Hitman (2016 video game)

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Hitman 2015.jpg
Developer(s)IO Interactive
  • Christian Elverdam
  • Jacob Mikkelsen
  • Ryan Barnard
  • Markus Friedl
  • Ole Mogensen
  • Alex Hilman
Designer(s)Jesper Hylling
  • Mogens Hvidfelt
  • Andrew Mattingly
Artist(s)Jonathan Rowe
Writer(s)Michael Vogt
Composer(s)Niels Bye Nielsen

Hitman is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive. The game was published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in an episodic format, starting in March 2016. Ports for Linux and macOS, developed and published by Feral Interactive, were released in February 2017 and June 2017 respectively. It is the sixth entry in the Hitman series. The game's prologue acts as a prequel to Hitman: Codename 47, while the main game takes place six years after the events of Hitman: Absolution.

Hitman: The Complete First Season was released in January 2017 with all prior content included, except for past Elusive Targets and the PlayStation 4-exclusive Sarajevo Six. Following IO Interactive's management buyout from Square Enix in 2017, IO Interactive took over digital publishing, while Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment was contracted for retail distribution. A sequel, Hitman 2, was released in 2018.


Hitman is an action-adventure stealth video game in which players control Agent 47, a genetically-enhanced assassin, from a third-person perspective, as he travels to international locations and carries out contracted assassinations of criminal targets across the globe. As in other games in the Hitman series, players are given a large amount of room for creativity in approaching their assassinations.[10] As such, players may utilise long-ranged rifles to snipe a target from a long distance, or they may decide to assassinate the target at close range by using the aforementioned blade weapons or 47's specially-equipped garrote wire.[11] A common method to approach a mission is to incapacitate other non-player characters and wear their outfits as disguises, which allows the player to gain access to restricted areas more easily.[12] Actions of non-playable characters influence the game. For instance, players can gain more information about the position of their target through listening to a nearby news reporter.[13]

The level design of the game features a structure similar to that of Hitman: Blood Money and earlier games in the series, as opposed to the linear structure of Hitman: Absolution. Every episode in the game features a sandbox-type environment which can be explored by the player, featuring numerous ways to eliminate targets from accidents to scripted "opportunities" which require multiple tasks to complete. Levels are larger in Hitman, in which the maps in the game are "six to seven times larger than the biggest levels in Absolution". Levels accommodate about 300 non-playable characters (NPCs), with each having different routines and reacting differently to players' actions.[14] Players can save their game anytime during missions.[15] Instinct mode, which was introduced in Absolution, returns in a simplified form, no longer being an expendable resource.[15] A player's mission performance review is rated on a 5-star rating system, influenced by factors such as time taken, number of non-targets killed, whether the player was spotted, whether or not they have been recorded on camera or if bodies were found. Completing challenges in a mission will award players with Mastery Points. Gaining enough mastery points will cause the player to earn a level of Mastery Level, with a total of 20 levels when playing on the "Normal" difficulty setting. As the player progresses through the 20 mastery levels, each level will earn players new items including new gadgets such as weapons, different types of poison and explosives, new agency pick-up locations, or new starting locations.[16] The "Professional" difficulty setting has 10 mastery levels.

IO Interactive introduced a "live component" to Hitman,[17] with new content being delivered regularly in downloadable form. This includes time-limited missions called "Elusive Targets". If a player fails to assassinate an elusive target before the mission expires, or alert the target and allow them to escape, the target will not return. Successful completion of multiple targets yield cosmetic rewards for the player.[18] "Escalation contracts", which are contracts created by the developers, include multiple stages that requires the player to complete certain tasks such as assassinating a target with a specific weapon or disguise or breaking into a safe. Completing a stage will progress through the escalation, and the difficulty will increase with new targets to assassinate, new challenges to comply with or new changes to the level. All additional downloadable content after release will be free of charge.[19] Hitman: Absolution's online Contracts mode also returned in Hitman, allowing players to assign up to five NPCs as assassination targets, set requirements for how to kill them, and share their contract with other players to compete for high scores on.[20] In an interview with PCGamesN, lead online designer Torben Ellert has stated that past Elusive Targets will not be making a return, saying that the quality of the content would not stand up to multiple replays.[21]


47 fulfills several assassination contracts for the International Contract Agency. Though the contracts at first appear to be unrelated, an unidentified man, referred to only as the "shadow client", has covertly coordinated these contracts to attack a secretive organisation called Providence, so that the ICA will appear culpable while disguising his own involvement. The final contracts address the fallout caused by the ICA uncovering the shadow client's actions, and by Providence discovering the ICA's role in the attacks.


