Season 1 of Hitman ended on a cliffhanger. The ICA, the Shadow Client, and Providence are now all aware of one another. What will happen next?
Here's one direction that the story could go.
SEASON 2 -- A FICTIONAL OVERVIEW
Location: International Waters
Opening: As the season opens, Constant, the head Herald who handed Diana the photograph of 47 as a child, approaches the ICA to affirm a truce. Providence and the ICA have both been manipulated by the Shadow Client, drawn into a stupid and needless war. Now that the ICA knows about Providence, there is no reason that they cannot forge a business arrangement. And if all goes well, Providence will eventually share the information that they know about 47's past. This convinces Diana to make a case to the Board for giving Providence a shot.
Constant's contract is located on the open seas. Shipping lines controlled by Providence have been attacked by a pirate known as The Maelstrom. Providence would like the ICA to take care of her. They have already covertly disseminated, through underground channels, the route of a lavish cruise ship which is to host the families of a number of titans of industry. Providence expects The Maelstrom to take the ship hostage. You are to be on board when she attacks. As an additional target, you are to eliminate a land developer on board whose development plans have gotten in Providence's way.
Mission: A party liner with all sorts of games and amenities, including a pool with a waterslide. 20 minutes into the mission, The Maelstrom and her band of pirates will attack the ship on small boats (think Captain Phillips) and take the civilian NPCs hostage, drastically changing the structure of the level. You can trigger the attack to happen earlier by setting off a signal flare, cutting the ship's motors, blasting the horn three times, using the radio of an undercover pirate already on board to signal that the time is right, or killing the land developer. The developer can be eliminated before or after the attack.
End cutscene: Constant meets with Diana and is enthusiastic about their new working relationship. He's imposing, and he makes the power structure clear: he considers the ICA a tool of Providence. The cutscene ends with Constant ominously telling Diana, "We'll make a Herald of you yet."
Location: Lower Manhattan, New York
Opening: Constant appears at the ICA and provides the details of a new contract: three targets on Wall Street who have been embezzling from Providence.
Mission: The financial district of New York City. You are to infiltrate the New York Stock Exchange as well as the New York State Supreme Court Building in order to eliminate three targets: the president of a trading company, a hotshot stock market analyst, and a New York State Supreme Court judge. Locations include the NYSE stock trading floor, the New York County Courthouse, a bank, and a fancy residential apartment. An anti-Wall Street protest is taking place at a nearby analogue of Zucotti Park.
End cutscene: 47 strides away from the scene and Diana congratulates you over your earpiece. As she starts complaining about being treating like Providence's lapdog, her voice cuts out. There is a burst of static, and you hear Olivia Hall's voice saying, "You're connected. He can hear you. Go ahead." It's the Shadow Client, speaking directly to 47 for the first time. He tells you that Providence lied to you: the targets that you eliminated were not embezzlers, but the Shadow Client's operatives: agents in the fight against Providence (you can hear NPC dialogue in the mission that confirms this).
He tells you that this is the second time that you have eliminated good men fighting a valiant fight against evil. 47 does not respond. The Shadow Client claims not to blame you, as he knows that you are a mere weapon, and you cannot help but do the bidding of whoever wields you. 47 does not respond. The Shadow Client is clearly trying to provoke a reaction, and 47 will not fall for it. The Shadow Client then says, "But you're not always a mere weapon. I have seen you make choices before, Ian. You do not do it often, but you are capable of it." After a long pause, 47 says, "Why did you call me Ian?"
But the line has been disconnected.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Opening: Constant calls upon Diana with a time-sensitive emergency contract. Providence has learned that the Shadow Client is planning to assassinate Simon Devereaux, the CEO of Biosphere and an important Providence asset. The assassination attempt will take place during Devereaux's product launch talk at a German tech fair. Devereaux, unaware of the full extent of the shady goings-on of Providence, refuses to believe that he is in danger; he insists on giving the presentation, which he claims is crucial for his company. Thus, Constant wants you to serve as protection, locating and eliminating the Shadow Client's assassins. Diana demands that Constant finally give them information about 47's past; Constant promises that it will be forthcoming with the completion of this contract.
