Freelancer Canon Discussion

I’ve noticed over the last few weeks there has been some discussion around where Freelancer fits into the canon timeline and there has been some good theories and points made, so I thought I’d make a separate thread for discussion around this.

This is my personal opinion of where I think this sits.

I think the title ‘Freelancer’ gives a strong indication it’s likely set after Hitman 3.

Definition of Freelance:

  • A form of self-employment, freelancers lend their skills and talents to a number of clients on a flexible basis. They aren’t employed by a company or committed to a single customer - freelancers have the freedom to choose the projects they’d like to work on and the clients they’d like to work for.*

As we see at the conclusion of Hitman 3’s epilogue, 47 no longer has ties with the ICA and chooses the path of a killer because he can and is now making his own choices, which I believe ties it to the theme of Freelancer.

Also, some have speculated where the Safehouse came from and how 47 acquired it? Well, I think it’s fair to assume this was locked down by Diana for 47’s personal use and the ICA probably had many secret locations on record etc.

We don’t know that location of the Safehouse wasn’t part of the paperwork/equipment 47 picked up in that log cabin at the end of Hitman 3?

On a separate point but related to the discussion, like @TheChicken has pointed out, in one of the cutscenes from the Freelancer gameplay trailer, 47 is seen travelling in an area that looks a lot like the area he was at the end of Hitman 3’s epilogue.

Hitman 3’s Epilogue

Freelancer Gameplay Trailer


Could it be the cabin seen at ending of Hitman 3 is in fact part of the Safehouse in Freelancer? The area is rather similar, especially with the identical looking trees etc.

Since the Closed Tech Test, there has also been some discussion around the fact the WOA targets are roaming around the maps and nothing appears to have changed on the maps, for example Zachary’s still appearing in Dartmoor etc?


Even though Freelancer appears to be set after Hitman 3, like what @Heisenberg has pointed out in another thread, just because they are roaming the map, it could be another case of ignoring the Campaign targets/storylines what is present in Freelancer and just focus on the actual new targets. A typical example of this would be Holiday Hoarders and Elusive Targets etc.

This is all my personal opinions, but feel free to discuss.

UPDATE (12th Jan 2023)

After the release of the Freelancer launch trailer, it’s more clear now that Freelancer is definitely set after the H3 epilogue.

Two examples

Photo from the original Freelancer how to play trailer (released Oct 2022) stating syndicates have ICA approval to be eliminated. Also, this was used in the Closed Technical Test gameplay. This left many questions from people why the ICA were being referenced in a post H3 Freelancer.

Photo from recent Freelancer launch trailer (released Jan 2023). All references of the ICA removed, which fits everything together that Freelancer is set after H3.


I have hated this explanation of 47 choosing to be a killer and making his own choices since End of an Era released and people started talking about it that way. Working for the ICA was 47’s choice. And now, as shown in Freelancer, he’s still not making any choices other than to continue being a Hitman, and whether or not he’ll follow through on the optional objectives the clients set down in their contracts. He’s still killing people that other people are saying to kill, and it’s still Diana sending him the the contracts that she deems acceptable for him to take. Nothing has changed. He’s not making any more decisions for himself than he already was. It was a poor excuse for getting rid of the ICA, when it was clearly going to continue to be the same arrangement anyway.

With that out of the way, agree with the rest of your post. It’s the most likely explanation until full release and we can know for sure what’s going down.

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I know there’s a few more blog posts due from IOI in the coming weeks prior to release, so hopefully they’ll be some further explanation.

As of now, there’s no reasonable way to reconcile Freelancer taking place after Hitman 3 with Hitman 3 targets still being alive, while maintaining that Freelancer is canon. Therefore, I can only conclude that Freelancer is (largely) non-canon until further notice.

If Freelancer proves to be canon and Hitman 3 targets are still roaming about after launch, then I’ll simply chalk that up to IOI being inept.

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Or, and hear me out on this, it’s too much trouble and causes too many bugs to remove them. Gameplay and story are at times segregated. There’s no reason to think that Freelancer doesn’t take place after H3. The presence of previous targets is due to the use of previous maps. Pretend they aren’t there, just as you would during an ET.


I think it’s safe to assume that Freelancer operates on the same canon logic as ETs (and possibly Patient Zero, the Dmitri Fedorov mission, Holiday Hoarders, and the Special Assignments as well), where it does take place on the main timeline, but you have to suspend your disbelief and ignore the gameplay aspects to make the mode fit.

Obviously, you are not chasing these Syndicates on the exact same locations with the same time-of-day and the previous targets still there. It’s just represented that way because of the limitations of the game and what-not.

But the general events of 47 & Diana going Freelance and eliminating these new Syndicates can still perfectly fit into the post-H3 canon, though. It’s the same situation as the ICA Data Core where we learned the ET missions existed and were canon all along, but clearly 47 did not kill a dozen people at the same event where Viktor Novikov got tragically light-rigged, because it’s just completely incongruous to the main storyline.

So the existence of Syndicate Leaders, 47 and Diana as Freelancers, 47 getting the Safehouse and going after these Syndicates, all of these elements and events exist as they are in the canon timeline, just like the ETs themselves. It’s just the details of the locations where these missions take place that are different, again just like the ETs…


Ultimately, all we can do is guess as to what happens when mainline targets are removed entirely, but if killing them in-game is anything to go by, NPCs carry on about their business and all is well. To clarify, the effective removal of mainline targets is already programmatically handled by the game. With that in consideration, I’m more inclined to believe this would simply be yet another case of ineptness (as in carelessness) from IOI.