In 1999, a man who goes by the alias 47 is initiated into the International Contract Agency, demonstrating exceptional aptitude as an assassin. However, the ICA is unable to verify his background or uncover any information about him. Uncomfortable with having no leverage over 47, the ICA training director, Erich Soders, arranges for 47 to fail his final test despite passing all of the other tests flawlessly. 47's handler and fellow trainee, Diana Burnwood, discovers this plot and helps 47 to pass the test against Soders' order of having him do it alone. Soders reluctantly approves agent status for 47 and assigns Diana as his handler. The events of 47's subsequent career are then shown as a montage of assassinations from the previous games in the series.

In 2019, the shadow client performs an assassination for Viktor Novikov, one of the heads of the international spy ring IAGO, and receives a copy of all of IAGO's gathered intelligence as payment.[22] The shadow client proceeds to use the IAGO files to identify Providence's secret operations.[23] To cover his tracks, the shadow client anonymously discloses to MI6 an impending IAGO auction of an MI6 NOC list, to take place at a fashion show by Novikov's designer label Sanguine.[24] In Episode 1, "The Showstopper", MI6 hires 47 to prevent the sale by assassinating both IAGO ringleaders, Novikov and Dalia Margolis, at the fashion show in Paris, France.

The shadow client sets two more ICA contracts in motion in order to disrupt Providence's activities without exposing himself. He discloses, to a stockholder in the Ether Biotech Corporation, a secret Ether project[25] to develop a deadly weaponised virus. In Episode 2, "World of Tomorrow", the stockholder hires 47 to assassinate Silvio Caruso and Francesca De Santis, the Ether scientists in charge of the project, and to destroy the virus prototype housed at Ether's biolab in Caruso's mansion in the fictitious town of Sapienza, Italy.

The shadow client also discloses an impending military coup d'état in Morocco to Hamilton-Lowe, a construction contractor with lucrative government contracts in the country. In Episode 3, "A Gilded Cage", Hamilton-Lowe hires 47 to eliminate the conspirators behind the plot, General Reza Zaydan[26] and fugitive bank CEO Claus Hugo Strandberg[27]—both secretly Providence operatives—in Marrakesh, Morocco.

At the same time, the shadow client obtains two keys required to open a vault in New York which holds information on Providence's assets and operatives. He obtains one from banker Eugene Cobb, a Providence operative, while engineering Cobb's death in a plane crash,[28] and he obtains the other by tailing and killing a Herald, a Providence messenger and liaison,[29] who had been dispatched to investigate the virus's destruction.[30] Using both keys, the shadow client breaches the Providence vault and steals its contents, prompting two Providence members, a man named Fanin and another, unnamed man, to investigate. The unnamed Providence member realises that a coordinated attack has been launched at Providence.

Finally, the shadow client sets up an ICA contract to draw another Providence member, the recluse media mogul Thomas Cross, into the open. Cross had ordered a coverup that exonerated his son, famed indie rock singer Jordan Cross, for the murder of Jordan's girlfriend, Hannah Highmoore; the shadow client reveals the truth to her family. In Episode 4, "Club 27", the Highmoores hire 47 to kill Jordan Cross and Ken Morgan, the lawyer who conducted the coverup, while both are staying at the Himmapan luxury hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Deploying forces from a private militia under his control, the shadow client kidnaps Thomas Cross from Jordan's funeral, then kills Cross and steals billions from his offshore bank accounts. The ICA, realising that an unknown party has benefited from the Cross contract, re-examines 47's previous contracts and discovers the shadow client's role in anonymously leaking intelligence to the clients. The ICA tracks these transmissions to a training camp for the shadow client's militia, an assembly of combatants and specialists recruited from across the world to fight Providence. Seeking to eliminate the shadow client for his manipulations, the ICA orders an operation prematurely due to Erich Soders's intervention. In Episode 5, "Freedom Fighters", the ICA sends 47 to the camp in Colorado, USA, to eliminate eco-terrorist and bombmaker Sean Rose, the militia's leader, as well as criminal profiler Penelope Graves, Mossad interrogator Ezra Berg, and combat instructor and former Tamil Tigers gunrunner Maya Parvati, all militia leaders.

At the camp, 47 and Diana find the shadow client's research revealing the connections of the previous contracts to Providence. They learn for the first time that Providence, whose existence and covert control over world affairs were thought to be mythical, is real. Though they find evidence that the shadow client knows 47's identity, the pursuit of the shadow client is sidetracked when they also discover that Soders is secretly a Providence agent. The shadow client and the other remaining militia commander, hacktivist Olivia Hall, use this opportunity to go into hiding.

