Improving "Death in the Family"

So, for anyone not familiar with the concept, I’ve been doing these threads since HITMAN2016, and have just started with HITMAN 3. Check out “Improving On top of the World” if you haven’t already.

The idea is basic: to come up with suggestions that would improve a certain level in terms of missions stories, dialog, and gameplay dynamics.
What’s not included here is large changes to gameplay, like adding blood trails, or massive restructuring of the levels.

I am fully aware of the fact that all of these changes likely wouldn’t be in the levels “if only the devs had thought of them”. I assume it’s all about resources and time in the end. Doesn’t stop me from speculating in what could’ve been with a bit more time/resources. :slight_smile:

Anyways…

Means Motive and Opportunity Flexibility

I love this opportunity, but if you know me, you already know where I’m going with this.
It should be possible for Phineas Witmer to solve the Dartmoor murder case.


Phineas Witmer is a classic detective, and while he detects a lot, maybe it’s not enough.

Of course, witmer would not fully solve the case on his own. In order for him to do that, you would need to help him find notes/diaries by handing them to him and/or placing the notes/diaries in appropriate spots he passes (like the Laundry Business Documents in Mumbai).


In Mumbai you can dress up as the Foreman and meet with Vanya Shah, but you can also make the Foreman meet her by placing the laundry business documents in a place he’ll find them.

You could do it in other ways if you wanted of course… I also imagine a scenario where Witmer, as a part of his route, will go to Fernsby’s office and loudly proclaim ”Locked!” and then try to peek inside before leaving. The player could break open the doors or pick the lock, which would allow Witmer to enter the office the next time he passes and find the clues that incriminate Fernsby.


Perfectly set up. Witmer cannot find the evidence to incriminate Fernsby since the door is locked. But break it open… ?

In essence, the player would be able to feed Witmer the evidence they want him to find in order to get him to accuse Fernsby, Emma, or Zachary.

Means Motive and Opportunity, the Kill

The way this mission story ends when you accuse Emma or Fernsby is quite iffy. Alexa tells you that you can see yourself out, but for some reason you can just freely follow her out on to the balcony and throw her off the side.

The area beyond the guards really should be a trespassing area, so that you cannot simply walk passed them for a kill.


The area in front of me should be trespassing, but it isn’t.

Obviously this wouldn’t raise the difficulty much as I’m sure you could just sneak through one of the side doors, but I feel the kill wouldn’t feel even half as unearned or dumb.

It’s the Constant… He…!

I don’t like that all exits except for the motobike lacks the story related call from Grey. Are all other exits not really valid or simply not possible canon? I would prefer, to as large an extent as possible, for all playthroughs to feel valid.


As you approach the motorbike exit Grey’s warning can be heard, but not with any other exit. Why?

Just add Grey’s call for all exits.

Fernsby’s Disguise

Not allowing the player to disguise as the butler is a mistake in my opinion.

Of course, I almost all of the regular indoor staff knows Fernsby, and would be Enforcers, but I can easily imagine that Alexa’s guards are recent hires (due to her current situation), and the lawyer certainly wouldn’t know.


No disguise option. Why?

I imagine you could meet Witmer as Fernsby and lead him off somewhere secluded to get his disguise (though you couldn’t play the mission story with Fernsby incapacitated).

Rafters Sniper Perch

This level is missing at least one sniper perch.

From a distance this ruined structure (church?) really looks like it might be one. Just add a ladder and some rafters you can move about on. This could also be a good angle to shoot birds nests from.

The Milton-Fitzpatrick Tokens

Rebecca and Fernsby both carry tokens that grant access to a deposit box with a copy of the Arthur Edwards file we’re all looking for.

These two, in a sense, are also targets, but need to be taken out in a non-lethal way.

The level has been helpful enough to place two accident-knockouts on the map (banana and rake), but I think we could’ve been given a few more options here. In particular I feel like the characters could’ve been given a more interesting routes that allows for the player to incapacitate them in fun ways.


While Rebecca can be dealt with cleanly in a few ways that are fun, they’re basically all located in the Trophy Room. Fernsby isn’t a lot better.

Enforcer For No Reason

I’m gonna end this on a small, petty point, but… why is this guard an Enforcer? I would enjoy approaching the gates as 47 and getting the ol’ ”Sorry sir, this is private property.” Doesn’t really seem to serve any purpose either.

So… Good suggestions? Maybe you have some of your own? Discuss! (or don’t)

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I’ll also throw in the obvious, the Means, Motive and Opportunity mission story should have been less guided by Diana, the mystery sort of plays itself.

