Hitman: Absolution

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Hitman: Absolution
Developer(s)IO Interactive
Nixxes Software (PC)
Feral Interactive (Mac)
Publisher(s)Square Enix
Feral Interactive (Mac)
  • Tore Blystad
  • Peter Fleckenstein
Producer(s)Hakan B. Abrak
Designer(s)Lee Varley
Artist(s)Martin Vestergaard Madsen
  • Greg Nagan
  • Tore Blystad
  • Michael Vogt
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • WW: 20 November 2012
  • WW: 15 May 2014

Hitman: Absolution is a 2012 stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix's European subsidiary.[2] It is the fifth installment in the Hitman series and the sequel to 2006's Hitman: Blood Money. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise.[3] The game was released on 20 November 2012 (which is in the 47th week of the year in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47) for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.[4] On 15 May 2014, Hitman: Absolution – Elite Edition was released for OS X by Feral Interactive;[5] it contained all previously released downloadable content, including Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a "making of" documentary, and a 72-page artbook.[5]

Hitman: Absolution's single-player story follows Agent 47's efforts to protect a genetically-engineered teenage girl from various criminal syndicates and his former employers, the International Contract Agency (ICA), who want to use her potential as an assassin for their own ends. The game was met with a polarized reception. Most positive comments were concerning the game's graphics, environments and locations, and the varied gameplay options. However, many critics disliked the game for its linear structure as opposed to the open ended nature of previous installments. As of March 2013, the game had sold over 3.6 million copies. A sequel, Hitman, was released in 2016. On January 11, 2019, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment released the enhanced versions of Absolution and Blood Money for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as part of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection.[6]


In this gameplay screenshot, Agent 47 is disguised as a policeman. Disguises allow players to gain access to previously restricted areas.

Hitman: Absolution is a stealth game in which the player assumes the role of a hitman named Agent 47. Presented from a third-person perspective, the gameplay centers around completing set objectives within a series of levels.[7][8] Objectives can range from simply reaching the end of the level, to eliminating specific individuals.[8] The players choose how to complete each level, taking branching paths to get to a target or location.[9] Players may use pistols, bottles or bricks, assault rifles, shotguns, fiber-wire, or steel pipe against enemies if opting for the action-oriented approach, or avoid enemies altogether, not being seen, using disguises, blending into the environment, and only attacking the set target(s), if using the stealth-oriented approach.[10][11][12] Agent 47 also has the 'Instinct' ability that lets the player monitor enemies more easily.[9] There are also environmental ways to kill or distract individuals; players can use poison to spike coffee, pull switches to make a disco ball fall and break, cause a massive explosion at a gas station, pull a switch to cause scaffolding to fall down, cause fires, or set off fireworks.[9][13] Players complete chapters in order to progress through the story. The player journeys to various locations, including a mansion, library, strip club, gun store, wrestling arena, courthouse, and hotel during the story.[13]

The game introduces an online option to the series, 'Contracts', where players can create their own missions for other players to complete.[14] Players choose one of the areas from the game's story missions and decide which non-player characters (NPCs) are required to be eliminated, what weapon must be used to eliminate each target, what disguise is required, whether the body must be hidden or not and if the player is allowed to be spotted by the AI.[15] "Contracts" was shut down in May 2018 due to IO Interactive not owning or controlling the online servers but needing to comply with GDPR legislation.[16]


The genetically-engineered assassin Agent 47 (David Bateson) receives a contract from his employers, the International Contract Agency (ICA), to kill his former handler Diana Burnwood (Marsha Thomason), who betrayed the ICA for unknown reasons and sabotaged their funding and database, forcing them to reform. When he confronts Diana, 47 learns that she betrayed the ICA to protect a genetically-engineered teenage girl named Victoria (Isabelle Fuhrman) from a life of violence as an assassin. As Diana seemingly dies after being shot by 47, he agrees to protect Victoria, causing his new handler, Benjamin Travis (Powers Boothe), to brand him a traitor.

After dropping Victoria off at the Redwood Orphanage in Chicago, 47, seeking information about her and the ICA, meets disgraced Agency informant Birdie (Steven Bauer), who asks him to assassinate a local crime boss (James Sie). After the hit, Birdie informs him of Blake Dexter (Keith Carradine), head of a home defense system company, who has taken an interest in Victoria. 47 sneaks into Dexter's room at the Terminus Hotel and learns that he is planning to kidnap Victoria and sell her to the highest bidder. 47 attempts to kill Dexter, but is knocked out, framed for the murder of a maid, and left to die in Dexter's suite, which has been set on fire. After escaping from the hotel and the police, he kills Dexter's informant Dom Osmond (Jon Curry) at his strip club, but learns of a group of mercenaries led by Edward Wade (Larry Cedar) hired by Dexter to capture Victoria. Despite 47's efforts to stop them, they capture Birdie, who betrays Victoria's location to save himself. 47 defends Victoria at the orphanage and kills Wade, but Dexter's son Lenny (Shane Stevens) grabs Victoria and escapes.

