Multi-Day Mission Structure and Changes to Mission Mastery

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

3 Likes

Yeah i would hate this. I have no interest in playing day 1 & 2 simply because there are no targets and it’s boring to me, but i do want to be able to pick any starting location i want, because i love routing. Forcing me to every time play day 1/2 just to unlock a starting location would be very tedious and annoying.

But you can’t start with a loadout untill mastery lvl 20. How would you combine that. Also feel this undermines items like lockpicks and electronic scramblers.

And what would the security be like if you simply skipped day 1 and 2, compared to a SA playthrough of day 1 & 2, or a slightly messy day 1 & 2.

The limited starting loadout is an important part to the gameplay, and precisely planning beforehand and then executing is the charm of the game. This idea would just provide extra safety nets incase your initial plan fails, making planning of somewhat less importance, which is a bad thing imo.

I still don’t really see the point of all this. You can already explore or “case” the location right now to gather intel, then make a plan accordingly and restart. Being forced to play through day 1,2 just to set up some specific stuff or to unlock a location would get boring real quick, because again, anything without targets is boring. It deprives day 3 players from options (mainly the starting locations) and thus you’re forcing them to do something that they don’t want to, but they have to no choice if they want to route something starting at one of those unlockable by day 1/2 starting locations.

5 Likes

I’m sorry but I feel like this will just give IO triple the works that will NOT benefit them in the long run at all.

6 Likes

I like the idea of “casing the joint” but I think they could encourage that via other means. I think a lot of us already do that our first go, we walk the map, see the routes people take, see what the targets tend to do, etc. It just doesn’t have a day structure that I think would take a lot of work for IOI with little gameplay benefit. The immersion benefit could be had by you doing it yourself, then restarting. If you think about it all replays with benefit of knowing the map kind of simulate 47 having done that research himself.

2 Likes

You’ve clearly put in a lot of thought on this, but I’m afraid it does nothing for me at all. I think this is a model that could work for a game, just not Hitman.

2 Likes

This is indeed very interesting idea; however. It may be possible and would work only if franchise will take extreme realism course. Will this ever happen? Franchise already has good compromise between realism and gameplay.

Let me explain why it wouldn’t work well in current gameplay

Day 1 and Day 2 have two purposes: discovering new things and setting up things, smuggling or stealing items. Players already discover things in the game by running around, saving and loading - sooner or later player knows about every thing going on on the level, and adding Multi-Day structure wouldn’t change it; therefore only second goal of going through Day 1/2 is left. Setting up things, bringing items to locations to grab them on the next day, or grab items from locations to bring them on the next day via inventory, etc.

And this would be boring and unbalanced. Players would be forced to go through Day 1/2 to have better conditions on the Day 3.

Next thing is notoriety. If player would be compromised in any way - he/she just restarts the day, making notoriety features useless.p

The only way I see multi-day structure to work… Make it possible to load saves only if you exit the level, to start from the moment you ended the game. All other saves/loads impossible, restart only from the beginning of Day 1.

This could be an interesting hardcore action, but a lot less versatile than current game.

1 Like

If this were an optional, story-focused mode you could play on the game, then I’d be all up for it. But like others have said, if the levels were solely like that, it would become tedious to a lot of players as I think most are used to the formula we have going now.

Also, I fully support the return of the newspaper system.

2 Likes

The whole “casing the joint” is a somewhat questionable proposition. You can always do what Codename 47 did and just squeeze multiple missions into a single map. No reason not to have targets in those earlier missions.

I’m not really sure how feasible it would be. It seems like you’d get triple the content at the cost of double workload. The thing is, there are two missions that I feel invalidate this approach: Hokkaido and Mumbai.

Hokkaido is so small, contained, and specific, that it just wouldn’t work for a multiple consecutive missions. And I would hate to lose these smaller missions.

Mumbai on the other hand seems like a perfect candidate for a new set-up: it is huge and sprawling. But it actually managed to pack all of its content into a single mission so neatly that there’s no need to have separate missions that focus on the tower or train yard separately.

2 Likes

Mumbai is interesting because unlike Sapienza and Santa Fortuna I feel like every part of it is both used AND interconnected.

Santa Fortuna feels like three maps with each having their own target but put all together, like if the original Hitman 2’s multiple levels in one area were smashed together. Sapienza originally felt like one level, the mansion and lab, with a bunch of barely used extra stuff around it.