The ICA discovers that Providence has only recently recruited Soders, after tracing the recent attacks on Providence back to the ICA. In Episode 6, "Situs Inversus", 47 assassinates Soders before he is able to trade a list of ICA operatives to Providence and his Providence liaison and former Yakuza lawyer, Yuki Yamazaki, at the GAMA private hospital in Hokkaido, Japan, where Soders is being treated for a heart condition. Subsequently, Providence uncovers the shadow client's role in the attacks as well. The unnamed Providence member approaches Diana, seeking to hire the ICA to target the shadow client. Upon her refusal, he offers to reveal information about 47's unknown past, leading her to reconsider.

Bonus episodes[edit]

  • In "The Icon", 47 visits Sapienza for the first time.[31] 47 assassinates actor-director Dino Bosco, to save the client, L'Avventura Pictures, from Bosco's financially ruinous budget demands while filming a superhero film for the studio.
  • In "A House Built on Sand", 47 visits Marrakesh for the first time.[31] 47 thwarts a planned sale of client Hamilton-Lowe's trade secrets from Hamilton-Lowe chief architect Matthieu Mendola to rival construction magnate Kong Tuo-Kwang, assassinating both men and intercepting the documents.
  • In "Holiday Hoarders", 47 visits Paris for the first time.[32] 47 assassinates professional thieves Harry Bagnato and Marv Gonif as they attempt to burglarise the Palais De Walewska on Christmas. The targets are a nod to Joe Pesci's and Daniel Stern's characters from the holiday film Home Alone.[33]
  • In "Landslide", 47 visits Sapienza again.[34] 47 is hired by Silvio Caruso to assassinate Marco Abiatti, a snake-tongued wealthy businessman-turned-politician, who has returned to his hometown to run for mayor, with the intention of turning it into holiday resorts for the rich.

The Sarajevo Six (PlayStation 4 exclusive)[edit]

47 receives contracts to assassinate the six former members of the Sigma deniable operations paramilitary unit of the CICADA private military company, who were collectively responsible for war crimes committed during the siege of Sarajevo, but evaded prosecution by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In this alternate storyline, 47 tracks each Sigma member to one of the Season 1 mission settings, with the events and characters of Season 1 serving as backdrop.

At the Sanguine fashion show in Paris, 47 eliminates Scott Sarno, who serves as CICADA's European Director of Operations. In Sapienza, 47 eliminates Gary Lunn, head of security at the Ether biolab. In Marrakesh, 47 eliminates Walter Menard, who has been hired to extract Claus Strandberg from Morocco. At the Himmapan in Bangkok, 47 eliminates John Stubbs, in retirement and on holiday with his wife. At the militia training camp in Colorado, 47 eliminates Patrick Morgan, who has been recruited by Sean Rose into the militia.

For the final contract, 47 is sent to the GAMA hospital in Hokkaido to both eliminate Taheiji Koyama and retrieve a set of files documenting Sigma's operations. If 47 approaches the target, Koyama, deducing 47's identity, confesses that he himself ordered all six assassinations to bring the Sigma members to justice for their crimes, and that he and his comrades each became rich by attacking and bombing a convoy of refugees fleeing Belgrade, and stealing the convoy's concealed cargo of gold. Koyama instructs 47 to publicise the Sigma files before freely submitting himself to death at 47's hands. After completing his objectives, 47 remarks to Diana that despite the release of the files, public indifference would nevertheless relegate Sigma's long-past atrocities to obscurity.

Patient Zero[edit]

A doomsday cult named "Liberation" masquerades itself as a self-help group and is organising an exhibition in the Himmapan hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, planning to release a bio-weapon attack in the city. 47 receives contract from a reclusive billionaire codenamed "Locksley" to eliminate Oybek Nabazov, leader of the cult, and Sister Yulduz, his second-in-command. As 47 leaves the hotel, Diana spots a series of self-dispatched messages from the hotel's network, which later is revealed to be a signal to activate the cult's sleeper agents.

Diana realised they misjudged the cult's capabilities and a ring of sleeper agents is on the move. ICA identifies two cult members meeting in Sapienza, Italy to exchange a viral weapon. 47 is dispatched to assassinate Craig Black, a renowned author, and Brother Akram, a dedicated cult member who possesses the weapon. 47 retrieves the viral weapon from the targets.

ICA intel confirms the exact coordinates of the U.S.-bound signal from Nabazov's deadman's trigger, which indicates a medical doctor who carries a live sample of the Nabazov virus is testing the virus in a remote paramilitary compound in Colorado. 47 uses a sniper rifle to eliminate Bradley Paine, the doctor who has the virus, and four mercenaries who have been infected.

