Hitman: Going in for the kill?

I started thinking about this after a brief dicussion I had with my girlfriend about this.

When she saw me playing Hitman for the first time and observed me slicing the same person’s throat over and over again in an attempt to complete a Featured Contract, she was surprised and even concerned with the violence that comes with this game, the brutality and the joy I apparently derived from it.

Hitman stands out in a way from other games, because as opposed to first person shooters and war games, the killing feels more intimate and purposeful. She said that she didn’t like tos ee this side of me, apparently intent on violence, murder and killing, even if only in the artificial world of games.

When browsing the newly created thread “Things about Hitman you just love”, I saw a few remarks about the enjoyment of killing people, most of them half in jest. But it did make me wonder how important the killing aspect is for you in this game. The response to the Mills Reverie third stage escalation seemed to be one of mainly dissappointment because you couldn’t just kill all the guards and still get SA.

As for me, I tried to defend myself in the earlier mentioned discussion by emphasizing how this was mainly a puzzle game to me. Getitng the timing right, finding the good disguise, the routes, the equipment. But that was countered by the simple yet quite true remark that there are plenty of other puzzle games out there, without the violence. Something along the lines of Thief perhaps, where the object of the game is not murder but the less offensive theft, preferably with no collateral damage.

But it wouldn’t feel the same, at least not for me. Being a red ball in a field of cylinders and cubes trying to make my way from point A to B doesn’t have the same appeal as Hitman does. I’m an outspoken roleplayer after all. Playing the role of a Hitman comes with killing, and somehow I enjoy it.

How is it for you? Would the Hitman games without the actual killing be just as enjoyable for you? And if no, how do you feel about actually enjoying the “murdering” aspect? How would you explain it to your loved ones?


For me, it is not so much about the kill, it is about the atmosphere, the tension, and the feeling of espionage gleaned from disguises, enforcers, and blending in.

The game would work just as well for me if the final result was retrieval of an important document, or the arrest of the target; the importance lies in the ultimate objective having many ways in which it could be achieved. I don’t crave graphic depictions of suffering and gore, because that isn’t what I’m playing it for.

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As for explaining it to my mother, I showed her the cover art from 2016, and she just said: “That man looks evil.”

To others: "Hitman is a puzzle game, sandbox-style, where you play as a hitman with halitosis.":joy:

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My girlfriend hates it when I play first-person shooters because of “shooting other people”.
She likes me playing Hitman because I think she sees that the game is more involving than others.

I play HITMAN for the atmosphere and overall “feeling” of being an agent / hitman / callitwhateveryouwantheisJamesBondandEthanHuntnow. The kills are the icing on the cake.


To be fair he does look evil.

As for me well I don’t go in for the most violent kills immediately. But yeah I play it for the ambience that and I kill bankers.

I believe many of the people who doesn’t play Hitman think the same thing. My wife told me many times that it is too brutal and one of my friends even asked me to stop playing it as she thinks it has negative impact on the mind.
But for me, I just see it as a fun, puzzle, stealth game that keeps pushing you to think and find the best solution.

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One has to keep reality and fantasy separated. In Hitman, you could KO a bunch of people, pile them up, then shoot a PT and watch their bodies fly. There’s no dismemberment, no families having to wonder why daddy or mommy aren’t coming home tonight, or needing to make funeral arrangements, etc.

Heck, there’s even times I will kill (or “kill”?) a bunch of guards on a map… and after a while there is a hint of remorse just from the thought of it… But of course it’s just a game. They can all be resurrected with a simple restart, all ready to continue their scripted, emotionless routines.

I hate the thought of anyone in real life being hurt. Sometimes I think there’s instances where people might deserve what they get, but as long as it isn’t anything too harmful. But I also think that karma or justice does come into play in more extreme cases.