In the town of Hope, South Dakota, firmly ruled by Dexter's private military company, 47 eliminates Lenny's gang, the "Hope Cougars", who were planning to kidnap Victoria from Dexter and sell her to a rival weapons company, and interrogates Lenny over Victoria's location before killing him or leaving him to die in the desert. He later infiltrates Dexter Industries' laboratory to kill the scientists who examined Victoria and destroy their research data on her, and kills Dexter's deformed bodyguard Sanchez (Isaac C. Singleton Jr.) in an underground cage fight. While recuperating at a hotel, 47 is attacked by "The Saints", Travis's personal hit squad, but manages to eliminate them, causing a furious Travis to send a larger group of ICA operatives after him.

47 eventually finds Victoria in the Hope Courthouse jail, but is captured and tortured by Dexter, until the latter is called off to a meeting with Travis, who wants to buy Victoria for $10 million. 47 escapes into the streets and pursues Hope's corrupt sheriff Clive Skurky (Jon Gries), who is on Dexter's payroll, while avoiding ICA agents searching for him. After being cornered, Skurky reveals that Dexter is heading back to Chicago, and is killed by 47. Returning to Chicago, 47 infiltrates Blackwater Park, where Travis is meeting with Dexter to buy Victoria, and kills Dexter's secretary Layla Stockton (Traci Lords), before pursuing Dexter himself to the top of the park. Dexter tries to escape with Victoria on a helicopter after ordering his men to blow up the building, but 47 mortally wounds him and rescues Victoria. After lamenting the loss of his son and money, Dexter is left to die alone.

Several months later, Travis and his men visit Diana's grave, suspecting she has faked her death, but 47 ambushes them, as he was tasked to do so in a letter left by Diana, which also mentioned that Victoria was created by Travis's funding without his ICA superiors' knowledge. After 47 wounds him, Travis rants at him for wasting Victoria's potential for the ICA, and asks whether Diana is really dead, to which 47 responds "You will never know" before killing him. It is later revealed that Diana did in fact fake her death with 47's help, and is looking after Victoria at her mansion, while 47 watches them from the distance.

The game ends with a message from Diana to Agent 47 welcoming him back to the ICA and thanking him for his help. The message also reveals that every mission undertaken by 47 since Blood Money was part of an elaborate plan by Diana to purge the ICA of internal corruption and eliminate Travis's efforts to create cloned assassins. In the final scene, Detective Cosmo Faulkner (Jonathan Adams), who has been tracking 47 since the Terminus Hotel fire, is having trouble discovering 47's identity until Birdie appears and offers to help him for a price.


Though plans to continue the Hitman franchise were first announced in 2007,[17] it was not until May 2009 that Eidos confirmed the game was in development.[18] Certain plot details for the game were rumored in 2009, stating that the game's story would lead Agent 47 to a low point from which he would have to rebuild himself.[19] On 20 April 2011, Square Enix filed the trademark for the name Hitman: Absolution in Europe, leading sites to speculate that it would be the name of the fifth Hitman game.[20] On 6 May 2011, a teaser trailer was released, confirming the title Hitman: Absolution. The trailer briefly showed Agent 47 attaching a suppressor and a rattlesnake coiled around his signature Silverballer pistol.[21] It has been reported the game will be a "familiar and yet significantly different experience from other Hitman games."[22] On 9 October 2011, a full gameplay trailer entitled "Run for Your Life" was released.[23]


The Professional Edition of Hitman: Absolution features Professional Clamshell packaging for the game, a Hitman art book, making of DVD and the "Agency Gun Pack" DLC.[24]

Hitman: Sniper Challenge[edit]

Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a single sniping mission, was developed by IO Interactive, originally as a pre-order bonus, available to people who pre-order the game. The code would be supplied by retailers upon pre-order of the game, and could be collected from retailers before release as a download code before the game's release. At the time of pre-order, Sniper Challenge was redeemable via the PSN Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and PC. While the console version launched worldwide on 15 May 2012, the PC version wasn't released until 1 August 2012.[25][26]

Pre-order bonuses[edit]

Square Enix announced special Hitman: Absolution pre-order bonuses for selected retailers.[27] For Steam purchased games, these downloadable content are available as well.[28] These items only work for Contract mode and not the single player story mode.

  • High Tech Suit and Bartoli Custom Pistol – The advanced High Tech suit provides Agent 47 with 50% increased armor paired with the Bartoli Custom, an engineered precision weapon, complete with sight and silencer.
  • Public Enemy Suit and the Bronson M1928 submachine gun – The Original Assassin can dress in a stylish Public Enemy gangster suit armed with the Bronson M1928, an imaginary submachine gun with high fire rate and deadly stopping power.
  • Agency Kazo TRG sniper rifle – This weapon is fully upgradeable with both scope and silencer.
  • High Roller Suit and the Krugermeier 2-2 Pistol – The High Roller suit dresses Agent 47 in a fancy tuxedo discreetly outfitted with the Krugermeier, an accurate, reliable stealth weapon with a built-in silencer.
  • Hitman: Absolution: Public Enemy Disguise – This disguise gives Agent 47 a 1930s gangster look.
  • Hitman: Absolution: Deus Ex (Adam Jensen) Disguise – This "suit" makes Agent 47 look like Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, complete with built-in sunglasses. This DLC also unlocks the Steiner-Bisley Zenith pistol from the same game.