ETs can be chalked up to having taken place before 47 finally eliminated the mainline targets for each location in WoA. I personally think that interpretation is cope and that ETs are stupid to begin with, but I’ve at least seen that idea thrown around in passing and know of nothing that blatantly contradicts it.

We can’t do anything of the sort to explain away canonically deceased mainline targets still roaming about in a post-H3 Freelancer. We must, as suggested, suspend disbelief (which is only implicit admission of how canonically insane this all is, but whatever).

You’ve used my photo :smiley:

I think iO could replace the campaign targets with other NPCs, but then again… Hitman is a bit foggy around it’s lore and I wouldn’t mind to see Freelancer just in a “it happens after the main game and just ignore the quirks” way.

EDIT: Now that I thought about it and discussed the topic with my coffe I realized: Maybe the maps aren’t even the same. Paris is not the same fashion show over and over again, Holiday Hoarders also might play in a totall different place. And Whittleton Creek is a dozen different places depending on the ET, contract or Freelancer mission you play? :exploding_head:

Never thought about it that way, but with that mindset - yes of course it is stupid from a detailed gameplay perspective because people and places are exactly identical - it feels way bigger and better. And that is – what she said. But for real, I just got this totally new perpective and it blows my mind.

Guess I gotta play some Hitman now. In… totally… new… places… :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I’ve just mentioned this to you in another thread, but having the Campaign Targets walking around on maps in Freelancer is no different to having Dalia Margolis and Novikov walking around in Paris during Holiday Hoarders Paris, yet they are doing the same routine as they do in the Showstopper, such as Dalia interacting NPC in the auction on the third floor etc, yet Holiday Hoarders is supposed to be prior to The Showstopper?

Freelancer is clearly post H3, so I think it’s a case of we’ll be ignoring the Campaign Targets from Freelancer, very much like the Special Assignment missions etc

Your post just sums it up perfectly in my opinion :slightly_smiling_face:

Even the locations being used over and over again, while require some suspension of disbelief that 47 wouldn’t go anywhere else over this period of time, still makes a certain sort of sense that fits the canon, and is even lampshaded by Grey’s statements in the legacy trailer. These maps have all been hotbeds of criminal activity for years, with Providence and other organizations making moves for quite some time, so it explains why targets keep showing up in these places. Its like how you’re most likely to find a gambler in the US in Las Vegas or Atlantic City; that’s where you find the business you’re looking for.


Yeah that’s a good way to put it to be fair.

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Personally I expected freelancer be set during the one year hiatus, before 47 contacts Diana again.
Now, that she’s still being involved, I consider it, like it was in the comics:

Before Diana joined ICA, she had her little enterprise, where she gathered intel and some of her thugs carried out missions, since she had no taste for kill, but had no problem with killing. This is exactly what is happening in freelancer, so for now, I think these two has their little company/enterprise/whatever until the next game comes out and clarifies, what’ve become of the remnants of the ICA, was it rebuilt by Diana and 47 etc.

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I’m on board with that theory.

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I’m thinking, in terms of the current Freelancer timeline, I believe it could be set weeks after that one year time jump where we saw 47 enter the log cabin and make contact again with Diana.

Just my personal theory. For all we know, Freelancer could be another year after Hitman 3’s epilogue.

I really think people are really thinking too hard about why or why not this is set after the campaign, which it is post campaign obviously, but instead should be thinking about the bigger question, how much is 47 actually making off of these hits. We do not know how much each crypto coin translate into usd and judging by the vendors either some weapons are being sold for super cheap like the sniper rifles or screwdrivers are being overpriced.

oh and why the hell is 47 restricting himself inside the basement.

(I’m only half serious here)


Probably one of two ways to look at it.

  • This is just a gameplay mode for funsies.
  • This is some groundhog day stuff where 47 visits these locations and kills Syndicate members before doing the main mission, just like the headcanon concept of the Elusive Targets. At least that’s how I’m seeing it. Just imagine the CGI cutscene where 47 is going to Paris starts a Freelancer run in Paris!
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The cannons are in the Sapienza ruins as usual, I don’t know why everybody’s arguing about them :thinking:


What I read into the Freelancer mode and from my own experience with the closed technical test. The missions and targets aren’t canon, they are set outside the established timeline of the series, just like the Elusive targets. Both Elusive targets and Freelance targets inhabits the same maps and timeline as the main campaign targets.

The overall mode I see as semi-canon. The setting is a continuation of the H3 campaign, giving us an idea of what 47 and Diana are up to after cutting ties with the ICA.

The safe house is either a ICA or Providence safe house. I find it most likely that it belonged to Providence, since the ICA technically still exists in the world. But in a weakened state. Here it makes most sense that after Providence being wiped from the surface of the earth, that Diana repurposed some of their assets before removing all traces. I find it extremely unlikely that it’s build upon the foundation of the Winter cabin, we see at the end of H3. It would be enormous project to build without a shadow organization to keep every part of the project in the shadows. A unwanted amount of attention for a newly started 47& Co. business.

It also entirely possible that non of this has any meaning, when the next game arrives down the line.


I see where you’re coming from @Norseman, but could it be that the targets in Freelancer are canon, but we ignore the presence of the main campaign targets, very much like Holiday Hoarders were we have new targets, but we have Dalia Margolis and Novikov undertaking the same routine as they do in Showstopper?

It’s definitely the case that the Safehouse is post H3 showing what 47 and Diana have been up to.

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If it’s post H3 then logic dictates that it isn’t canon, since all targets are dead.

In the end it’s just a fun mode that exists to prolonge the life of the game.