I remember when I was playing Tenchu on my PS1. My mother was in the room watching me play. I guess I sorta wanted to gross her out. So I was sneaking up behind people and Stealth Killing them. Until finally I got up behind a cultist, sliced his neck… Then his head came off. :joy:

Well, my dad… He’s more serious. He happened to be walking by my room when I did the decapitation. My mom asked my dad if he seen that… He said he seen the head being cut off. And I was like; “Uh-oh…” :flushed:

At any rate… I do find realistic violence a bit of a sensitive subject (either in real life or movies -e.g. gore), and it’s not something I’d enjoy watching -personally.


Because bankers are cankers?

I dropped a coin in London’s banking district, and two banker-types came to pick it up for me. So some of them do want to help you with your money!

Huh my banks stole money from the elderly, obfuscated banking contracts so we pay more and dodge corporate tax.

Maybe individual bankers are nice but I am not going to the CBD just to look for a nice banker.

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I try to avoid creating utter chaos, because Hitman can turn quite dark when NPCs pull out their phones and call their loved ones. Yes, it’s a game, but the NPCs are somehow more realistic than GTA’s. Even something like The Sims - when these innocent animated pixels suffer, the devs have done it well enough that you feel a certain level of shock.

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The level of stress alone would put me off it as a career. I think, for moral reasons, I could never be a salesman, where ruthless upselling seems like the name of the game.

I prefer writing. The pace is rather kinder to the anxiety!

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Hmm If you were ever in a publisher’s office you wouldn’t think writing is a peach. And that was just to get my poetry published in my uni’s student news.

Also my banks have been doing it for years. Labour wanted a royal commission into banks but the Liberals were like “Oh no it would just be a waste of time and resources”. When the Liberals finally caved and ran a royal commission? Yeah every single major bank was guilty of something except Bendigo Bank who have been enjoying an immense spike in popularity.

I think this is misunderstanding that discussion. For me that was a complaint not because I inherently love the violence or ‘killing’ someone, I’m fine having a mission without a kill! My issue is that Hitman has a very complex and wide system for kills (i.e. accidents, shooting, melee, thrown) that can affect the NPCs AI in interesting ways.

However, pacification aren’t an interesting system. It’s either

  • Get close and subdue/combat
  • Get close and throw a non-lethal object
  • Get close and use Kalmer

All of which involve running alllllll the way across the barren Hawkes Bay.

Plus the escalation didn’t have saves so pacifying 20 guards for 20 minutes only for a body to get found and ruin your SA is annoying.

So the escalation wasn’t fun to complete SA, it would have been more interesting to make it an all out murder-fest. You’ve given us a bunch of amazing lethal items, give us a place that incentives us to use them!

TL;DR: The problem isn’t I can’t kill, it’s that the pacification system isn’t very interesting

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Yeah, I can see that. I sort of see the NPCs as a bunch of person shaped series of scripts. You give an input, they give an output. They’re so disconnected from what real people are that it’s not a problem.

But I see how someone how hasn’t played the game can just see you shooting a man in the face and think you’re crazy :man_shrugging:

Well I think the Persona of 47 has always been the anti-hero because all of his targets usually have a horrible backstory like they are an Infamous drug lord or a serial killer. But the point of 47 is to usually only kill the Target and not kill anyone around them, just knock them out. My mom did stop by my house once while I was playing and she asked me why I was going around killing people and I did explain to her that I only kill bad people and not the innocent . If you kill a non target you get penalized. I have the Hitman sniper mobile game and if you kill a civilian Diana says “civilian casualties are not permitted”. So if you want to go on a killing spree that is all your choice which I usually partake in this and do enjoy. does this make me a violent person I don’t believe so and i enjoy the NPCs reactions just because they are sometimes hilarious and unrealistic. At the end of the day I understand the difference between fantasy and reality. I could never imagine hurting someone in real life (like jamming a screwdriver into their neck) and having it be enjoyable.


Think it’s important to stress that fantasy (in whichever medium, movies, series, games, books) does not equal reality. Just because i enjoy badass action scenes does not mean i want to see people get hurt in real life for example. People that try to link the two are being a bit silly in my eyes.