Critical response[edit]

Hitman: Absolution received "generally positive" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[29][30][31] Positive reviews came from GamesRadar+, calling it "one of the strongest entries in the series to date",[35] and Game Informer, who wrote that "devising a strategy, using the environment and disguises to your advantage, and leaving before anyone knows you're there are the hallmarks of a perfect hit, and Absolution proves Agent 47 is still gaming's premier hitman."[34]

Edge gave it 7/10, saying "the game has taken a unique formula and diluted it".[32] VentureBeat gave it 7.5/10 saying "Absolution aims high but misses the mark."[45] Eurogamer gave it 7/10 saying "Agent 47 doesn't begin Hitman: Absolution with amnesia, but the six years that have passed since we last took control of him in Blood Money do seem to have dulled his creators' recollections of what made him so popular in the first place."[33] GameSpot gave it 7.5/10 saying "Hitman: Absolution's vivid world and enjoyable stealth-action gameplay overshadow its few notable inconsistencies."[36] IGN gave it 9/10 saying "It's nice to have a game that doesn't just encourage improvisation; it requires it."[39] Kotaku gave Absolution a positive review.[46] Giant Bomb gave it 4/5,[38] as did Joystiq.[40] Destructoid gave it 8.5/10.[8]

The Daily Telegraph gave the game a 2/5 saying "Despite the fact that Absolution is a hugely disappointing entry into the canon, Hitman is still a fabulous series."[44] International Business Times gave the game a 5/10 saying "An unremarkable, derivative clone of a game that's barely a shadow of what Hitman used to be."[43] VideoGamer.com gave it 5/10 saying "The problem with Absolution is that its new custodians from the Kane and Lynch team seem to have fundamentally misunderstood what made Hitman great."[42] PC Gamer gave it 66% saying "A passable stealth game, but one that betrays almost everything that, until now, has made Hitman great."[41] GameTrailers gave it 6.9/10 saying "It's clear that a good deal of effort was put into crafting Hitman: Absolution's world. This makes its flaws all the more unfortunate."[37] The New Statesman gave no rating but said "If developers want to win back fans when they revisit established franchises maybe they should look to what made those games popular in the first place and by doing so maybe they'd avoid stepping on a rake or two."[47] The Irish Times gave no score but said "The move away from the completely open world may leave some hardcore fans of Hitman disappointed."[48] The Daily Record gave the game 3/5 saying "While it's more accessible than previous Hitman games, Absolution loses a lot of the freedom that fans of the franchise love, and perhaps doesn't necessarily fit the Hitman name any longer."[49] The Escapist gave no score but said "Hitman: Absolution is not the best nor the worst Hitman".[50] The Guardian gave it 3/5 saying "The game may look better and play better than any Hitman game before it, but one can only marvel at how IO managed to lose sight of their IP's most appealing aspects so often."[51]


On 26 March 2013, Square Enix announced that the game had sold about 3.6 million copies at retail, but has failed to reach predicted sales targets.[52]

Technical issues[edit]

Shortly after launch, scores of complaints came in about the game crashing, freezing and corrupting file saves on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, rendering many of the games unplayable.[53] On 26 November 2012, IO Interactive stated that they were working around the clock to try and fix these technical errors, but also stated that they did not know what exactly was causing the errors, so a patch may take some time.[54]

The patch for the PC and PS3 versions was released on 10 December 2012, while the Xbox 360 patch was released nine days later.[citation needed]


On 29 May 2012, a cinematic teaser trailer, produced by Square Enix's CGI studio Visual Works, titled "Attack of the Saints" was released.[55] The trailer's depiction of "gun-toting, PVC and latex-clad nuns being killed in a hail of bullets" sparked controversy over the allegedly sexist portrayal of women.[56][57] IO Interactive's Tore Blystad, the game's director, later apologized, stating they're "sorry that we offended people" and that it "was truly not the intention of the trailer."[58]

On 4 December 2012, IO Interactive faced heavy criticism for releasing a Hitman: Absolution Facebook app that allowed users to identify and threaten Facebook friends for assassination. Methods of identifying female friends included "her hairy legs", "her muffin top" and "her small tits". Methods of identifying male friends included "his ginger hair", "his shit hair" and "his tiny penis". Users could choose a reason to kill their friend, such as the fact that they "smell bad" or were cheating on their partner. Friends received a personalised video on their Facebook wall identifying them as a target. Signing up to watch the video presented recipients with a mixture of their own photos and Facebook details merged into a video of Hitman character Agent 47 shooting them. IO Interactive admitted the promotional app was in bad taste and removed it the same day.[59][60][61]


  1. ^ Additional music composed by Dynamedion.[1]


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External links[edit]