Improving "On top of the World"

So, for anyone not familiar with the concept, I’ve been doing these threads since HITMAN2016.
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.

Oh, and one more thing… these are not here to hate on the levels/level design. For instance, I love this level… but there’s always room for improvement, and potentially to rethink some design principles.

I’ve not done one of these in a while, for a number of reasons, but here goes…

”Bird of Prey” - Believability

In the Mission Story ”Bird of Prey” we are introduced to the character of Zana ”The Vulture” Kazem.

Kazem is one of a handful of disguises in H3 I really wish they had put a little more work into making believable (another one being Pritchard in Chongqing).

The problem here is of course that the first time you see Kazem, he is talking the hostess, Miss To, who you will then meet while disguised as Kazem.

Not only has she just recently seen the real Kazem, there’s not even some kind of flimsy way in which you look similar to him (like with Helmut Kruger).


When you first see Zana Kazem two things become abundantly clear. You look nothing like him, and Miss To has just seen him face to face.

My suggestion is simply to introduce Kazem in another manner. Instead of Kazem standing by the stairs refusing to be frisked, we only see Miss To. She’s on the phone, talking about waiting for Kazem. Kazem in turn is in the garden looking for something he’s lost. Now, when you arrive and present yourself as Kazem, it doesn’t feel quite as silly.

”Bird of Prey” - Flexility

For people who know of my previous Wishlist threads it might not come as a surprise to learn that I wish there was a way for Kazem to head to the meeting with Carl Ingram.

In the above ”improvement” I have already planted a seed for this. Simply find the item Kazem is looking for in the garden and return it to him. He will then head to the meeting.

Here, I think there’s room to open up for a couple of new kills, one poison kill, where Ingram drinks (for instance) coffe durin the meeting, and one push-kill where Ingram stays in the meeting room for a while while guards head outside and watch the entrances. He of course leans against the railing.


This meeting is an excellent opportunity for kills. If Ingram waits for everyone to leave the room and then leans against the railing behind…

Just place a hiding spot in the meeting room and we’re golden.

”Bird of Prey” - Assassinating Hans Lucht (The Reporter)

While I’m generally against introducing innocent targets, I think Hans Lucht was a missed opportunity. This objective that you get from Carl Ingram should give the player a new (optional) target to assassinate. As it is right now, killing Hans Lucht will void your SA-status, even if done with accidents or lethal poison. I really don’t think it should.


Poisoning Hans Lucht might seem like a good idea, but you’ll lose Silent Assassin for doing so.

Added by Edit: One small thing you could if you don’t want to add the option of killing Lucht penalty free would be to add a sedative vial to the map somewhere. You could then basically do the lethal poison kill but just knock him out.

Get to the Chopper!

Right now the parachute kill is kind of odd. The targets rush to the chopper to escape and then the chopper pilot says they’re not prepared for an evacution (maybe because he lost the key? I don’t think it’s clear), so they go for the parachutes instead.


I guess this is all just a way to give the player more time to prepare the parachute kill, but it does beg the question: Why no chopper kill?

There’s a few ways you could ”fix” this. One way would be to remove the chopper pilot from the level and instead have a mechanic there. In this scenario the chopper wouldn’t be working properly, but you could find a spare part and install it. If you do, either Ingram or Stuyvesant pilots the chopper to safety (in order to avoid the pilot being collateral), but if you’ve placed a bomb on it beforehand you can blow them up before they escape (put a timer on it, like with the parachutes or the seaplane in Sapienza).

In the case that you don’t repair the chopper Ingram and Stuyvesant default to the parachute escape.

The Master Suite

The master suite that Carl Ingram is staying in only has one way to access it… this really is a crime.


This is the only entrance to the master suite. Really quite limiting.

I’d suggest in the very least a way to get onto the balcony by shimmying on ledges. The easiest way to do this would be to add some shimmying ledges / climbing pipes coming from the area where Ingram will go to golf if stressed out.


Doesn’t seem all that hard to add some climbing/shimmying to get from the platform to here

If you allow for Zana Kazem to actually meet with Ingram this could culminate in you pulling Ingram off the balcony from a hanging position.

”How the Mighty Fall” - Lockdown

In the Mission Story ”How the Mighty Fall” you can get both targets to meet and then lock the room down for a safe kill… but it all feels pretty rigid. The lockdown can only be triggered from inside the lockdown room, and only if both targets are alive and in place.

