Agent 47

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Agent 47
Hitman character
Agent 47 in promotional art for Hitman: Absolution (2012)
First appearanceHitman: Codename 47 (2000)
Created byIO Interactive
Designed byJacob Andersen
Portrayed byTimothy Olyphant (Hitman)
Borislav Parvanov (Hitman, young)
Rupert Friend (Hitman: Agent 47)
Jesse Hergt (Hitman: Agent 47, young)
Voiced byDavid Bateson

Agent 47 is a fictional character, the protagonist and the player character of the Hitman video game franchise, developed by IO Interactive. He has been featured in all games of the series, as well as various spin-off media, including two theatrically released films, a series of comics, and two novels. He has been voiced by actor David Bateson in every main entry in the series since its inception in 2000.

A monotone contract killer without empathy,[1] the player controls 47 as he travels around the world to execute hits on various criminals that are assigned to him by Diana Burnwood, his handler within the fictional International Contract Agency (ICA). The character takes his name from being the 47th clone created by various wealthy criminals from around the world, in the hopes of creating an army of obedient soldiers to carry out their commands. As one of the last clones to be created, 47 is among the most skillful, and manages to escape his creators before finding employment with the ICA.

Agent 47 has been positively received by critics for his moral ambiguity and nuanced characterization.[2][3] Alongside other gaming characters with similar traits, such as Lara Croft, Sam Fisher, and Solid Snake, he is considered one of the most popular and significant characters in video games.[4][5][6][7]

Concept and creation[edit]

According to Jacob Andersen, lead designer of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Agent 47 went from being "a mean old hairy guy" to having "hi-tech glasses" before getting to his current design. More inspiration came from "comic books, Hong Kong movies" and other similar media.[8] According to game director Rasmus Højengaard, the idea of a clone whose future is decided by the people that created him intrigued the Hitman team. He felt that the idea of creating the "ultimate assassin" by cloning evolved with the character before the first game was completed. The character of 47 is voiced in the video game series by David Bateson, whom the appearance of 47 is based on.[9]


Agent 47 has a tattoo on the back of his head in the style of a barcode. The creators of Hitman have been noted saying that they decided to include a tattoo on the back of his head to "give players something to look at" since 47 is bald. In the game's lore, the reason for this tattoo was to ID him among the other clones. 47's typical attire consists of a black suit, black leather gloves and shoes, white dress shirt, and a burgundy tie. As the Hitman series allows players the option of engaging in stealth-based strategy to avoid conflict, 47 has the ability to exchange his default costume (assigned to 47 at the beginning of a level or displayed in a cut scene) with various characters in the game to avoid detection. There are a wide variety of costumes to choose from, including police, military, medical, and culinary uniforms that are all made available by incapacitating or killing non-player characters and stealing their clothing, or finding clothing bags around the level.

47 is completely bald with pale skin and blue eyes with dark eyebrows. His International Contract Agency (ICA) file from Hitman: Absolution states his height as 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in).[10] In Hitman: Enemy Within, his weight is given as 85 kg (187 lb).[11] It is apparent that 47 grows older, evident by the added wrinkles through the course of the first four games. He significantly aged in Absolution, with many wrinkles on his face, him performing certain actions slower, and other reduced abilities. This is retconned in the 2016 game as 47 appears much younger, with him looking exactly the same in the game's main sections and prologue which takes place 20 years before, when he was inducted into the ICA. A medical report on 47 in-game states that although 47 is in his 50s, his body is still in peak condition as if he is in his 20s, and he is completely immune to disease. Since players of the video game series control the character from a third person perspective, the barcode that is tattooed on the back of his head is starkly prominent, although he has his head covered by a bandage for most of Hitman: Absolution after he removes it in an attempt to disguise himself.

47's barcode as based on images from Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal

47's barcode acts as a security key to access areas of the facility where he was created and trained. His barcode is implied to be in Code 39; according to Dr. Ort-Meyer's journal, the barcode was added to the tattoo in 1975, one year after the code was developed.

