On Clockwork and Triggers Going Forward

So… when HITMAN 2016 was released there was a lot (and I mean A LOT) of discussion about triggers.I have brought it up in different ways ever since, but I think the time has come for a bigger discussion again.

I’ll run through some definitions ”quickly” before going into what I want to see in the future:


A trigger is simply a player based action that starts the execution of some kind of script within the mission.

An example of a trigger is waking up the P.I. in Sapienza. Waking him up starts him on his route to meet with De Santis.

Natural Triggers

The P.I. example is something I call a Natural Trigger, because it makes sense within the context of the mission.

Other good examples of Natural Triggers can be found in Mumbai, with the Kashmirian storyline.

Placing the Laundry Documents here will cause the foreman to go meet with Vanya Shah. Within the context of the mission this makes perfect sense.

Proximity Triggers

Another type of trigger is Proximity Triggers. Here, the mere act of being close enough (and sometimes first being close enough, and then moving away again) to something will execute a script. As opposed to Natural Triggers this almost always makes no sense within the context of the mission.

Setting up the meeting between the Constant and Sophia Washington could’ve been a good idea for a sniper kill, but unless you’re close enough they never start talking. After a long while the script just terminates and they head down together. You can cheese it with a distraction shot or two, but the scenario where Sophia is left alone on the balcony never happens.

These two guards only start talking when 47 is close enough to hear them. When their conversation is done they move to a secondary location. If you never get close enough they never move.

The purpose of Proximity Triggers is almost certainly to make sure players don’t miss certain events/information. The devs have spent a lot of time creating complex scenarios they want the players to experience. One of the solutions is proximity triggers.

Clockwork Events

Since I have defined triggers to be player based, whenever something happens naturally in the world without player interference needed, this is a Clockwork Event.

The church bell will chime 10 minutes in to ”The Author” (unless you destroy it), which leads to a meeting. A clockwork event indeed.

With definitions out of the way, let’s talk about what should be done with triggers going forward…

Mission Stories & Proximity Triggers

As I don’t believe IO will ever entirely remove Proximity Triggers I propose the following, main suggestion of this thread:

Use proximity triggers for the scripts related to Mission Stories if and only if Mission Story Guidance is turned on. With it off, scripts that don’t have Natural Triggers are executed as Clockwork Events.

Once a player has had the designed experiences, they can turn off Mission Stories, and they’ll still be in the game. They’ll be more easily missable, but that’s OK, because the player has had the experiences.

This might risk making score boards weird, with people turning guides on and off mid playthrough to optimize runs, so if you think this is a problem you could simply add a +20000 point bonus for playing without mission stories, to make sure switching on and off has no payoff in points.

Combine Clockwork Events with Natural Triggers

Another suggestion is simply to combine Clockwork Events with Natural Triggers. In this solution a lot of things happen by themselves eventually , but if you want to speed them up, you can use Natural Triggers. There’s a risk that a player might miss some events, but in my opinion that is OK. especially if the Mission Story solution is implemented.
This already exists for certain events, like the race in Miami (thanks @Urben) but could be expanded upon and used more often.

Any thoughts?


I’ve thought numerous times that the sound of the bell should wake up the PI.

The issue with proximity triggers is that they are not obvious how they work. People wonder why things happened the last time while they don’t at the second time. But Hitman should be a game of transparent determinism.

Introducing another dependency of it, like having Mission Story Guidance activated, just further obscures the whole thing. So I really hope they won’t do that.

Ideally, they scrap that entirely.

As you pointed out with The Author, they do that already. And if you look hard enough I am sure you find plenty other examples, like the end of the race in Miami. :wink:


You sum up my overall thoughts on triggers very well, I have never been a fan of proximity triggers. Yet I have not taken the time truly reflect on how it could be done differently. The combination of Clockwork events and Natural triggers seems like a more dynamic approach to the world we as player inhabits. I have often found the proximity trigger to feel artificial and somewhat cheesy, removing some of the immersion.

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I understand your concern, and agree that it would be ideal to scrap proximity triggers (if that’s what you meant), but I think it would be quite easy to add this and add transparency. At this point noone is even told that Mission Story events are generally proximity triggered… it’s something you have to learn on your own.

When chosing “Mission Story Guidance: Full” I would assume you’d get an explanation. Something like:

“The world revolves around you. Key events now only trigger if you are close enough to observe and take part in them, making mission stories easier to follow. Recommended for new players.”

…and if you chose “Mission Story Guidance: Off”

"Everyone is on their own schedule independent of you. Key events happen like clockwork, and opportunities might pass you by if you aren’t fast enough. Mission stories are easier to miss, but opportunities to be creative open up in return. Recommended for experienced player. "

Considering I simply don’t believe IO will ever get rid of proximity triggers, I feel this is the best way for seasoned players to get rid of them (turn guidance off).

Maybe I was a bit unclear (will edit), but I meant that this should be expanded upon and used to a greater degree.


I wish Isle of Sgail and Mendoza had more Natural Triggers for their better scripted kills.

I love it. It’s basically what we get with the Author. As you said, 10 min but the player can alter it. If you destroy the bell then the meeting won’t happen at all, or if your ring the bell the meeting will happen before the 10 min timer.

More like this would be welcomed (=

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