Mission: A conference center in Berlin, host to a futurist tech fair and a series of TED talks. On the showroom floor are self-driving cars, autonomous drones, demonstrations of bulletproof polymers, a biodome full of GMO crops in a fake Mars landscape, etc. Simon Devereaux, an Elon Musk parody, will be giving the keynote speech about the need to habitate other planets in order to save the human race. It will culminate in a reveal that Biosphere plans to terraform Mars. Lurking somewhere in the map are your targets, an assassin and his or her handler, who is also on location and feeding information to the assassin through an earpiece. At some point, they will attempt to kill Devereaux in a very Hitmanny way (e.g. by sabotaging a self-driving car so that it hits him). You can sabotage their plan so that it backfires. If Devereaux dies, you lose the mission. Your targets do not show up in instinct, and if you replay the level, your targets might be totally different people in totally different locations, trying to kill Deveraux in a totally different way. There are six different targets/routines/scripts/assassinations... once you reach twenty mastery, you can choose which one of these routines you want to play (and the targets will show up in instinct). Until then, it's random, and part of the challenge is watching for suspicious activity in order to determine your targets and their plan.
End cutscene: 47 meets with Constant at a flower shop. 47 asks for payment, and Constant says that the money has been wired to his account. 47 says that this is not what he meant. Constant sighs and unlocks the briefcase he is handcuffed to.
He pulls out an old photograph of about twenty young boys facing the camera and hands it to 47. The boys are standing in tiers in front of a brick wall; it looks like a class picture. A hairless boy is is circled. "That's you," Constant says.
A long pause. 47 looks up from the photo. "This can't be all you have. I need more."
"Of course you do," Constant says. He snaps the briefcase shut. "We look forward to doing further business with you." He turns and walks away.
47 stares at the photograph. A beat. He moves to leave, but then stops. He looks back over his shoulder. He turns around and strides after Constant.
"What are you doing, 47?" Diana asks in his earpiece.
"Making a choice," he replies.
We see Constant enter a car on the U-Bahn -- the Berlin subway system. On the train, he looks around: some teenagers, some chatting women. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then: a syringe enters the side of his neck. As his body drops, 47 catches him and pulls him to a nearby seat. The others on the traincar haven't noticed. Sitting next to Constant's slumped body, 47 picks the suitcase lock. He and Diana discuss the contents. There are a few more pictures of young 47 with other boys, but nothing identifying. Also in the suitcase is a memo to Constant, saying that the ICA must not be told the whole truth about 47's past, and that they should be strung along as long as possible.
Diana has had enough. She says, "That's it. We're done working for Providence. It's time to find out what they really know." 47 returns the papers to the briefcase and injects a shot of adrenaline into Constant's neck. Constant wakes with a start and looks around. The same teenagers and the same chatting women are there -- no one else. He hugs the suitcase to his chest.
(The adrenaline syringe, which can reawaken unconscious NPCs, is a mastery unlock on this level.)
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Opening: Diana has been scouring open contracts in ICA's system, looking for anything that might help you learn more about Providence. She thinks has found something. The Mexican government has put out a hit on their previous Secretary of the Interior, Gustavo Torres, who has fled the country with five million pesos of government funds and a head full of state secrets. Surveillance has revealed photos of him in Rio de Janeiro, being chummy with Julio Delgado, drug lord and operator of the Brazilian chapter of the Delgado drug cartel. This is intriguing. 47's incursion into the farm at Colorado revealed that Torres was a Providence member, and the Shadow Client had planned to kidnap him with the help of the Delgados. And now Torres and the Delgados are apparently friends? Either Torres has defected to the Shadow Client, or the Delgados have defected to Providence. Either way, this merits investigation.
Mission: The streets and favelas of Rio de Janeiro at night during Carnivale. One side of the level contains relatively nice apartments and bars where festivites take place, but you can very quickly move into an abutting favela, where residents are armed and suspicious of trespassers. Deep in the favela, the ramshackle tin houses cover a hidden network of drug labs and a cocaine-packing operation. Julio Delgado, the first target, is in the midst of this operation. Torres is housed in a guarded apartment complex on the nicer side of the level. You can kill both of them and exit the level without suspecting anything. However, it is possible to find clues that something is wrong: the "Torres" who shows up in your instinct is an imposter. For instance, if you draw your gun on him, he'll say, "Don't shoot! I'm just an actor!", and he'll reveal that someone has paid him to be a body double. You can even wear his Torres costume if you incapacitate him, complete with fake mustache. If any evidence of the deception is found, Torres is removed from your list of required targets, as you have no reason to believe him to be in the area.
