Following part of its original discussion in the thread about how Targets should be allowed to be better prepared to defend themselves, and after the suggestion of some members, I have created this thread to describe and expand upon this idea of the Multi-Day Mission Structure.
This is also intended to discuss the effects (both good and bad) of such a system.
The Multi-Day Mission Structure is a concept where certain missions for 47 are broken down into 2 or even 3 day affairs, rather than just the single day/single session structure that is currently employed in HITMAN and HITMAN 2, or even all of the games since, though some may regard Codename 47 as something of a multi-day structure narratively, but not in terms of gameplay.
The idea is that, given the size, or the speculated future sizes, of environments in HITMAN 2 and future installments, it may be beneficial to allow sections of these maps and environments to be playable under the pretense that 47 is exploring or “casing” the location before the Target arrives and the full-sized location is played in Day 3.
These Preparation Missions would not involve a Target, since they would only appear on the Final Day of the Mission. Rather the Preparation Missions would be Exploration Missions where 47’s objectives are discovered on-the-fly with no true fail conditions except his own death.
The most common loop in these Preparation Missions would involve 47 discovering an interact-able area missing a certain object in order to serve some use on the Final Day as an Agency Pickup area where there normally wouldn’t be one, or as a means to arrange for accessibility by planting a ladder or to ensure a door is unlocked.
Other variations could take on the form of Opportunities or even Mission Stories unique to the Preparations. For example, the section of weakened wall in Sapienza leading to the Ether laboratory may be the object of rehabilitation works in a Day 1 or Day 2 Preparation for “World of Tomorrow” (purely as an example). Even if, due to Map Slicing, the Laboratory was actually not accessible (Story Contrivance and Map-blocking may make it so that such access isn’t possible) 47 may be able to sabotage the works by way of a story or opportunity ensuring the wall section will be vulnerable to small explosives on Day 3. Failure to do so may still result in the wall being vulnerable but only to a stronger explosive. Engaging in this part of the Preparation also would increase chances 47 (ie: the player) would be able to deduce the location of the Ether Virus with the added sensation that “the Player has somehow discovered the location by being thorough.”
This illusion of “You’re so smart by planning this big assassination yourself” is at the heart of the Multi-Day Mission Structure. By using smaller sections of the Final Day map, altered in a way to “precede” what is going to happen on the Final Day (Eg: Workers setting up the Fashion Show stage at the Palais a few days before the Sanguine show in The Showstopper opens) allows players to focus their exploration on smaller key areas of interest. Areas of Interest that are, in fact, dictated by the Mission’s authors but in which players can gain preparation by way of actual play.
This would also free up Mission authors so that they can “spread a story out” across 3 days rather than be forced to pile so many narratives into a single day mission along with oft-mentioned “Diana Hand-Holding”, and obvious NPC conversations. It also places fewer limits on what environments represent the limits of playability as players can be “eased in” very large environments as they can gain advantage using sections that were used for Day 1 and/or Day 2.
This system has the potential to impact multiple systems in HITMAN 2 and beyond:
This system alters the way in which Alternate Starting Points are gained. Potentially to be able to start as a Hotel Staff in Bangkok for example, may require smuggling a Kit for said Hotel Staff. An item that would be illegal to carry (just like the Hard Drive in New York) without the use of a briefcase. This means that unlike in the current system where all Alternate Starting Points are gained through Mission Mastery, there will be some very advantageous starting points that are instead gained as a reward for performing Day 1 or Day 2 preparation. I leave it open-ended if ALL Starting Points other than the Default should be locked away in Day 1 and Day 2 objectives, or if some can be gained with Mastery while others can be gained through Day 1 and Day 2 objectives.
47 can procure keycards or other intel items in alternative ways compared to how he would get them on Day 3. For example, a special chip or keycard to access all doors may be attainable (with some difficulty) during Day 2 of Situs Inversus for example as maybe KAI is under maintenance and the chief technician has an all-access card while they are “working out the bugs”. This would then present an alternative to gaining a similar item on Day 3 from Agent Smith at the Morgue, the Morgue being inaccessible on Days 1 or 2. Therefore if 47 has already gained this keycard/chip in Day 2, depending on whether 47 has also altered guest records, 47 may start Day 3 already with the ability to open all doors in Hokkaido as an example.
It alters security arrangements. One implication of the system is that if 47 caused alarms, or attacked NPC’s who would in fact also appear on Day 3, 47’s actions can impact security arrangements, starting routines for Targets, the existence of stronger Henchmen/Bodyguard units, camera placement and others. Victims of attacks may be Enforcers (more suspicious) of 47 particularly depending on what he wore at the time. Targets may even be prepared for Combat. The opposite may occur if 47 completes Days 1 and 2 flawlessly. Security may be more lax than normal on Day 3, Targets are more open, and so on. Players would need a way to asses the odds for the Final Day, which would almost certainly require the return of a Newspaper System similar to the one in HITMAN: BLOOD MONEY which would inform players of how much notoriety they may have incurred over the course of the previous days.
It alters the use of Inventory. With 47’s currently limited Loadout system, players normally have to plan for only one or at most two or so kill strategies. The Multi-Day system allows players to live out a fantasy where they arrange for multiple contingencies, gradually “tightening the noose” around their victim by breaking down obstacles and creating access where there normally would be none.
There is high potential to impact leaderboards. Those doing Day 3 speedruns would most likely have different times compared to other players that have affected their Day 3 due to Day 1 and 2 results. There are a number of ways to address this. One is that the Time and Mission Scores are done “by whole Assassinations” - so an NTK done in Day 1 or 2 would already negate Silent Assassin for the entire assassination, and the time noted at the end of the Assassination is the sum entire for all days taken into account Therefore, top times and potentially top of leaderboard is only attainable by someone doing “Day 3 Only”. That said, a Multi-Day structure is meant to appeal more to players who are not chasing fast times and are instead attracted to the fantasy of being a master at planning and gradual subterfuge. (N.B.: This is the exact way PAYDAY 2’s missions are scored. You are graded and rewarded only on the Final Day by the sum actions you did across all days of the heist.)
This system has precedents, particularly in crime and heist-themed titles like GTA V or PAYDAY 2 where the effects of previous Days in a mission block affect how easy or difficult the Final Day’s main action will be.