I would open up for triggering the lockdown whenever you desire, but also some mechanism to do it from upstairs. The easiest would be for the lockdown to be triggered by something like the hackable vent locks from Chongqing.


If you could activate the lockdown from up here using your camera, you could perform a cool pistol kill.

Marcus Stuyvesant Disguise

When footage from Dubai was first released, I was one of many who thought it was obvious that there would be a Marcus Stuyvesant disguise. The way he’s dressed just begs for 47 to take on his persona to meet with Carl Ingram. This could be merged with the ”How the Mighty Fall” Mission Story, where Ingram and Stuyvesant meet in the penthouse. I think it would be quite the enjoyable experience to join Ingram in the lockdown room, lock it down, and then reveal yourself as not being Stuyvesant.


Come on, who didn’t think this would be a disguise? Disappointing if you ask me.

The Balcony Bar

The balcony bar is quite a nice looking area that I almost never visit. It has no function except to poison Stuyvesant with his favorite whiskey (and if you make the mistake of using emetic he voms off the balcony in front of everyone).


HITMAN 3 does a really good job with adding stunning locales/areas. This is one of them. Quite a shame that people probably rarely see it.

Beyond this, the balcony bar isn’t even placed in a way where you would want to cut through it to get to other areas particularly often.

My small suggestion here would be to move the room where you can overload the sun-display to this side of the exibit, thus making it more plausible for people to pass through this gorgeous area to perform the epic electrocution kill. This would probably require some reworking of the internal layout of the exibit area, as the sun isn’t really place close enough to the balcony for this to work.

Another possibility could be to relocate Zana Kazem to this area.


There we go. I had a little bit on the (In)Security Mission story, but while I’d really like for the new guard to eventually meet Stuyvesant (given the right help), I couldn’t come up with a fun use for it. :slight_smile:

Anyway… waddaya think? Good suggestions? Have any of your own?

@William1066, there ya go. :wink:

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Add working Elevators.

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It’s the middle of the night right now so I will probably read it when I wake up, but THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS!

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While I agree, I consider this a game-wide thing, and not specific to this level. I’m fairly certain the reason there’s not working elevators here is the reason they are nowhere to be seen in any of the TWOA levels.

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Be able to lend the new guard recruit your uniform, so he can go to the job interview himself instead of 47 being forced to fill in for him

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Did @Rimland bribe you to write this? :stuck_out_tongue:

(Not saying it is a bad idea though.)

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I think it should void SA since it is not mandatory when completing the mission or mission story. Sure, allowing the player to kill him could open more ways to get the photo while keeping SA. But in my opinion, the comparably limited ability to make NPC unconscious than killing them creates a balance between the two methods. Will you give up your score to make things easy or take a more challenging way to keep the score?

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all great points. i killed Hans Lucht thinking it would be fine, and then…it wasn’t. maybe it’s not an additional objective for the same reason that the killer in Dartmoor (Emma Carlisle) is not one, as it was intended to be originally.

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Wait why should we kill Lucht? You can just knock him out and then take his photo. He isn’t a threat and he is even useful to Grey’s cause being a reporter looking into The Partners faking their deaths.

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…for fun? :pleading_face: Carl Ingram asks you to get rid of him any way you want. and if you could kill him, maybe it would set off another chain of events, like having to take care of more people to prove to Ingram that you mean business. as it is, it’s just a simple objective. guess it would be more interesting if there were more to it in some way.

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I didn´t, but you know, great minds think alike and all that… :smirk:

Anyways, great thread as always @Kent . Agree on most of your points. I´m basically gonna reiterate what I mentioned in my mini-rant in the Dubai location discussion back in March (DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (Mission #1) - Location Discussion - #307 by Rimland), but to go into more detail:

Yes, absolutely agree on this one. While Hitman has always been very lenient with NPCs inability to distinguish a disguised 47 from the real person they had seen just a minute ago, this one is a little too “in the face” for comfort. Introducing Kazem in a way that doesn´t have him immediately interact with Miss To would have been better, given the obvious differences between him and 47.

And btw, the end of the VR announcement trailer sees Kazem go to the bathroom on the other side of the building (HITMAN 3 - Official VR Announcement Trailer - YouTube). AFAIK he never leaves the garden terrace, so maybe there was originally something different about his route?