End cutscene: When you exit the mission, you are captured by a group of spec ops soldiers. It was a trap! As you are restrained, Constant looms over you. "Did you really think that we wouldn't find out about that stunt you pulled in Berlin? We became suspicious when you stopped returning our calls, you know." He tells you that Torres had proved himself a liability long ago; Providence killed him and staged the defection because they knew that you would come sniffing. He looks into 47's eyes -- past 47's eyes, into the lens of his contract lens camera -- and addresses Diana directly. "Thank you for eliminating Julio Delgado for us, Ms. Burnwood. If you would like for your man here to continue living, you will make sure the ICA accepts our contracts. Say nothing to anyone else in the ICA, or he will die. Make no mistake, Ms. Burnwood. He is ours. And you too are now ours."
Location: Siberia, Russia.
Opening: A radio crackles on. "Are you receiving me?" asks Olivia Hall. "I receive you," a voice says. Olivia provides the briefing. Since 47's capture, Diana Burnwood has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to find a way to rescue 47. Having officially classified 47 as Killed In Action, Burnwood operated entirely in the dark, trusting no one in the ICA. Each time she submitted data for analysis, she would smuggle in additional information that she thought might lead to 47's whereabouts. The tactic paid off. Satellite data, flight data, and Russian spy reports have revealed that 47 is being held in solitary confinement in a Siberian prison labor camp under the guise of a political dissident. The warden of the internment compound is a Providence member. Enemies of Providence who are more valuable alive than dead are held here. Additionally, Burnwood has discovered that the leader of the Heralds, Constant, makes regular visits to the facility. An attack at the appropriate time would not only take out two important Providence higher-ups, it would also free a large number of Providence prisoners... including Agent 47.
Of course, Ms. Burnwood cannot trust any ICA operatives. She had to reach out to another group who would be motivated to take on this mission. In this mission, you do not play as 47. You are rescuing 47. You play as the Shadow Client.
Mission: Inflitrate a Siberian prison camp, eliminate Constant and the Warden, and free 47, all as the Shadow Client! Olivia Hall takes on the handler role instead of Diana, informing you about opportunities. Gameplay is largely the same, except the Shadow Client speaks a lot more than 47. He's dour, and in interactions with others he is inclined to makes grim and portentous and nihilistic comments, as he is wont to do in the cutscenes we've seen. The biggest gameplay difference is that he does not have instinct. (At level 20 mastery, you can choose to play as 47 rescuing the Shadow Client, which turns instinct back on.) The compound itself has a forced-labor quarry and cement factory; 47 is held in the solitary confinement zone. (See my previous prison camp level for more details about what the level would be like.)
End cutscene: 47 and the Shadow Client hike along the outskirts of a wintery forest at night. They do not speak, but 47 does not take his eyes off the Shadow Client. The Shadow Client seems not to notice, or care. Eventually, they arrive at a dirt road. The Shadow Client stops and says, "We part ways now. You'll find a train station at the village up the road."
47 stares and repeats his question from earlier. "Why did you call me Ian?"
He and the Shadow Client square off. The Shadow Client says, "Let me give you what Providence was hiding from you. Your past."
"I knew you as a child. I knew you as Ian. That wasn't your name -- just a role you adopted -- but it is what I called you. Your... father... knew that if you were to become what you must, you could not stay confined in an asylum. You must have suspected that you could not have spent your whole childhood there. You needed to learn about the world, learn to blend in. You were to understand the world without ever becoming a part of it."
"Every few months, your father would uproot you, create a false identity for you, and place you in a new locale. A boarding school in Eton. An inner city of America. The streets of Mumbai. A monastery in Indonesia. You would become a piece of environmental texture, performing tasks that your father set. Steal a Yakuza's pistol. Break a headmaster's nose without him knowing who did it. That sort of thing."
"Your longest assignments were military in nature. It was on these assignments that you perfected your martial and assassination skills. We met on one of them. A training camp in Ukraine, run by Providence. Providence would find orphans -- or create orphans, in my case -- and train them in surveillance and assassination techniques, creating a stable of perfect soldiers, warriors, and spies. Some of these they would keep for their own uses; others they would sell to foreign governments and corporations. It was the perfect place for you to learn your trade."
"You were there for a full year. We became what I considered friends. Without ever talking about it, we both knew that neither of us was happy with our lot in life. We decided to escape. We went on the run. It was the first choice you ever made. But in the end, it was a foolish choice. We were pursued by a whole camp of people trained for such events. Our warden reclaimed us."