Also, I’m not sure about Grey’s line about the constant being implemented to every exit. The motorbike is pretty far away from the manor so is very rarely used by me at least. I imagine the devs locked it to that exit so we wouldn’t get sick of the line every time we played. Think of the various things Diana has said that’s annoyed players;

-“THAT, is (insert target), quite the resume”

  • “This is one of the Mumbai chawls 47”

  • Good work, you’re in. Very impressive etc

No doubt these lines add to immersion the first couple times you play. But after many hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours, players have heard them to death. I can’t see them taking kindly to Grey screaming in their ear after every Dartmoor run :wink:

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You could always do alternate line readings. Just doesn’t sit very well with me that there’s one exit that seems to be canon, while the others are “lesser” options.

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That’s understandable, I think a good compromise would be to be able to toggle handler voice lines in the settings.

If I remember correctly, running to the motorbike exit will slowly increase the pace of the music, then Grey’s voice line hits and the music soars as you exit the mission. It would be very difficult to implement this into say, the bridge exit as you would be able to exit way before Grey has finished speaking.

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In my opinion, the lack of a proper way to help Whitmer solver the case was the biggest “miss” on this level. He’s put forward as this great detective but if you follow him around, he barely does any real detecting. It could have been a Cashmerian-style opportunity to basically do the entire mission “remotely”, as it were.

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Well, it is implied in Mendoza that he does eventually solve it :wink: Nevertheless, while it would be undoubtedly cool to see him do it in Dartmoor, I have two issues with this…

Firstly, unlike in Mumbai, where we are only required to place one item for both Shah (the foreman´s documents) and Rangan (the paint), incriminating any of the three subjects (and in particular Emma and Zachary) would require significantly more items to be placed, which I think would be too much of a hassle, and from the logic of the mission story, it wouldn´t really work all that well. The evidence found around the manor clearly rules out both Zachary´s suicide (e.g. the non-matching handwriting, his intention to publish the truth behind Montgomery´s death, or his online shopping history) as well as Fernsby (the unmatching poison), thus leaving only Emma. So if Witmer is as good as he´s supposed to be, he would inevitably realize what all these clues mean and come to the same conclusion as 47, only he would stick to the true killer when speaking to Alexa. And this brings me to the second issue.

The ultimate purpose of the Kashmirian storyline in Mumbai is to help us eliminate two targets and locate/gain access to the third one. In Dartmoor however, having Witmer solve the case wouldn´t be all that much beneficial. When disguising as him, you get the double benefit of getting access to the file and killing Alexa. But the only way his own solving of the case would lead to a proxy kill would be to have him rule Zachary´s death a suicide (thus making Alexa kill herself - or does this happens only when you find out about Zachary´s confession?), which would be an enormous hassle and not all that kosher as I describe above, and you would still be required to either infiltrate her office to steal the file, or get the tokens. Incriminating Emma wouldn´t achieve anything, cause Alexa would stay on the upper floors, and while incriminating Fernsby would have her come downstairs, this is something that I think happens eventually, or you can simply get to that point by choosing a starting location when the family meeting begins. Plus you still need to get the file/tokens.

Therefore, the only way I think this would work would be for 47 to incriminate the butler (by fabricating the flower poison using the distillery kit and substituting the pills in Fernsby´s office with it, and unlocking the office so that Witmer can go in and investigate as you describe) and removing (picking up or cleaning) evidence which would potentially lead to Emma (e.g. the footprints, letter, etc.). Now, I´ve never followed Witmer around tbh, so I don´t really know which places and clues he checks and notices, and thus what would be required to remove. Incriminating Fernsby would also mean that it serves the purpose of getting Carlisle to walk down and be more accessible. Then again, this can be achieved in an easier fashion, as can be simply infiltrating and killing her upstairs, not to mention the second objective, so I´m still not sure this entire option would be worth the effort…

Yeah, agree that this is too easy (and I even had one of the guards tell me to “Stay back” lol). Turning it to a temporary trespassing area would make sense.

I´m gonna disagree on this one. One of the things that irks me about H3 is how it´s shoving the story in my face at times. I prefer when the missions feel like they could be completely random and unrelated hits (as is the case in H1 and 2), and Dartmoor already deprives me of this by having Diana´s “mission complete” announcement fading into radio silence and having no ending music. I really don´t need to hear Grey´s warning with every exit (I´m already annoyed enough by his omnipresent “47, I want to address the Partners directly” monologue in Dubai).

Again, I´ll disagree here. I think Fernsby is the kind of person who gets acquinted with every member of the staff, including Alexa´s guards (even if they are recent hires - he is her main confidant after all, so I imagine she introduces him to her guards or them to him either way). Not to mention - as you note - it would result in a shitload of enforcers around the map, which I really don´t find worth it.

This one I will agree on. A sniper perch is indeed missing in the level and this ruined structure just feels like a waste of walls (and opportunity) and something I thought from the very first playthrouh oughta be climbable.