Indeed, some more flexibility and the option to exploit/manipulate unique NPCs and target routes would be nice, as it is something I feel is missing quite a lot in H3 missions compared to the previous two seasons. Pritchard in Chongqing is another prime example of this, alongside his introduction which you mention in your previous point, and I´m really looking forward to your improvement thread on that mission.

Not something I would consider absolutely essential, but would nevertheless welcome it as an optional side objective. Related note on Emma Carlisle in Dartmoor: while I was - like many - expecting her to pop up as an optional target after the conversation with Alexa, her killing would really have no purpose given the lack of a money reward system in the game, unless Alexa demanded it in order to give you the Edwards file, in which case it would be a neat little twist optional objective. With Lucht, it´s more justifiable since you need to get rid of him (one way or another) to get to Ingram using the Kazem disguise. The fact that he´s an innocent target would at least make it more interesting decision-wise (plus people tend to complain about the side objectives, so a more “fun” one could be a nice change). Not to mention that at this point in the story, 47 et al. have already killed at least one innocent, so…

Sigh, ah yes, the chopper… As @IlikeHitman and @William1066 can attest, this really is my one major irk with this mission. The pilot saying they´re not ready for evacuation is idiotic, and I assume the actual reason are the lost keys. In which case there should be an option to retrieve the keys and give them to the pilot, in which case the targets would evac by helicopter rather than skydiving off the building, thus allowing for blowing it up when airborne, just like Caruso (along with the said timer). This is something that was already a missed opportunity with Knox in Miami, and I was genuinely expecting it here based on this scene in the final trailer:

I´m not sure why the option isn´t present, probably some technical issue, but I would hope that if it´s possible to do with a seaplane in the game, it would be possible with a helicopter as well… My disappointment is even stronger considering that the last and only time we had this sort of kill in the series was back in H2SA… :roll_eyes: Also, I wouldn´t have a problem with the pilot´s death voiding SA. It would be a necessary trade-off for this particular (awesome) kill, similar to the turret kill in Marrakesh or light rig kill in Paris.

Other than the keys, yes, the mechanic+spare part scenario would also work. Either one or both of the targets could certainly have piloting skills.

Ah yes, the Zaydan office syndrome… :roll_eyes: Again, can only agree, and would add that despite the setting, this mission doesn´t really make much use of outdoor area traversal, which is a shame.

Agreed.

Would be nice, especially given the fact that disguising yourself as a target has been pretty much dropped from the series (aside from the few PZ missions). Then again, Ingram is way too familiar with Stuyvesant to not notice, so 47 would basically have to refrain from speaking, plus Ingram would be an enforcer to the disguise and several blending spots (like the Bravuomo ones in Landslide) would be required, so question is how much it would be worth it.

You can also kill Stuyvesant froom Ingram´s balcony when he´s down there I think (haven´t really done it). But yes, other than the whiskey kill, it is rather underused. Particularly when considering there are two unique NPCs there (Voltaire and Sato) who basically have no use/role in the mission. Utilizing them somewhat more could´ve maybe helped. In addition, this area (alongside the Black Gold Bar) in particular to me is an example of a lack of civilian blending spots, such as these terrace chairs:

Aside from a few benches and one chair near the private bar to eavesdrop on Cornelia, there are no civilian blending spots like drinks or railings for example. Rather disappointing compared to the pletora of options in Santa Fortuna, Isle of Sgail, and others.

An additional improvement for me would be the ability to access the rooftop, as the pre-release screenshots suggested we would be able to do:

I know there wouldn´t be that much gameplay use to it probably beyond sniping the targets through the glass (which would be cool), but it would be nonetheless awesome to have that area accessible. And it also relates to what I said earlier about the lack of outdoor traversal.

Finally, minor nitpick regarding the absence of some NPCs I was hoping to see here, namely Salman Al-Ghazali and Amos Dexter. Just for lore purposes it would´ve been nice.

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I think I could’ve done without Amos Dexter to be honest, but Salman Al-Ghazali not being there is kind of flabberghasting.

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I kinda expected Dexter since he seems like the oil baron type, so the setting and occasion would´ve been ideal for his appearance. Certainly expected him more than Sato… :no_mouth:

But yes, Salman´s absence is definitely the more perplexing of the two. Due to his prior two appearances (and the droid conversation) and the setting, I very much took it for granted he would be there. Would´ve made for some interesting interactions with Omar.