"When your father found out, he was furious. He commanded you to kill me. It would be your first real assassination. And yet... you could not go through with it. You killed another boy instead, and staged the body to look like me. The second choice you ever made. That night, you told me everything about your past, and bade me to go on the run. I did, and this time, I escaped." The Shadow Client smiles. "Your first contract, and the contract remains incomplete."
"And now," the Shadow Client says, "I've saved you, just as you once saved me. Our debts are paid, perhaps. However. I trust you will indulge me one last favor. It is in your interest. With you, I have everything I need to crush Providence. Take this. It will tell you where you need to be, and when. I shall see you shortly." The Shadow Client hands 47 a small box and disappears into the night.
47 opens the box. It contains money, a passport, a plane ticket, a small earpiece, and a contact lens case. 47 slips in the contact lenses and the earpiece. Diana's voice is heard. "47! Is that you?"
"It's me," 47 says, looking at the plane ticket. It is for Shenzhen, China. The screen cuts to black as 47 says, "Thank you, Diana. I'm back."
Location: Shenzhen, China.
Opening: This is the day that you deal a crippling blow to Providence. The Shadow Client has provided you with the details; Diana goes over them in her briefing. Providence is led by a consortium of five powerful individuals. Thomas Cross was one. The remaining four are struggling to replace him with someone who can be trusted. They are very rarely in the same place at the same time, but the Shadow Client has learned that two of them are scheduled to have a secret meeting in China, undercover at the Shenzhen International Airport. If they are eliminated, Providence will be left without three of its heads (and their resources), and without its lead Herald. It will not be able to sustain itself and it will collapse. This is the only opportunity that exists to exact such a terrible injury. The Shadow Client cannot do it on his own and he lacks the resources to stage an assault on an airport. He requires your mastery, 47.
Mission: The first target is Park Sung-Soo, a Korean industrialist with almost total control of robotics and microprocesser manufacturing in Shenzhen. He has a robotic arm and a sabotageable pacemaker. The second target is Idna Colot, an older Belgian woman. She acts like a befuddled old grandmother in public, but in private or when cornered, she reveals herself to have an alert mind and acidic tongue. She secretly controls a vast number of European and Asian banks. Park is arriving on a private plane as the misison begins; Colot is at the ticketing booths. The two meet in a locked-down boardroom in a First-Class lounge (past security), then Colot boards a departing plane and Park heads to a limo and waits for his luggage. (Neither actually leaves the level.) The two are here to discuss Cross's replacement without the other Providence board members knowing. Because Idna is undercover, she takes a normal path through the airport like a commoner, and she has no guards. Park is hustled through VIP areas and he has a bodyguard (who surprisingly cannot be choked out, who deflects bullets, even headshots, with a metallic 'ding!', and who bleeds pure white fluid. Secret robot!). The Shadow Client is on site and offers sniper support. You can tag NPCs while in instinct (just as you tag targets in contact creation mode). If the tagged NPC is by a window or if the Shadow Client otherwise has a shot from afar, he will snipe them. You lose this ability if guards are ever alerted, as the Shadow Client will be forced to escape. Because airport security is tight, security cameras work like they do in Professional mode.
End cutscene: A news report of the Shenzhen tragedy plays on TV. We zoom out and see 47 and the Shadow Client watching. They are in Shenzhen's Huaqiangbei electronics market. "Congratulations, Agent," the Shadow Client says. "You've done what I have tried to do for almost forty years." 47 looks at him, then back at the TV. We see that he no longer feels that he needs to keep his eyes on the Shadow Client. "I'd like to know more about my past," he says. "What else can you tell me?" The Shadow Client slips him a piece of paper. "This is the location of the Ukrainian military camp where we met. Perhaps you'll find something there. Ms. Burnwood knows how to contact me if you need to speak again." 47 takes the paper and nods, then walks away.
The Shadow Client touches his earpiece. "Olivia?" he says. "It's done."
"I saw," she responds. "Park and Codot are dead. That's incredible. But... God, that man scares me. I can't read him at all. You're sure that he trusts you? You're sure that he is on our side?"
As she speaks, we see flashback images in black-and-white. It's the Shadow Client in a hotel room, tinkering with an earpiece. We then see him giving the earpiece to 47 after breaking him out of prison. Snapping back to the present, in color, we see 47 walking away in profile as the camera slightly zooms in on his ear. The Shadow Client pulls out a tracking device with a screen, and watches as a dot representing 47 moves away on a map.
"Oh yes," he says to Olivia. "He trusts me completely. As far as he knows, we're friends."
END OF SEASON 2
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