From Codename 47 to Absolution, we’ve sort of been given the impression that 47 never actually got any kind of enjoyment out of his work. He seemed at best to not care one way or another, or not even think about it at all, and at worst to appear frustrated and even almost depressed over being a professional killer. Yeah, he took pride in being the best, and charged and performed accordingly, but that seemed to be all he had.
But with the WoA trilogy and associated material, 47 has appeared to take a more upbeat outlook on his career. While he still doesn’t seem to take any joy out of the actual killing, he does seem to be at peace with who he is killing and why they have been marked for death, and at times has even seemed to be enjoying himself when on the hunt and setting up his intricate kills, and even eager to have prey to hunt on a few occasions. So that brings me to the question that I’ve pondered since H2: does 47 now actually like what he does?
The games have given us numerous examples of this being the case even prior to the final scene of H3 where we see that little smirk he gets at the thought of getting back to work:
Looking at the main missions of H1, when in disguise and talking to his targets, 47 has a friendlier, more optimistic tone in his voice, as opposed to the deadpan snarker of previous games who almost seemed to be in a grouchy mood just having to talk to someone.
In the Patient Zero campaign, when Diana tells him that Liberation sleeper agents were triggered by Nabazov’s kill switch, he seems more than just interested; he sounds almost excited. “A kill switch?! Who are the targets?!” He knew right away what Diana was getting at, and seemed to react with what could almost be described as delight that the situation took such an unexpected turn.
During Nightcall, he double-checks that Alma Reynard is not a target, to make sure that he’s not being ordered to do his usual thing yet.
The option of pushing Jorge Franco to his death has him make the incredible Dr. Livingston joke, which I’m fully convinced he did only to amuse himself. There was literally no other reason for him to make that joke at that time in that way, even if Diana had been listening in; the situation wasn’t like finding Dr. Livingston at all, and yet he made it funny, like he was trying to spice up the situation and enjoy himself.
When beginning the Ark Society mission, as everybody is going over their roles, he demands to know about his targets, his tone sounding almost like he doesn’t really care what everyone else is up to and just wants to get to hunt his prey, perhaps hoping when he asks about them that they’re not innocent casualties that he’ll just make short and swift deaths for to be merciful, but that they’re as corrupt as the other targets have been so that he can get creative.
Even in H3, where 47 is at his most serious and business-like in the trilogy, with Grey dead, Diana missing, ICA turned against him and he and Olivia made fugitives, he still finds a way to make his assassinations fun and humorous, in a karmic way.
And then, of course, there’s the snarky smugness he gets from wiping Edwards’s mind with the serum, his eagerness to get back to work with Diana, and all the fun he’s now having in Freelancer as a vigilante who accepts cash, check or credit card to slaughter bad guys by the dozens.
Now, I’m certain 47 still doesn’t actually enjoy taking lives in-and-of itself, and knows that it’s the greatest moral wrong a human being can commit against another, and feels whatever passes for remorse or regret for him on some deep level. However, everything leading up to the death blow, the extraction afterward, as well as the satisfaction of knowing that he proved to someone who believed themselves untouchable how wrong they were, I think he has learned to not only accept and embrace what he does, but that there’s ample evidence that, unlike the first five games, he actively enjoys it now.
Any disagreements or a different way of looking at it?