Mumbai though… it’s huge, every section has a purpose, AND they feel connected and like one big map. It’s pretty impressive, and a big reason that map is so highly rated IMO.

2 Likes

This is an awful idea. Never ever do that please.

Multiday essentially means splitting up a great scenario into multiple chore tasks without a feeling of accomplishment.

Did you ever play Payday 2 and their multi day heists?

1 Like

To make it interesting would require that the Day 1 and 2 “slices” are true map variants. Effectively like mini-versions of how IOI altered sections of Sapienza for “The Icon”. So it wouldn’t be a new assassination, but it would involve, strictly speaking “new maps”, new disguises, some routing differences.

Admittedly the other way is to design the objectives (which you must discover) as puzzles in themselves not unlike actual Targets. Secure lockboxes, objects on persons who must not be harmed. Right now IOI is sort of “forced” into making these as additional objectives to what should be “just an assassination”. The idea is that IOI will be free to do these objectives now as full-on Pre-Assassination Days.

This is also the reason why a lot of people here feel this is something of a lateral change. In this way that is true.

This is why the title of the thread includes the phrase “Changes to Mission Mastery”. There is no doubt that the Mastery 20 requirement rule for Hokkaido will be bent to accommodate the system.

As for the use of Scramblers there can be more uses for them if IOI “take up the free space” afforded by the multi-day structure. New world objects in Day 1, 2, and differences in 3 could make Scramblers more or less useful depending on how IOI populate the maps.

IOI would have to design at least 3 variants of the Day 3 mission. A default that functions pretty much as “stock HITMAN Professional version” of the mission, and then a “Security Low” and “Security High” version of the mission.

This would basically take over the current position of “Casual” and “Master” versions of the missions, but again IOI would be free to make larger material changes to the missions rather than just “more cameras/less cameras, more guards/less guards”. The thing about the current setup is IOI wouldn’t setup a military checkpoint on “Master” difficulty because it’s too far out in-context. But if the context were changed such that “there are known breaches days prior” then larger changes are justified in-world.

There could be frisk zones where there weren’t any. Metal detectors where there shouldn’t be any and players won’t feel it’s ridiculous because it would be of their own making.

Oh and the Day 3 would also change if there was a chained Mission Story. For example, if 47 discovers the Day 2 Mission Story that lands the car bomber in custody in Miami Day 3 and so on. Or maybe it’s the opposite? The Day 3 default is the bomber is in custody. The Variant you can setup is he evades custody.

This is true. We all do this sort of “casing” on our own already. The suggestion only would start to make sense if one thinks of Day 1 and Day 2 as “mini-The Icon” variants and with Dino Bosco and Targets replaced with safes, “baskets” (places to plant other objects) and so on.

I believe that it is possible to actually formulate Day 1 and Day 2 such that they can still feel like you are “going after Targets” just that the Targets no longer take on the form of people to kill.

“Restarting a Day” can be solved simply by implementing the Assassination Structure as identical to the Escalation Structure - the structure contains 3 variants of a mission with different restrictions, but with the difference that the Assassination Structure actually uses 3 “different” maps on Day 1, 2, and 3 and that it won’t allow you to repeat completed Day 1 or 2 unless you finish Day 3 . Each of the 3 Days can be started individually but similar to Escalations, Days 1 and 2 do not allow saves (granted the smaller size locations for them to balance that out). If you Abandon the Assassination you abandon all 3 days.

Because Day 1 and 2 are still “HITMAN Missions” after all, then your statement about “sooner or later everyone knows everything” still applies. The value players perceive in this structure is more about whether the gameplay can actually be expanded and if IOI maybe implement a rewards/market system that increases pay-offs for having done Day 1 and 2 so that Day 3’s payoff is very high.

For example, the Hard Disks objective in New York was implemented in a certain way so that it could be a “side show” to the main show of killing Athena Savalas. But imagine if the hard disks were an objective of a different day, they would be a “main show” in themselves and IOI could then design a full mission around them. It can be “twice as busy” because Mission Stories and opportunities can be “about the hard disks” rather than splitting that capacity right now between hard disks and Savalas.

