When IO Interactive launched the simply titled Hitman in 2016, it was a reboot that breathed new life into a struggling franchise. It was also more than just a sequel but a whole new platform that would see Agent 47 trekking around levels on the globe on his various assassinations. This platform, a combination of the sublime Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 (2018), now consists of three sandbox tutorial missions, thirteen immense main missions, and three Sniper Assassin maps.
With the third entry in the loosely titled World of Assassination trilogy announced for a launch in January 2020, we began to imagine what it would look like if some of the classic levels from across the whole Hitman series’ past were brought into this massive platform of sandbox environments. And we’re not just talking about an HD remaster here.
We instead wonder how those maps would look in the Glacier 2 engine of the World of Assassination games — fully remade in glorious 4K visuals, with bigger environments, more items and targets, improved AI, contextual controls, fully voice-acted Mission Stories, Opportunities and Achievements, and new franchise features, such as the Insight Mode, starting locations and drop-offs, modern inventory management, item distractions, cover-snapping, picture-in-picture notifications, crowd-blending and hiding in bushes.
It’s almost certainly a pipe dream, but if even just a handful of these 11 classic missions could get the remake treatment in Glacier 2, we’ve no doubt that Hitman fans would be throwing their money at IO Interactive to get their hands on them!
Let us know in the comments or on social media what your top missions are from the original Hitman series – and don’t be shy to tell us if we’ve missed one of your favorites!
11. Skurky’s Law (Hitman: Absolution)
One of the more inventive missions in the maligned Hitman: Absolution was “Skurky’s Law”, which saw Agent 47 navigating his way around a courtroom in search of Victoria, the agency asset he has sworn to protect. Like many of Absolution’s levels, there is an unfortunate lack of focus on actually performing assassinations, but “Skurky’s Law” makes up for it with a thrilling environmental playground.
The courthouse makes for a great setting and includes the holding cells and prison area, as well as the judge’s quarters, the stands, and the courtroom itself. Agent 47 can take on a few interesting roles too, including becoming involved in the court proceedings as either the judge or as the defendant, Timothy Hawke, aka: The Tin Foil Hat Man. Seeing Agent 47 parade around in a judge’s wig is reminiscent of some of the barmy disguises in earlier mission encounters.
“Skurky’s Law” could be great in the World of Assassination engine. The area could be fleshed out further, perhaps to even include some of the county jail and police station areas of the following mission, “Operation Sledgehammer”.
Bereft of the cumbersome Absolution story, the courthouse area could also be a lot more interesting with some actual assassination targets and extra Mission Stories revolving around the court case in session. Imagine Agent 47 as Timothy’s lawyer, or an intrigue about the prosecution team being shady, or the jury being bribed.
10. A Murder of Crows (Hitman: Blood Money)
“A Murder of Crows” was the first mission in the series to truly show off what IO Interactive could do with crowds. Set at a Mardi Gras party around a political parade, Agent 47 is tasked with taking out three targets, all with ambitions on the life of the congressman. What the level lacked in environmental beauty it made up for in scale, with clubs/bars, hotels, apartments and stores all open to entry.
With one of the targets changing between three possible locations, Agent 47 must use walkie-talkies to establish his whereabouts, a rare occurrence for the series. But the most iconic image from this mission will always be Agent 47 dressed as a big, bright yellow bird, like something out of Sesame Street. It’s typical Hitman humor at its best.
The World of Assassination series took the idea of crowded streets from “A Murder of Crows” and ran with it. The streets of Marrakesh in “A Gilded Cage” are reminiscent of this classic episode, but it would be great to see what IO can do with a Mardi Gras party now. Blood Money’s limited dialogue meant we didn’t get to know much about target Mark Purayah’s affairs, but a remaster could open up the personality of his weird coterie of bird-costumed henchmen, and the various bustling clubs and hotels of this location would be a joy to explore.
9. Anathema (Hitman 2: Silent Assassin)
For many, “Anathema” is where the love of Hitman began. It’s the opening level of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and was widely distributed as a demo to show off what the game could do. The level is essentially a mansion area, the Villa Borghese, housing mafia boss Don Giuseppe Guillani. This was the first true example of Agent 47 really integrating himself into the life of a target, becoming the postman or the delivery boy, or one of the don’s mafian bodyguards, to gain entry to the grounds.
Learning routines was part of the joy of “Anathema”. The Don’s pathing was limited by today’s standards, but in 2002 tracking him on the map (and perhaps taking a shot whilst he was playing golf off his balcony) was a surprising treat compared to typical stationary NPCs. The second half of the mission involved rescuing Father Vittorio, one of Agent 47’s few true friends.