Alternative stock costumes are occasionally provided. In Hitman: Codename 47, he is seen wearing a guerrilla camouflage in the jungle, while in Silent Assassin Agent 47 wears a protective anorak in the Japanese mountains and a blue turban in Afghanistan. At the end of Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 wears a white suit and white gloves while he is placed into a coffin during his funeral. The World of Assassination trilogy depicts various level specific outfits, as well as a few bonus ones. These outfits sometimes include a red, white and/or black theme in reference to the colors of his suit. In addition to clothing, Agent 47's distinctive choice of weaponry plays an important role in his appearance. He prefers to use a pair of silver customized AMT Hardballers, a M1911 clone, nicknamed "Silverballers". Following Hitman: Contracts, the Hitman symbol replaces the Silverballer logos that are typically printed on the side of the pistol's slide. Throughout the franchise, the Silverballers serve as Agent 47's signature weapon, along with his fiber wire garrote, appearing in every game of the series. In the World of Assassination, 47 is often also seen to wield a black silenced 1911 in artworks and cutscenes, (however the Silverballer is also an unlockable).


In 2012, GamesRadar+ ranked Agent 47 as the 47th "most memorable, influential, and badass" protagonist in video games.[12] He is regarded by GamesRadar+, FHM, The Telegraph, Play, and G4 as one of the best assassins in video games.[13][14][15][16][17] IGN ranked him as gaming's fourth "most notorious" anti-hero, while The Telegraph ranked him third on their list of top 10 video game anti-heroes.[18][19] Complex ranked him as the 5th "best assassin and hitman in video games", noting him as the "original contract killer", while also praising his outfit as "stylish".[20][21][22] Empire ranked him as the 21st "greatest video game character", stating that his design was "striking".[23] Rolling Stone ranked Agent 47 among the most iconic video game characters of the 21st century.[24]


Video games[edit]



  • Hitman: Enemy Within
  • Hitman: Damnation


  • Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman series


  1. ^ "IO Interactive - Agent 47". Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  2. ^ "How Hitman's Agent 47 became an iconic anti-hero". PCGamesN. 2021-11-12. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  3. ^ Peters, Micah (2021-02-22). "Character Study: Agent 47, the Dignified Death Machine at the Center of 'Hitman'". The Ringer. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  4. ^ Rachel Weber (2021-11-08). "The 50 most iconic video game characters of all time". gamesradar. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  5. ^ Aug 8, Elton JonesPublished; 2023 2:00pm (2023-08-08). "The 51 Most Iconic Video Games Characters of All Time". Retrieved 2023-08-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ "50 Most Iconic Video Game Characters". 2017-03-12. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  7. ^ Schofield, Shawna (2023-08-02). "The 25 Most Popular Video Game Characters of All Time". Gaming Gorilla. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  8. ^ "Hitman 2 Interview". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  9. ^ "David Bateson Agent 47 Interview". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13. Retrieved 2017-02-07.
  10. ^ Hitman: Absolution: Trailer "ICA File 5 – Agent 47"; (photo 1 from trailer, photo 2 from trailer Archived 2013-12-30 at the Wayback Machine).
  11. ^ William C. Dietz: Hitman: Enemy Within, 2007, Del Rey Books, ISBN 978-0-345-47132-1, page 12.
  12. ^ Agent 47 - 100 best heroes in video games Archived 2012-11-11 at the Wayback Machine, GamesRadar, October 19, 2012
  13. ^ Gelo Gonzales, The 5 most memorable hitmen in gaming Archived 2014-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, FHM, November 26, 2009
  14. ^ "The Top 7... Assassins". GamesRadar+. 2008-02-06. Archived from the original on 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2008-02-06.
  15. ^ "The 10 best video game assassins". The Telegraph. 15 November 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-12-20. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  16. ^ Zivalich, Nikole (October 12, 2010). "Top Video Game Assassins: AC through Tekken". Archived from the original on July 9, 2015. Retrieved 2015-06-16.
  17. ^ "Top 5 Greatest PlayStation Assassins". PLAY Magazine. 2010-05-06. Archived from the original on 2016-03-11. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  18. ^ IGN Staff,Gaming's Most Notorious Anti-Heroes Archived 2014-02-18 at the Wayback Machine, IGN, March 5, 2012
  19. ^ Cowen, Nick; Hoggins, Tom (September 16, 2009). "Top 10 game anti-heroes". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 3, 2013. Retrieved April 21, 2013.
  20. ^ "The 10 Best Assassins And Hitmen in Video Games". Complex. 2013-01-04. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  21. ^ "The 15 Most Stylish Hitmen". Complex. 2012-11-30. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  22. ^ "The 25 Most Stylish Video Game Characters". Complex. 2011-09-14. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-31.
  23. ^ The 50 Greatest Video Game Characters Archived 2013-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, Empire, May 28, 2010
  24. ^ "50 Most Iconic Video Game Characters of the 21st Century". Rolling Stone. 18 November 2016.

Further reading[edit]