Players won’t accuse IOI that they have forgotten about making assassinations because “You still assassinate someone eventually in this (3 Day) Mission, just not on this day.” So as Mission Authors and Mission Designers you can apply yourselves 100% to this idea of the hard disks for Day 1 or 2 and the assassination of Athena Savalas on Day 3 can be made more elaborate because you can now occupy game time space that in the old structure would be occupied by the hard disks objective. To wit, it might be possible for Savalas and/or Perez in Day 3 to meet in the vault under a new Mission Story or Opportunity where an investigation is ongoing about the stolen hard drive if the Vault Hard Drive was the item stolen on Day 2. Such expansion of the gameplay can only happen if 47 can dictate if the vault was robbed on a previous day.

It also follows that the hard disks may contain something that again alters something in Day 3. Mateo’s password or some other key item that can again be used in another way. The capacity of Mission design increases exponentially even without having to physically increase the scale of the maps. It also adds to the illusion that you are “doing something” and that “it matters immediately”. Right now we just pull the hard disks and carry it the way gridiron football players carry a football to the endzone. So in that way there can be changes.

A multi-day structure can actually give HITMAN more “capacity” for gameplay. If you pile everything I mentioned into just a single day/single mission then the mission could very well become 4 hours long with no break between.

The other thing is IOI can go beyond “just a few purposes” for Day 1 and 2. In another discussion for example, I suggest that if this structure were applied to Miami you can make it that events of previous days can determine if the would-be car bomber is in custody in Day 3. Right now if there was more than one idea about how this story was supposed to run IOI have to choose one and forget the others. Assuming manpower is there, with a multi-day structure IOI can be more expansive and make this car bomber story deeper and with more possibilities.

IOI already do this kind of work. They did it when they turned “World of Tomorrow” into “The Icon” and when they chain missions together as Escalations and when they formulate Casual, Professional, and Master configurations of Missions.

Only cooperatively. Some multiday heists are OK. Most feel like a chore unless you are with a human player team.

Otherwise I also mainly do just single day heists so I understand what the Nays are saying here. :slight_smile:

I didn’t play Payday 2 for quite some time, so maybe this was improved since (2015?). Back when it was new, multi day heists meant you did short and very limited levels until finally the “big” heist could be played, which was still a very limited scenario. Compare that to the single day heists they introduced later, e.g. big bank, which was a one day heist with multiple tasks. The one day structure was way more entertaining to play imo. The same applies to Hitman for me, the freedom of approach and exploration would suffer from the split into smaller levels.
Hitman isn’t exactly hard even on Master, so I see no need for and no benefit from a pre-mission that results in slightly less security or an additional item.

1 Like

Fair point. I also think Overkill resorted to multi day heists because their engine was a bit poor at the time. At last count PAYDAY 2 maps sizes are only comparable to something from the earlier Hitman titles.

Stuff like Beneath The Mountain feels suitably large and just a single day mission too. But I believe that came much later.

The few multi-day heists though I found somewhat intriguing were Framing Frame, Election Day, and to some extent Goat Simulator because they played out a whole story and had gameplay that worked between the days. That’s when I started thinking how interesting it might be to use that structure and expand on the stories and gameplay in HITMAN missions.

I want to clarify though that what I suggested wasn’t a copy of PAYDAY 2 where the split off sections disappear in your rearview mirror as you pass the Days. Rather, that you saw that map slice progress to what it appears on Day 3 in its finished form as part of the Final Day map.

So in that way I wasn’t purely thinking of subdividing Single Day missions down, but using two past Day missions to ADD on top of (beneath?) the Single Day mission but keep them as one Assassination.

I would like to play devil’s advocate for a second and try to imagine some of the positive aspects of this approach to design. Because that I think that there are two particular things this can potentially achieve.

The first one is a simple one and something IO been struggling with for a long time and that is squeezing more content out of those magnificent maps. They already use elusive targets and bonus missions to do that. So cramming multiple missions into a single large location might be more efficient. I don’t think anyone would have complained if Sapienza came out with the Author and Landslide included right off the bat. Some of the locations already feel more like tiny open-world sandboxes rather than individual levels in a stealth action game.

The second one is a bit trickier. Because it involves consequences that reach beyond single mission. Right now all missions are compartmentalized and the only constant between them is that your targets are always dead by the end. There is no reason to play Hitman sequentially, especially since it went episodic.