ICA intercepts a memo indicating that Japanese authorities detained a man en route to Sydney, who showed signs of infection while he was detained by the police, and was sent to the GAMA medical facility in Hokkaido, Japan. 47 infiltrates the medical facility to eliminate Owen Cage, the virus researcher associated with the weaponisation of the Nabazov virus; he infected himself with the intention to become Patient Zero, but is kept in isolation within the facility. The second target is Klaus Liebleid, an Ether Corporation scientist, who is trying to extract as much information about the virus as possible before Owen Cage dies, which will allow Ether to reverse engineer the weaponised virus and profit from it.

47 completes the contract, and the spread of the Nabazov virus is contained, the virus itself destroyed as well. The campaign ends with a conversation between 47 and Diana.


Hitman was to be developed by Square Enix developer Square Enix Montréal, a newly established studio.[35] Due to cutbacks and layoffs at IO Interactive, other projects were not followed through, and they shifted their attention to a new Hitman game,[36][37][38] and Square Enix Montréal turned their focus on developing smartphone and tablet versions of Hitman and other games.[39][40][41]

On 16 January 2014, an open letter was filed by IO Interactive, sharing some news details on the next game. It stated the intention to make the next version less linear, with more open-ended maps.[42] On 28 June 2015, the first concept art of the game was released.[43] On 18 March 2015, Square Enix trademarked "World of Assassination", which was later revealed to be a promotion slogan for Hitman.[44]

On 15 June 2015, a full reveal of the game took place at Sony's E3 2015 press conference.[45] A gameplay trailer of the game was released during Square Enix's press conference on 16 June 2015.[46] Also on 16 June 2015, David Bateson confirmed that he would reprise his role as Agent 47.[47]

The Hitman beta, featuring the prologue of the game set in a secret recruitment and training facility, was launched in February 2016, with the PlayStation 4 version released a week earlier than the PC. It was available for a limited period to players who preordered either version of the game from selected retail or digital outlets. A second beta was announced for all PlayStation Plus members that was released on 4 March at no cost.[48]

In March 2016, advertising company Omelet announced they had collaborated with Square Enix for a new campaign called Choose Your Hit. People could vote online or through Twitter to "kill" either Gary Cole or Gary Busey, with the "winning" actor who received the most votes lending their voice and likeness to the target in an upcoming mission. It was announced one month later Busey had won and would feature as the target in a mission released sometime in mid 2016.[49] On 18 July 2016, Busey was announced as the seventh elusive target in the game, and his mission would be available for seven days starting on 21 July 2016. Cole appears in the mission as well.[50]


Hitman was originally set to be released on 8 December 2015 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, but was later delayed to 11 March 2016 so as to allow additional development time for IO Interactive to include more content into the base game.[51] The PlayStation 4 version of the game features six exclusive missions known as The Sarajevo Six. Players who pre-ordered the game gained access to the game's beta, which was released for PlayStation 4 on 12 February 2016 and Microsoft Windows on 19 February 2016.[52][53] No season pass was available at launch, as the company considered the addition of paid-content a "wrong approach".[54]

Originally, the game was to be released in an "intro pack" that included all the base content, including Paris, Sapienza and Marrakesh locations, six story missions, three sandboxes, forty "signature kills", a contracts mode with 800 different targets, and regular events held by the developer. New missions and locations set in Thailand, the United States, and Japan were to be released after the game's launch, and a full-priced version was to be released following the release of this post-release content.[1] No downloadable content was to be released for the game and no microtransactions were to be offered, and new missions, locations and targets were to be added to the game regularly as free updates after the game's release.[55][56] This format of release was inspired by modern TV shows, and two more seasons are set to follow after the completion of the first season.[57] According to the game's lead writer, Michael Vogt, Season 1 only serves to introduce the game's characters, whereas the game's story would become increasingly important in later seasons. IO Interactive intentionally avoided adding lots of story content in the first half of Season 1 to ensure that players can relate themselves to Agent 47, a merciless assassin who travels around the world to kill targets assigned to him.[58]

On 14 January 2016, it was announced that Hitman would instead be released in an episodic manner; on-launch, the game would consist of the prologue and Paris missions. New content will be released on a monthly basis, including the remaining two cities of the main game (Sapienza and Marrakesh) in April and May 2016 respectively, followed by the previously planned Thailand, U.S. and Japan expansions by the end of the "season" in late 2016, as well as weekly events and additional planned content between the monthly updates. These expansions will be available at no cost to those who purchase a full-priced digital copy of the game, but those who purchase the "Intro Pack" must purchase them. IO Interactive head Hannes Seifert explained that the move was designed to provide the team time to develop the game's levels, and to allow them to "create a living game that will expand and evolve over time and establish a foundation for the future — this is the first game in a storyline which will continue and expand with future Hitman games."[59] After the release of Marrakesh, IO Interactive announced a "Summer Bonus Episode". It was released on 19 July 2016 and features a remake of the Sapienza and Marrakesh levels, which "will also present a range of new in-game Challenges and Opportunities and an entirely new setting for Escalation Contracts and Elusive Targets."[60]