Speaking of which, the Dubai briefing interestingly seems to use Salman´s model. I wonder if he was originally intended to be the host, or if Omar´s appearance was meant to be similar to his before they went with the final one:

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I have to say I strongly disagree with this line of thinking. It would introduce an ‘ends justify the means’ philosophy to 47’s behaviour which would legitimise murdering anyone when you deem it necessary.

This is absolutely what should happen. Hans Lucht is an innocent journalist. Killing him in order to progress the opportunity with Ingram is unnecessary since a photo of Lucht merely pacified will suffice.

But this ‘justification’ could apply in exactly the same way to every non-target. Need a certain disguise? You could pacify that person… but, heck, why not just kill them and hide the body? No witnesses? Keep SA!

The logic here seems to be that if the game (i.e. Ingram) directs you to kill somebody, you shouldn’t be punished for following that instruction. But, quite frankly, fuck Ingram. You’re literally there to kill him. I would find it jarring for his instruction to be displayed as my objective. I don’t want to do his bidding.

A more practical way of looking at this would be in terms of replayability. You killed Lucht only to discover it harmed your rating? That plants the seed in the player’s mind; maybe I can trick Ingram by only pacifying Lucht in a future playthrough and maintain Silent Assassin.

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Like I said, having Lucht´s assassination as an (optional) objective is nothing I´d consider essential, but wouldn´t be against it. Whether his death would void SA or not is of course open to interpretation, and I completely get your point of view.

Then again, murdering someone as a means to an end is exactly what 47 had been doing for the previous four missions, so I wouldn´t see this particular case as introducing this philosophy to his mentality (not to mention he killed innocents before - particularly one other innocent journalist).

Sure, those people were assholes (some more, some less), and you probably don´t feel bad about killing them as you would with Lucht, but their deaths were also not necessary. Unlike with, say, Hush and Royce, whose deaths are necessary to access the data core (and even those are murders justified by a certain end), others are not.

The Washington twins? You could just pacify them and steal the remote triggers. Savalas? I don´t really see how her death is necessary to retreive the data. Other than all three being Providence operatives, there´s no reason for them to die, and for me personally this is a flimsy reason, cause I´m just doing Grey´s bidding… The HAVEN owners? Same. Pacifiying them until Olivia hacks the servers would be sufficient. But then of course we would have missions without targets and those as we all know are the worst kinds of Hitman missions.

Not to mention we had the ability to kill non-targets without losing SA before as well, and I´m not just talking about BM´s über-lenient system… Of course if it affects the rating than it´s more likely to influence your decision rather than a self-imposed “Thou shall not deprive any non-target of their vital functions” :man_shrugging:

By which of course I´m not saying you´re wrong or anything. Just that there´s a lot of ways to look at it :wink:

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When I speak of ‘philosophy’ in this context, I’m thinking specifically about the game’s internal logic for achieving Silent Assassin rather than a broader discussion of morality. That is certainly a much more complicated and subjective question, as you have correctly pointed out.

If the game instructed you to kill an innocent person to get closer to your intended target and then still rewarded you with Silent Assassin, this would undermine the entire philosophy of the rating system. This tells the player that the ends justify the means. You can kill anyone when you deem it necessary, so long as you hide the body (or bodies) and leave no witnesses. It’s just not consistent with Silent Assassin.

My other argument against this ‘optional target’ is that I simply reject the idea of Ingram giving me an objective. Again, this has nothing to do with broader questions of morality. I just detest the idea of Ingram having any influence over the in-game objective system.

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Really good Points. The only thing I had to add would be to reduce the NPC Model Clone Rate. I mean theres one Guy that appears 8 Times and to make matters worse, there an unused Male Guest Model, so IO wouldn’t even had to make a New Model.

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It’s so weird that Sheikh Salman Al-Ghazali isn’t in Dubai.

In Miami, if you wear his outfit and go to the robot, the robot says something along the lines of first Paris, now Miami, where will you be next. I was so expecting to see him. Dubai feels incomplete without him

I agree about the clones. Near the camels, there are two clones of the women wearing the dress

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Oh! I just assumed he was there somewhere. I hadn’t given it much thought.

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Can I just say that I thoroughly enjoy your ‘improving’ threads.
Always an enjoyable read and you have interesting ideas that often tally with my own.

Well done and thanks :+1:

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