I’d imagine that most Hitman fans prefer this modular experience where you just play missions in whatever order you want. And moving away from that might be detrimental. But since I’m playing devil’s advocate here, there might be some upsides. The biggest one that I see is that it would allow for greater complexity and flexibility. There is only so much you can do with a design of a single mission, and sometimes you have to put poor Dr. Lafayette in time vortex because his visit to Caruso is too disruptive for the rest of the mission. But when you have several interconnected missions you might have more leeway.

This set-up would fundamentally change the way Hitman is designed and played. Locations would be more like hubs that house several missions. And those missions would be played more like mini-campaigns. And the game would be more… Deus Ex-y. And now that I typed It all out I just realized that it might not be that good of a Hitman game but it would be a KILLER Bond game if IO is ever allowed to do one.

Sapienza really needed the bonus missions because the church area was barely used and the town/city hall area wasn’t used at all. The bonus missions made the map complete, basically. The bigger maps in season two don’t really have the same problem. Santa Fortuna, Mumbai… these maps are completely used, with every area having a purpose and reason. You could still argue they are three classic Hitman missions in one to some extent, but the maps themselves aren’t crying out for more use like Sapienza was (or Marrakesh’s market area).

Not that I would be against more bonus missions of course, I’d love to see some. I’d even pay for them. I just don’t think season 2’s maps cry out for them like some of season 1’s did.

So rather than just additional objectives. A Day 1 and 2 could include Secondary Targets, turning them into almost bonafide bonus missions?

Like say… Dalia’s assistant in The Showstopper. You have the option to kill him maybe in an earlier Day… But you are told the contract is pulled by Day 3 if you didn’t do it then. Whoever puts the contract up maybe decides it’s too risky to have too many people disappear in a single day… or… it was actually Viktor who wanted the assistant gone and he gets cold feet once the Sanguine show is too close to opening.

It is of course easier to kill Dalia without her assistant, whose routine may be different on Day 1 and 2 (he’s supervising preparations for the auction for example). Depending on how he dies (ie: gunned down in broad daylight and his body is found)… Dalia may have more security, even if the assistant is gone, which is to indicate that 47 has completed a minor contract to weaken IAGO but that it backfires against the main contract to get rid of Dalia and Viktor.

But if he’s killed in an Accident or has just mysteriously disappeared. Dalia instead wonders where he is on Day 3 or assumes he’s gone on leave, or says “pity about the accident. He was a good assistant” or something. She may even suspect Viktor got rid of him somehow to weaken her position as he was doing something behind her back in his business with the Shadow Client.

There probably should be a Restriction in place about “All Bodies Must be Hidden unless killed in an Accident” to avoid an loss of SA/Additional Notoriety post-Mission Exit - just like in an Escalation or in Contracts Mode. The twist being this will affect Day 3.

So that makes the Day 1 or 2 play out more like a Bonus Mission with an actual target… that impacts Day 3…If you choose not to play the Day where you could have gotten rid of Dalia’s assistant… then he tags along with her as in the present mission…Interesting…

That is true, H2 is much better in terms of utilizing maps. I was coming at this problem from IOs perspective. In some ways they always struggled with this problem. Big elaborate sandboxes are hard and expensive to make, so you want to get as much mileage out of it as possible. Season 1 already cut down on number of maps in favor of greater scope and extra room for additional content.

Maybe there are some advantages to the way Sapienza was designed. It is loser than other maps and thus it can’t effectively use all of its space in a single mission. But it is also has the most content to offer.

1 Like

I coming from a more mechanical perspective here. Assassinations are uniquely flexible objectives, so including targets in every instance of the map will make those Day 1 runs less of a be boring chore. But what you’re essentially is doing is cramming multiple different missions into a single location for the sake of reusing assets and then coming up with narrative justification for this whole set up.

And maybe you can add some variability on top of that by including optional objectives into earlier missions that can add slight modifications to later ones. But this is a difficult part because you can get quickly overrun by increasing complexity.

Edit: there might be one more argument in favor of a multi-day structure. The one sentiment that was often repeated in regards to Mumbai was that “it wasn’t good at first”. The map is great, but it is too overwhelming early on. If IO plans on doing more locations with similar scope and scale, then maybe compartmentalizing them and easing players in with more contained early missions wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

1 Like

Yeah I think it’s really neat to have a big map like that with 4 missions showing off different aspects of it. That kind of relates to the OP actually. Different times of day, different events happening at the location… these are all aspects of as multi-day mission like he proposes. I wonder if he’d be happy with simply more of that, maps designed for multiple missions at different times/events.