|The Badboy||Bartholomew Argus||caipirinha|
|The Fugitive||“Target Unknown”||dirty_octopus|
|The Entertainer||Mr. Giggles||July 14th, 2017||maitai|