I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember. I recall my first ever games console being an Atari 2600 and I’m very happy to say that I still own the console and a collection of Atari 2600 games.
During the early noughties, when I’d moved onto the PlayStation 2, I fell in love with a game called Hitman: Silent Assassin, a sequel to Hitman: Codename 47. In the game, you play a genetically engineered assassin clone known only as Agent 47 with an enigmatic bald head, barcode neck tattoo, sharp black suit and ‘Silverballer’ pistols.
The aim of the game was to assassinate targets given by the International Contracts Agency (ICA) by any means necessary. Of course, the ideal method was to execute the kills silently, either by poisoning food or drink, or stealthily creeping upon the victim and garrotting them using a fibre wire. However, despite my professional silent assassin intentions, I’d usually get caught out by security guards and then it’d turn into a bloodbath with all guns blazing. More often than not, I’d replay the level, hiding bodies and stealing their outfits to conceal my real identity in an attempt to gain as clean a kill as possible.
The franchise has continued since then to include Hitman: Contracts, Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Absolution, all of which I’ve now acquired for my current gaming platform, the PC. Two movies have even spawned from the successful series with the latest, Hitman: Agent 47, due out this summer starring Rupert Friend as the perfect assassin.
The August issue of PC Gamer teases the upcoming Hitman game, known only as Hitman, with its special subscription only cover. Much like we saw at games conference E3 a few weeks ago, we see a younger Agent 47 than we’ve seen before, with many fans attempting to guess the game’s timeline convinced it’ll be set after Hitman: Blood Money. What has pleased fans is that David Bateson will be returning as the voice of Agent 47, a well-made decision by IO Interactive who previously caused anger among the gaming community when initially dropping Bateson before reinstating him for Hitman: Absolution.
We’ll all be praying that series composer Jesper Kyd will return with his haunting yet beautiful score that the series is renowned for, after being dropped from Hitman: Absolution. I personally long for Vivienne McKee to return too, as the voice of agency handler Diana Burnwood after having been replaced by Marsha Thomason. Whilst these changes may have been made to take the game in a different direction, these three individuals are key to the Hitman franchise and until they’re all reunited, I fear the game won’t have the same charm.
Video game magazine PC Gamer were fortunate to have a hands-on experience of Hitman and gave us an insight into what we can expect from the new game. Like many video games nowadays, particularly from publisher TellTale, it seems that Hitman will be gradually released in ‘contract’ episodes. This will allow early adopters, who purchase each episode as it’s released, to shape the future of the game as IO Interactive take on board users’ comments and criticisms.
What I enjoy most about the series is the sandbox style, where you’re able to complete the mission in any way you see fit. The last game that was released from the franchise, Hitman: Absolution, kind of took away the sandbox aspect and felt much more linear as, in most cases, you had to follow a certain path. With the vast level described by PC Gamer in the demo they tested, it seems IO Interactive have learnt from past mistakes and are attempting to take us back to the style we know, love and expect. And if they don’t? Well, such a dedicated fan base are sure to make their voices heard!
With the first episode of Hitman expected to hit the digital shelves during December 2015, we still have a little while to wait until we find out for sure whether this game will be restored to its former glory, but as a gamer and a fan of the character and series, I put my faith in the developers to get it right.
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