How human shield could be implemented

Human shield has been missing since the alpha build of Hitman 2016. As far as i know, IOI has not commented on this. This is how i’d conceptualize the human shield mechanic for any future title in the series.

My goal is to design a balanced mechanic so there should be both advantages and disadvantages.

  • Only one-handed firearms can be used with a human shield (This is not Saints Row).

  • Unlike in Absolution, reloading should be possible like in BM but it would be slow and leave 47 vulnerable as he would be trying to keep his victim from struggling too much.

  • 47 would grab his hostage in a way that he covers their eyes to minimize the risk of them becoming a witness but if the victim has already been suspicious of 47 beforehand, they will know who to blame, thus becoming a witness.

  • 47 can let his victim go free by throwing them to the ground, briefly stunning the victim in progress, allowing 47 to quickly escape before the victim can visually ID him.

  • Taking a human shield would be noisy as the victim would beg, cry and struggle, alerting nearby people and attracting attention in general.

  • 47 would be able to knock out his hostage with the press of a button, and kill them by holding the button down for a second.

  • Fake surrender would not idiotically lead to hand to hand combat like in 2016 but to taking a human shield as was the case in Absolution.

  • In Blood Money, guards never took a shot unless they got behind you, when you reloaded, or at that very moment you fired your gun. In Absolution, guards wouldn’t initially shoot at you even if they surrounded you, instead they gave 47 three warnings before shooting. My suggestion is: Enemies won’t shoot until you take your first shot, after which they would take careful shots to maximize the chances of hostage’s survival.

  • Like in Blood Money, you would be able to push people over railings straight from the human shield.

  • Occasionally, well trained/physically strong characters would be able to overpower their way out of the grab, resulting in a brief QTE, which if done right would successfully bring the victim back to 47’s hold. If done wrong, they would simply get free, with 47 taking minor damage.

So that’s my conceptualization of an ideal human shield mechanic. I took into account the difficulty of programming such features and i came to the conclusion that it would be very much possible to implement all this, yet also very time consuming and ultimately pointless which is why i shouldn’t have made this thread.

I like this, in principle.

I think human shield was a mechanic with a great potential, but also, most probably, of a huge potential for over-powered abuse and imbalance - it can easily result in the player just running around and grabbing everyone for human shield, making the gameplay slightly ridiculous.

I think if it was to come back it should be severely limited in usage as to not become ridiculous and it should come with its own risks.

Metal Gear Solid 5 had a good example of how this could be achieved - if you get rammed or otherwise loose control of the situation, you’re being dropped to the ground and - in case of Hitman - it could mean a near-sure death.

Pros and cons


I can understand why IOI wants to avoid developing any features that cause missions to devolve into gunfights, but I think that there’s potential to develop a similar mechanic that’s more in line with their current design philosophy.
I think it would help to look at the kidnapping mechanic in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate:

If you aren’t familiar, in Syndicate you’re able to kidnap and lead your target around without raising much suspicion. It causes a stir at first, but just so long as you don’t allow any “enforcers” into your detection circle, which will expand if you move too quickly, you’ll

In Hitman this could be the first phase of a “human shield” mechanic with a greater focus on stealth than combat. 47 discreetly pulls out his gun and presses it against the target’s lower back. This is a classic maneuver in spy fiction, which the new games clearly draw heavily from.
This would simplify the mechanic down to it’s capability to lead the target around the level while de-emphasizing the combat aspect.
Obviously it’s pretty overpowered in Syndicate, but I think it could be much more balanced with Hitman’s social stealth system. Contrary to Assassin’s Creed, you would have to worry about being compromised by both civilians and enforcers. Plus, you would be walking much slower, which would force you to be more careful around enforcers.

If you’re compromised it could lead into the typical human shield/combat situation, but in this case it acts as a deterrent for failing the stealth aspect. This way there’s a clear incentive for maintaining your cover and not escalating things.


this way the player could de-escalate situation instead of escalate it

Well, the Fake Surrender we have currently does exactly that, its escalates the situation and put you in a frickin fist fight, leaving you open for fire of the other NPCs - at least you had an advantage in a firefight when you had an Hostage.

i don’t think we’ll ever see that described Arresting situation, just because it fucks up SA and you restart anyways :thinking:

1 Like

Fake surrender situation:

  • When the guard is close to you, there could be a QTE with 4 options:
    – Snap his neck
    – Instant knockout
    – Grab his weapon
    – Take the guard as human shield
  • No input: Guards will arrest you and bring you to the security room (could lead into a handcuffs situation or something, but that´s another story)

Grab from behind situation:

  • Tbh i can´t think of anything else but slowmotion with multiple choices:
    – Kill
    – Knockout
    – Take hostage
  • Currently if you´re behind an npc with unholstered weapon and press the X button you just kill him

Hostage situation:

  • Inner ring is the same size as the one from the concealed mechanics.
    – If any npc is inside the inner ring and looks in your direction you´re instantly compromised.
  • Outer ring is the doubled size.
    – Any npc inside the outer ring can spot you.
    – Enforders will instantly spot you inside the outer ring.
  • 47 needs to be in full control of his hostage:
    – Kill
    – Knockout
    – Release hostage
    – Switch between kidnap / human shield
  • I´m not sure if it´s a good idea to switch between kidnap / human shield by pressing the A button. Maybe just aiming could be better to switch between both situations? Haven´t though much about it tbh.
  • Pushing NPC´s over railings would be op.

@Kardibask haven´t played Syndicate myself, but this could perfectly fit into Hitman. thanks :slightly_smiling_face::+1:

Human shield situation:

  • Pushing NPC´s over railings would be op.
  • 47 needs to be in full control of his hostage:
    – Kill
    – Knockout
    – Release hostage
    – Switch between human shield / kidnap as long as you´re not spotted already

I always liked the quick neck snap you could do to a target if you took them as a human shield in Absolution. Not sure if you could choose between KO and kill in an earlier version but the build featured in Absolution’s E3 demo showed 47 snapping the neck of that cop (non-target) whom he took as a human shield.

What was this Walmart rumor???

that the reason they couldnt add human shield was because Walmart refused to sell the game with human shield

1 Like

Kinda funny if I do say so myself.

1 Like

It’s not completely absent tho… a few months ago, someone posted a video, 47 using a human shield in Sapienza. I forgot which thread was it, but I do remember, it was quite buggy.

It was in the code of Season 1 but was completely deleted from Season 2’s build.