The Sapienza map, “World of Tomorrow”, feels like a spiritual successor to “Anathema”, being a big, open mansion in Italy filled with mafia honchos. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to get to know Don Guillani once more in a bigger, more expansive take on Villa Borghese, and with the longer NPC routines and dialogue of the later games.
8. House of Cards (Hitman: Blood Money)
A Las Vegas casino as an assassination location. It practically writes itself. That must be how IO Interactive felt when building this iconic level for Hitman: Blood Money. The casino and adjoined hotel are a busy public area, filled with high security and rich people plotting some less-than-legal dealings. Agent 47 is tasked with intercepting a DNA material sale between Afrikaner Hendrik Schmutz and wealthy Sheik Mohammed Al-Khalifa. It’s practically the plot of any Hollywood heist movie.
Of course, what makes “House of Cards” stand out is its setting: the glitz and glamor of a Vegas casino, the swank and swagger of the VIP areas, and the bright lights and flashing slot machines of the casino floor. Areas of the casino are locked off by staff keycards, and private rooms offer balconies for vantage points. Blood Money really started the trend of Agent 47 assuming the identities of key roles to do meet-and-greets with his targets, and “House of Cards” naturally lets you participate in the sale with a great series of timed events throughout the mission before finally offing the Sheik himself.
It should be fairly obvious why “House of Cards” needs the World of Assassination treatment. The lack of visuals and textures in Blood Money mean that Las Vegas could never have truly been done justice in 2006. As good as that level looked for its time, it could look fantastic in the new engine, and wandering around a fully realized modern casino as Agent 47 would be a genuine spectacle.
7. Beldingford Manor (Hitman: Contracts)
In Hitman: Contracts, our bald protagonist is sent to this posh English manor on a rescue and assassination mission. Naturally, the mansion is hosting a party (I think Agent 47 plans his hits around a chance to wine and dine). The mansion is one of the gloomier and more expansive levels in Contracts set on a dark and stormy night in dimly lit corridors whilst a group of fox hunters sit around fireplaces lighting smoking pipes.
The mission area takes Agent 47 from the park area in the manor grounds right up to the target’s bedrooms as he takes out the two owners of the manor and rescues a young boy being kept in the stables. Like many of Agent 47’s best missions, “Beldingford Manor” revolves around learning the patterns of the inhabitants of a closed location and infiltrating their routines to get to the places he shouldn’t be.
“Beldingford Manor” is a logical extension of “Anathema” and was a template for many of the later games’ mansion-based settings. What would make it a great remaster in the World of Assassination series is its haughty English style and dimly lit Victorian-era vibes. I’d love to hear some of the wild hunting stories of the mansion’s inhabitants or how the stable boy feels about his masters. And I’d love to see the hunting grounds extended, the mansion given more floor space, and the potential Mission Stories involving these corrupt Englishmen.
6. King of Chinatown (Hitman: Absolution)
In many ways, “King of Chinatown” feels like IO Interactive’s template for what Hitman (2016) would become. It is the impressive opening level of Hitman: Absolution and one of the only missions in that game that really follows the traditional Hitman format. The Chinatown area is massive, crowded with tourists and market stalls and secret back alleys. The area is gorgeous, capturing the lights and bustle of Chinatown itself, as Agent 47 hunts down his drug dealer target who parades around the entire game area like he owns the place.
The target can be picked off in multiple ways, including three different poisoning opportunities, areas for explosives to be hidden, spots where he can be pushed to his demise, or have cargo dropped on his head. I’d love to know the story about how IO Interactive made this mission and then went on to make the rest of Absolution as it was rather than using this as the template for the rest of the game – waiting until 2016’s release to revisit this style of gameplay.
It wouldn’t take much work to bring “King of Chinatown” into the World of Assassination series. All this Hitman level needs are the modern sensibilities from the remake era, including adding all of the Mission Stories, Opportunities, and Achievements. The map could be made a little bigger (like many starter maps, it was intentionally constrained in scope), and a minor visual upgrade wouldn’t hurt, and Chinatown would look great alongside the other world locations that make up the remake trilogy.
5. St. Petersburg Stakeout (Hitman 2: Silent Assassin)
There a few solid levels set in Russia in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, but the “St. Petersburg Stakeout” stands out for a couple of reasons. Contrary to the sandbox element of most Hitman levels, this one forces Agent 47 to stake out an area (St. Petersburg, in fact) and set up an ambush for his target: an ex-KGB officer attending a clandestine meeting. Sniping became an optional alternative in later games, but in this mission, it was mandatory.
The other wrinkle in the mission is that Agent 47 does not know his target, only the description given to him by Diana Burnwood. This means the player must find a suitable sniping position and determine who in the meeting to eliminate. It becomes a lethal game of Guess Who? and has a unique feel versus anything else in the series.
This map would be a tough one to rework in the World of Assassination style. That’s exactly why I’d love to see IO Interactive try. It would most likely be reworked into one of the Sniper Assassin mission types that debuted in Hitman 2 (2018).