Episodes and post-release content[edit]

Hitman is separated into seven episodes, released in consecutive calendar months, starting in March 2016.[61]

Content Release date
"Paris" 11 March 2016[1]
"Sapienza" 26 April 2016[2]
"Marrakesh" 31 May 2016[3]
"Bonus Episode" 19 July 2016[60]
(only available to Full Experience and Upgrade Pack owners)

31 January 2017[62]
(also includes a third, previously unreleased, mission)

"Bangkok" 16 August 2016[4]
"Colorado" 27 September 2016[5]
"Hokkaido" 31 October 2016[6]
"Holiday Hoarders" 13 December 2016[63]
(free content update for Paris)
"Patient Zero" 7 November 2017[64]


Hitman: Game of the Year Edition was released in November 2017 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It includes The Complete First Season,[65] alongside the Patient Zero mission set and a cosmetics pack, both exclusive to this edition.[citation needed]

Hitman: Definitive Edition was released in May 2018 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It includes all the previously released content alongside additional IO Interactive-themed costumes. It was published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.[66][67]

Hitman: Legacy Pack was released on 9 November 2018 as a DLC for Hitman 2 with the missions from the complete first season of the game were made available in the new game with improved game mechanics used in Hitman 2.[citation needed]


Aggregate review scores
Game Metacritic
The Complete First Season (PC) 83/100[68]
(PS4) 84/100[69]
(XONE) 85/100[70]
Intro Pack (PC) 75/100[71]
(PS4) 77/100[72]
(XONE) 75/100[73]
Sapienza (PC) 84/100[74]
(PS4) 84/100[75]
(XONE) 79/100[76]
Marrakesh (PC) 79/100[77]
(PS4) 75/100[78]
Bonus Episode (PS4) 79/100[79]
Bangkok (PC) 78/100[80]
(PS4) 71/100[81]
Colorado (PC) 74/100[82]
(PS4) 70/100[83]
Hokkaido (PC) 83/100[84]
(PS4) 81/100[85]

Hitman received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[69][70][68]

Online game progress and unlocks will not carry over to offline mode if players lose connectivity; IO Interactive has confirmed that this is part of the live component experience and not part of the digital rights management.[86] This issue was partially rectified with a patch on 28 November 2016.[87]

Hitman was chosen as Best Game of 2016 by Giant Bomb, summarising their decision for their Best Game of 2016 by saying, "2016 was filled with huge debuts, finales, and resurrections, but the surprise success of Hitman had us talking, sweating, cursing, and laughing more than any other game this year."[88]

Intro Pack[edit]

Intro Pack received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 75/100 based on 17 reviews,[71] the PlayStation 4 version 77/100 based on 69 reviews,[72] and the Xbox One version 75/100 based on 11 reviews.[73] Arthur Gies of Polygon awarded it a 7.5/10, praising it as a "promising start to the game" but felt it was more unfinished than episodic.[89] PC Gamer expressed a similar sentiment that, "Hitman feels unrefined and unfinished in lots of small but important ways."[90]


Sapienza received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 84/100 based on 7 reviews,[74] the PlayStation 4 version 84/100 based on 37 reviews,[75] and the Xbox One version 79/100 based on 7 reviews.[76]


Marrakesh received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 79/100 based on 7 reviews,[77] and the PlayStation 4 version 75/100 based on 26 reviews.[78]


Bangkok received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 78/100 based on 6 reviews,[80] and the PlayStation 4 version 71/100 based on 22 reviews.[81]


Colorado received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 74/100 based on 6 reviews,[82] and the PlayStation 4 version 70/100 based on 18 reviews.[83]


Hokkaido received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the Microsoft Windows version 83/100 based on 5 reviews,[84] and the PlayStation 4 version 81/100 based on 21 reviews.[85]


A sequel to the game, titled Hitman 2, was released in 2018.[91]


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  24. ^ IO Interactive (27 September 2016). Hitman. PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC. Square Enix. Level/area: Episode 5: Colorado. Penelope Graves: But why kill the IAGO leaders? Novikov and Margolis were unaffiliated. The Russian must've seen the boss's face. And the enemy has to have known about IAGO. Probably even used their services from time to time. It was a precaution. Nothing more.
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