TL;DR: Let’s buy Diana a phone so she doesn’t have to communicate telepathically, and bring back funny target videos in briefings.
We all love Diana. She’s been there since the beginning, recruiting 47 into the Agency, saving his life from The Franchise and always being there to give us that much needed intel before and during missions (unless she’s busy and fan-favourite Clera fills in). Bring Clera back!
Above: My favourite cutscene in HITMAN™ where 47 and Diana meet face-to-face. Perfection. It would be great to see more of this.
The evolution of Diana into a more human character is something I’ve enjoyed observing over the years, and I’m glad she became a more crucial part of the storytelling in Blood Money and Absolution, even if the (weak) story of the latter presented her as a shower-horror victim archetype, and it wasn’t a particularly effective reveal of her face either.
While there’s a case to be made it was appealing for Diana to be in the ‘shadows’ in previous games, she’s an impressive character in her own right, and this shouldn’t be diminished or taken away in any form. The mystery surrounding her was intriguing, but I beleive Absolution revealed too much (quite literally). A slower progression of her character, which would’ve explored her in smaller doses over time would’ve been better. Though, that’s all in the past now.
There are, however, numerous improvements and tweaks which I believe are necessary to enhance her role throughout the series – which can make gameplay more enjoyable and immersive.
There’s a main gripe I have with Diana’s presence in-game, starting with HITMAN™. If anyone’s played Beyond: Two Souls – she’s basically 47’s Aiden – a supernatural entity with special powers giving us inexplicable observations and access to information. Even though she’s presumably far away from the maps (I don’t think she’s in a CCTV surveillance van in the car-park) – Diana can somehow observe everything happening around 47. There are numerous examples of this in-mission. Whether it’s (annoyingly) telling us “THAT… is Victor Novikov” or giving us detailed descriptions of what’s on the Shadow Client’s hideout wall (“Familiar faces too…” How does she see them?!). To add, her voice isn’t playing through a radio-link, and exists unfiltered with direct neurological access to 47’s eyes and mind. She’s an ICA handler, not an omnipotent spirit creature lifted from the “scrapped ideas” box in David Cage’s office.
The least one could do is add an earpiece effect over her voice whenever she’s talking to you.
It would also be nice to bring back Vivienne McKee, after all she probably lives ten minutes away from IOI’s studios in Copenhagen. Jane Perry is fine as Diana, but McKee defined the character.
The other issue I’ll mention is the way mission briefings work. The current ones are a nice presentation slide-show telling us how shady and bad the targets are. All good and well, but I’m hesitant to treat this as something 47 himself receives, as they’re there for the player alone. You don’t really feel like you’re getting ICA intel, but an often over-dramatized and frequently adjective-filled description. Diana really wants you to be motivated to take the mission and feel good about it. So I can’t say I’m a fan of how the briefings are worded. @Agent_17 made an excellent post after HITMAN™ came out which hit the nail on the head, and whose frustrations I can relate to:
Personally, the best briefings are those which make you feel like you’ve actually received them from the ICA, where you can read and scroll through the info at your own leisure, access maps, target photos, or even footage. Who doesn’t want to watch some archive tape of your target as a child trying to kick a ball?
Diana’s been through a lot with 47, but they should always conduct themselves professionally. The way she voices briefings now makes her sound more like a journalist presenting on 60 Minutes, rather than someone who works for a pretty dark organisation where killing people is ‘strictly business.’ Let’s not beat around the bush.
What should definitely be appreciated though is that IOI have avoided turning Diana into a derivative character. I’m glad they’ve taken risks with her. She’s changed as time goes on – making her more than just a voice.
Well, those are my two cents.