Yeah, a good ol´ “Sorry sir, this is private property.” would´ve been nice :slight_smile: (can we add him to the list of enforcers that need to be removed, right after the Paris terrace cu*t?)

My own little suggestions/wishes (nitpicks really):

Missing sniper rifle

I really feel like there should be a sniper rifle available on this level (just like in Beldingford Manor), specifically the Bartoli Woodsman Hunting Rifle which we get as an unlock for 20 level mastery. There is in fact a guard who seems to be carrying it in the intro cutscene, but he is nowhere to be found afaik.

There are scopeless rifles in the gun display next to the shotguns, which are not usable, so it would be great if the display would contain one such rifle or if it was located somewhere else.

They did include it in the Dartmoor Garden Show. Would be great if they could put it in the main mission as well…

Kukri knife

Another item we get through mastery progression here is the lvl. 13 kukri knife, which I find a cool and fitting addition. I was sad to find out it is nowhere to be found in the mission itself (unless I´ve been missing it somehow), which I find to be a real shame, especially given its description as one brought from India to the UK. Would be nice if it was in the trophy room, Alexa´s office, or one of the secret rooms.

Unique disguise

This is something that I miss in H3 in general. The sorts of unique, “surprise” disguises we used to find in H1 and H2 missions, such as the Vampire Magician, Plague Doctor, Scarecrow, Motorcyclist, Pale Driver, Arkian Robe, Knight, etc. The Carlisles have a rich past within the British Empire´s history. I was hoping to find some fun unique disguise such as an army uniform from WWII or the 19th century in one of the secret rooms.

Come to think of it, there´s generally a disappointingly low number of disguises in H3…

Thornbridge Manor facilities

While I´m far from a Beldingfor Manor worshipper, the place had a lot of things going for it (alongside the sniper rifle), such as stables, dog pens (is that what it´s called?), tennis court, or a whiskey cellar. Thornbridge Manor is rather empty in this regard. There´s wine stacked between the kitchen/staff area and Fersby´s office, but no cellar/basement, which is a shame. Same thing for the manor grounds. There´s a garden, greenhouse, and graveyard with a (useless) ruined church, and the area feels rather empty and desolate. I would imagine the rich and powerfull to try and entertain themselves in more ways than gardening and hunting (which seem to be the Carlisles´ main recreational purposes). It´s also a shame that there´s nothing specifically Providence-related, given that this is the place where it all started.

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I still think it was a missed opportunity that 47 can’t accept Alexa’s offer to kill Emma - which is something IO had considered but cut at some point. I get why it was cut since it was irrelevant to the overall story, but still…

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Indeed, that would´ve been a nice little twist, but as you mention, it wouldn´t really fit into the story (unlike if Carlisle was a target for other reasons and there was a client). Unless of course Alexa conditioned giving 47 the Edwards file upon Emma´s death…

There is at least poetic justice in the fact that she commited (potentially double) murder for nothing.

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I know what you mean about the facilities. Carlisle is supposed to be the most powerful woman on Earth, but she doesn’t even have an underground vault filled with the world’s most priceless treasures! Or a panic room. Or a hidden room where she could secretly run Providence from. And don’t get me started on her estate having loads of broken garden walls and being overlooked by wind turbines! And why doesn’t she have an electronic security system?

Still a very good mission!

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This just strikes me as giving up a bit too easily.

For instance, I don’t see why Witmer needs to be a perfect private detective if him not being so opens the level up for more options. Maybe he’s not as good at poisons as 47 is? (for instance)

But I also don’t get why some “conflicting evidence” needs to be cut. Are a few footprints outside really that strong evidence against (for instance) Fernsby?

In the end the reasons why you can’t simply unlock the door to Fernsby’s office in order to incriminate Fernsby are all based on how the mission / mission story is written… and it can be rewritten to accommodate this new approach to the level.
I really don’t think it would be particularly hard to rejigger the mission story so that you could lead Witmer to the conclusions you desire.

Incriminate Zachary - Alexa kills herself
Incriminate Fernsby - Emma kills Alexa if you fix the poison making device in the green house.

Incriminating Emma might be a bit too complicated, but then again (as you said) this isn’t worth much, so for the sake of the argument I’ll gladly give that up (I’m sure it could be done though).

Seems good to me, for instance for suit only approaches.

In the end I guess I just don’t understand being against disguises, even if it leads to tons of enforcers its always fun IMO, and adds possibilities for contracts.

I guess we also have different views on how plausible a disguise needs to be. I think H3 (and all previous game) are filled to the brim with far less believable disguises, and having a few new hires not recognize him seems about on par to me.

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Fair enough. I guess I see him being kind of the typical “Sherlockian” type who solves his cases flawlessly, hence also the reason why Carlisle summoned him (mainly to debunk the suicide angle). There are certainly hints at him really being that good (see below).