No it wouldn’t, due to the versatility the kills offer. Without that hitman would be boring in my eyes. I play hitman for the gameplay, the puzzle aspect, finding quick solutions, manipulating the AI, all that good stuff. If it was just about infiltrating and retrieving some static objective, i would not be interested in it at all.

Luckily my girlfriend loves hitman just as much as me, and she can clearly make the distinction between fantasy and reality


Just to be clear: the criticism I’ve received over “enjoying this game because of the killing that occurs” does not stem from a failure to distinguish reality and fantasy. My girlfriend knows very well (or at least believes quite strongly) that I am not a psychopath hungry for murder. The leap between killing in a game and killing in real life is so big you might as well compare playing with a paper plane and becoming an airplane-jacking suicide terrorist.

I’m also not talking about the love of gore. The Hitman games were aptly described as fairly muted in that regard. The bullet holes from the very first game have not been surpassed since in terms of illustrated bloodshed.

You are of course all free to discuss these aspects, but these were just not the things I was getting at.

I was surprised by the initial responses, I must admit. Most people don’t seem to care much about the killing aspect of the game. Yet the point A to B missions in Hitman:Absolution are quite generally reviled. The non-killing objectives in Whittleton Creek have inspired many criticisms. It seemed to me a lot of people were into Hitman because of the killing, and that removing that removes a crucial aspect of the game.

Then I saw some explanations that wouldn’t sway my girlfriend (who in this thread can be the Devil’s advocate, hope she won’t mind, she’s a great person and I love her very much, just want to get that out there):

  • The killing is only icing on the cake.
    This feels like a euphemistic way of saying you actually enjoy that aspect.

  • We only kill bad people.
    Maybe if you stick to the story line (though even that is up for debate), but contracts mode certainly blows that argument up in the air.

  • Bankers are bad people.
    No comment.

  • It’s unrealistic violence.
    It’s realistic enough for someone who doesn’t know what they’re watching beforehand to know what they’re watching. When I strangle a police officer in Hitman, any observer would know exactly what I’m doing. The red pixels on the floor after opening up one of the NPCs really does manage to get the message across.

  • Killing provides a more interesting “system” than pacification
    I partially agree with that, but I think the pacifying arsenal, including concussion explosive devices and non-lethal accidents, is quite broad as well, and could probably expand in the future. But until that happens, point granted.

  • Killing is more versatile and presents a dynamic rather than a static objective
    Point well taken, but is the killing really crucial in that? The kill itself is not necessarily more versatile. It’s mainly the approach towards the kill that is versatile. Why could the kill not be replaced by something less violent?

Imagine Hitman becomes like the game @TheChicken recently played, where you simply need to “tag” a target, without actually killing them. The tag could be administered through consumption of a certain liquid, close contact, through a third agent, a long-distance clean line of sight.Would such a game still be as enjoyable to you?


I tend to say yes

Not sure about that, might misunderstand you though. But we can blow up targets, creating falling accidents, push kills, pistol kills, sniper kills, drowning kills, fire kills, electrocution kills, the list goes on and on.

So unless you mean it in a way as killing = killing, meaning the end result is the target the being dead, i would say that the versatility is in the kills, or rather in the ways you can kill.

Why would it have to be replaced, to turn it around.

That would really depend on the execution of something so intricate and complicated. If it would turn into a aim and click thing, then i would say no

For a teenager like me I definitely get enjoyment out of the kill, it’s just my biology.
But I don’t find the bloody ones all that great, they’re mostly just ticking things off of a list. Accidents and poison kills are much cooler for me.
But Hitman isn’t really about just killing people. It’s about perfectly setting everything up so that that can happen. It’s about the puzzle and stealth journey not the simple button press kill that happens at the end. Even though they’re freaking awesome.


Yeah I’d forgotten about concussion explosives :sweat_smile:

I do think S2 is much better for expanding that part of the game. And I wouldn’t mind IO making a pacification/kidnap style mission (ala Shaving Lenny or in Sgail) but I was talking mostly in terms of The Mills Reverie

Also, brilliant thread, thanks man! :+1:

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