4. Curtains Down (Hitman: Blood Money)
When I think of “Accidental Kills” in the early Hitman games, none come to mind more than “Curtains Down”. Inside a gorgeous opera house setting, Agent 47 looks to dispatch a famous tenor and a Vatican ambassador during the rehearsal of their stage performance, Tosca.
How you choose to go about those assassinations is what makes “Curtains Down” so special — whether it’s dropping the chandelier on somebody’s head or the whole lighting rig, for that matter, or swapping the prop gun for the real deal, or even camping out in the VIP balcony with a sniper rifle pointed at the stage.
The map environment isn’t huge, encompassing just the stage area, the stands, and the dressing rooms. Whilst the environment and its architecture are beautiful to explore, it’s a restrained map held up by the interesting narrative of its targets and the potential in those “accidental” kills.
“Curtains Down” is definitely ripe for a remaster. The setting, if expanded, could make for a great showpiece akin to the Paris mansion in “The Showstopper”, and the accidental kills are begging to be expanded into the full Mission Stories of the new trilogy. I’d love to see more characters added to D’Alvade’s rehearsal, allowing Agent 47 to get closer to his targets, perhaps even taking part in some of the performance itself.
3. Traditions of the Trade (Hitman: Contracts)
Agent 47. In a hotel. It’s a tried and tested formula, and it all started with “Traditions of the Trade” in Hitman: Codename 47 (and then its remaster in Contracts.) The hotel setting covers all of the familiar ground: locked down areas, a living, breathing environment, and costumes galore — including Agent 47 in a swimsuit! Metal detectors and key cards lock off certain areas, but in a unique twist, Agent 47 can lock off areas himself using Do Not Disturb signs.
“Traditions of the Trade” also features one of the most ruthless and iconic Hitman kills of all time: the sauna. This kill was brought back for the Hokkaido map in Hitman (2016), and it shows starkly the brutality of the hitman himself as he coldly watches his target suffocate to death.
Being one of the oldest missions on this list means it’s in the most need of a remaster. From its visuals to its controls, to the size and scope of the mission and its NPCs, IO Interactive could work wonders bringing Hotel Gellért to life in all its glory and letting some of their oldest fans revisit one of the earliest Hitman classics.
2. You Better Watch Out (Hitman: Blood Money)
A personal favorite of mine is this mission from Hitman: Blood Money, which sees Agent 47 infiltrate a mansion quite obviously patterned on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion, to eliminate a target quite obviously patterned on Hugh Hefner himself. The setting would be interesting enough on its own, but this mission is set at Christmas time, giving the whole exterior a snow-covered aesthetic and the guests a festive-themed attire.
Agent 47 dressed in a Santa’s hat is something I somehow inextricably associate with Christmas every year now, but the scope of this festive mansion goes beyond that nostalgia — from drunken Santa Claus to heavy light rigs dangling dangerously in the seedy Photo Studio, to various drinks just begging to be spiked, to a dog that loves sausages, or even the iconic glass-bottomed jacuzzi that perilously dangles over a 70-foot drop.
A little Home Alone bolt-on to the Paris level in Hitman (2016) hasn’t sated my thirst for a next gen festive Hitman. “You Better Watch Out” would benefit massively from the upgrade treatment, including a bigger, more visually stunning Christmas mansion, and fleshing out the stories of the sleazy pornography tycoon and maybe even explaining that random femme fatale that tries to drug you in one of the basement rooms!
1. A Dance with the Devil (Hitman: Blood Money)
Hitman: Blood Money is known for its evocative, thematic settings. If assassinating Santa wasn’t enough for you, the game’s final mission saw Agent 47 tackling someone dressed as the devil. Once again, the Hitman is attending a party, but this one has a twist. Half of the party is themed as Heaven, and the other half is themed as Hell.
The sandbox on this map is vast, and the targets heavily secured. To move freely in either party, Agent 47 must be appropriately dressed as an angel or devil. The massive party and the surrounding areas make up a massive 19 floors and include a torture chamber and a shark tank that conveniently disposes of any bodies you should throw into it.
If that wasn’t enough, there are two opposing assassins also attending that are seeking Agent 47 just as he is seeking his own prey. This leads to a thrilling showdown of assassins for the game’s finale.
“A Dance with the Devil” would be magnificent in the World of Assassination engine. Visually, it’s one of the most striking levels in the franchise, and the environment is massive — perfect for cramming with new NPCs, dialogue, and Mission Stories. Perhaps most excitingly, none of the World of Assassination missions have toyed with the idea of enemy assassins tracking Agent 47 in the levels, turning the player from hunter to hunted. It would be fantastic to see this play out with all the modern tools at your disposal.