Like I said before, I honestly don´t know what clues/places does Whitmer actually check or not, so the potential necessity to remove certain evidence would largely depend on that. I mention the footprints specifically because I remember him examining them (though I don´t recall what he says). The Hitman wiki mentions the following:

“While Whitmer does not investigate Zachary’s room, he will get alibis from each suspect. He does not solve the murder mystery by himself, but is able to pick up on some vital clues, such as Emma’s resemblance to Montgomery and her attachment to Thornbridge Manor. He also notes to Fernsby that he smells of burnt leather, causing the latter to briefly lose his composure.”

With this in mind, it seems like he would eventually conclude it was either Emma or Fernsby, and given that incriminating Emma wouldn´t really be all that beneficial, I´m leaning more towards the “Fernsby only” option.

Another reason why I´d lean towards the Fernsby option, although as I mention before, the somewhat downside of this is that you can achieve a suit only playthrough with this kill simply by choosing a starting point after the family meeting and just fixing the distillery kit, completely skipping the necessity of the detective story line. I will admit however that it would be cool to have it there.

Could very well be, though I would imagine him having done a forensics comparison before making conclusions (one of the possible reasons why he wouldn´t solve the case on site).

But I might just be dwelling too much on it to make logical sense, and as you (rightly) mention later, that´s not really often the case with Hitman :joy:

Anyways, would be interesting to know if the devs considered this approach at some point (and if yes, why was it left out).

Oh don´t get me wrong, I´m totally for disguises and like it when there´s a lot of them. As I mentioned, the overall smaller number in H3 is rather disappointing.

You´re totally right that there are far less believable disguises. And fact is the butler disguise in Sapienza should work in a similar fashion as I described, but actually comes with a fairly small amount of enforcers. I guess I just saw Fernsby as the “know(n by) everyone” type (an aura the Sapienza guy doesn´t have that much), but you are right and I change my mind. It would be good to have the option at least :grin:

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I must agree, there is an obvious lack of costumes. Berlin got some nice ones since it’s the most original location of the game. Costumes should accompany reactions from the npcs and some pivotal situations. Love me some silly costumes too, something that should compete with legacy Clown or Hell costumes, no ski attire though! But nothing tops the Flamingo suit though.

Ah, yes, i felt the same. An underground cellar, with an exit door on the side should have been conceived from the get go, a good place for Fernsby to be taken down quietly, to offer the… cellarman costume or extend Witmer’s whereabouts and the search for clues or maybe even a place like Tintin’s Moulinsart with all kinds of artefacts and dusty collections.

I dearly love Thornbridge Manor but i generally feel the secret passageways are a bit disappointing, i would assume one of them would have a flight of stairs, or a surprising secret room, just as Palais de Walewska has that room with the vampire suit that can be looked over. I always love Beldingford Manor because of how outrageous the architecture of the Manor is.
I get how experimental in their uniqueness the levels are and how they must remain functionalistic, so it would be redundant to offer the same structure over and over though.

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Indeed. Berlin´s got some nice ones, but still only 10 in total (pretty much the average number for H3 maps), while Whittleton Creek, a fairly small map (particularly by H2´s standards) has double the amount. Heck, even Dubai has one more! (two if you count the skydiving suit in the lobby) :laughing:

The ski attire´s only problem is the lack of suitable missions to use it in lol. Well, that and the fact that the one mission where I would like to do so doesn´t allow me to pick my starting suit…

Back on the note of having Witmer solve the case, I realized the other day it would have one other benefit besides getting Carlisle downstairs, and that is exposing her on the balcony for a sniper kill. So that´s one other plus for this option.

And on another note, I only just realized the general lack of TV programmes in H3 when “discovering” the one in Carlisle´s living room. Only Berlin and Chongqing actually have the option to meddle with TVs, with the former having the old cooking show and the latter some commercials. Dubai´s and Dartmoor´s TVs don´t work and Mendoza has none I think. This is a bit of a disappointment after H2´s plethora of news reels and unique TV programmes in almost every level that greatly added to the immersion.

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Didn’t even think of this to be honest. That would be a great sniper kill.

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You know, as much as I was skeptical about the usefulness of the option to have Witmer solve the case, this sniper kill alone pretty much makes me want to have it there :sweat_smile:

I´ll have to do some experimenting, see if Carlisle can be lured up there in a different way to do it…

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I meant costumes you can reuse in other levels.I don’t have all the costumes from H1 and H2 since i played little of them until H3 but indeed, it’s quite low when you know how big the levels of H2 are. I still surprise myself when i get a new costume which i know comes from H1, H2.

That’s exactly what i thought! I don’t know how long she stays on the balcony, but i doubt it would be easy to go out the office, climb down the gutter, find a spot where you already set up your rifle and shoot her.