Playing Hitman the Wrong Way

Today, I demonstrated Hitman to my elderly mother by playing through ‘Landslide’. She was struck by the beauty and detail in Sapienza, enjoyed the distractions and puzzle elements, but couldn’t help but dislike the fact that 47 is obliged to do a bit of killing in what would otherwise be a pleasant jaunt along the Amalfi Coast. The entire thing reminded her of The Sims.

In a sense, she has a point, and very technically the game can be played the way she wants it to be, so long as you are happy to not exit a mission! Does anyone else enjoy visiting locations just to bask in the atsmosphere? Secondly, as a hypothetical question, could the game be as good if the focus were on something other than killing, such as collecting evidence of some kind?

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There’s been objectives that isn’t required to kill before. Just a few examples:

-Secure the bomb in traditions of the trade.

-Destroy the virus in Sapienza.

-Incapacitate the reporter and take a pic in Dubai.

-Escaping in general.

I think an entire mission without a target can work, and honestly I think it’d be refreshing.

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Missions without targets were the fan bases chief complaint with absolution. Going back to H2SA there were a couple I didn’t mind. Graveyard shift immediately comes to mind, but it was one of three levels in the same building and the other two had targets.

Actually that might become the best level if a H2SA remake ever occurred. I imagine that today all 3 levels would be combined into one (assuming they could get elevators to work that is).

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I think one of the problems with non-target objectives is it’s often difficult to have multiple ways of completing the task. Collecting the evidence in Whittleton Creek is extra busywork which, in my opinion, hinders replayability. Similarly, destroying the virus in Sapienza is widely regarded as quite boring after the first few playthroughs of the mission.

The benefit of a human target is the huge range of possibilities, both in the methods 47 can use and in the target’s own behaviour. They are able to move around the location and interact with other characters, creating endless opportunities for fresh experiences. This is why assassinations hold so much greater appeal for me, compared with other objectives.

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The Lust DLC is a good example of a way that no-target missions can be great. While there are optional kills you can do at the end of this one, you can complete the entire mission without killing anyone. It can even be done without knocking anyone out.

The randomized clue locations make this much more of a puzzle than most other missions and it’s replayable for a good while.

If they had made Whittleton Creek a bit more random like Lust is, I think it would get a lot less complaint.

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Yes, I had a similar experience, my parents was amazed as it looked real time movie - the graphics were so nice and real and they had the same question.

Firstly all other games apart from Hitman (Call of Duty, Assassin Creed, Splinter Cell and almost all the games in the world) does require killing, guns etc.

What is unique about Hitman is

  1. Agent 47 kills only the bad guys, that’s why your score reduces if there is a non-target kill even if its is the bad guy’s henchman.
  2. Sometimes due to politics and money, many bad guys escape with their wrong doings - for them agent 47 is required - I feel he is an underrated super hero who makes the world a better place.

With Hitman, you learn a lot of patience and not just kill around with guns.

Lets see how IOI’s 007 James Bond games comes up.

On the contrary, I feel like this would make Whittleton Creek truly unplayable.

Collecting the evidence is busywork you have to complete before you can exit the mission. You can decide which three pieces of evidence to gather, but aside from that nothing changes from one playthrough to another. This works against replayability.

Randomization would serve only to make this busywork even more painful in repeat playthroughs. There’s nothing interesting about having to gather the same evidence again.

Extra time spent running around looking for some randomly spawning button prompt you’ve already pressed a dozen times before would be a surefire way to make me never play Whittleton Creek ever again.

Well to each their own I guess. I doubt it would have been implemented that way in any case. The way that they did the clues in Lust isn’t “randomly spawning button prompts”. It’s a set of clues that are in relatively fixed places that just randomize which ones are active for your specific play through. There are 12 possible locations for the 6 clues and the randomization is in which of the 12 are spawned.

If Whittleton Creek was similar (just pick 3 of the 9 or so total clues at random and make those the active ones) it would be, at least, not as unreplayable.

There are players, and maybe you are one, I don’t know, who think that the clue gathering part should be optional (like exiting from the bunker in Colorado) and never required. I suspect that no amount of changes besides outright removing that part would satisfy those players.

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Hitman has a story and the story drives the game. Because of this, there are going to be a levels that don’t perfectly follow the take out x number of target in a sandbox methodology.

Sapienza - destroy virus
Colorado - exit through bunker
Hokkaido - no loadout
Night Marrakesh - obtain plans
PZ Sapienza - obtain virus
PZ Colorado - 47 can’t move from his position
PZ Hokkaido - the virus creates more targets
New Zealand - must break into empty house
Mumbai - one target must be unmasked
Vermont - clues
Sgail - kidnap the constant
New York - steal the data
England - obtain the file
Germany - unmask targets; you pick 5 of the 11
China - data core deletion/leak
Romania - super linear design so you must traverse the whole train in order to reach the constant

So that’s 16 out of 29* levels or 55%. We sometimes dont mind the extra stuff (PZ Sapienza) and sometimes we do (Vermont) but it’s there alot. Sometimes the extra stuff goes away (Hokkaido, Colorado) but most often it doesn’t. There are examples of this in older games too. ToTT is widely regarded as a favourite of the first games and it has a side objective no one complains about.

*I didn’t count the special assignments

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Yeah, pretty much. This is something I find Hitman 3 does well with the initial starting points being story focused. Then other starting points unlock which allow you to skip the preamble in Berlin or make destroying the ICA files optional in Chongqing. I think that’s a great way to go about this.

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All this does is necessitate more time spent running around the map. Often you would head for evidence which did not spawn. This would likely happen multiple times per playthrough.

And the payoff? As I said earlier, it’s ultimately just pressing the same button prompt you’ve done many times before. Nothing new or interesting is happening. The randomness just makes it take longer.

Not if they did the same blue target highlight they do for the safes. You’d always know exactly which ones were active. It would negatively impact speed runners though. You’d only be able to get the best times for one or two possible evidence combinations I’d think.

In any case, it’s a moot point as the chances of IOI modifying that level now are probably pretty close to zero anyway.

As somebody who keeps guidence and HUD elements to a minimum, I would hope such markers would not be visible to me. Hence the problem with randomness remains.

But even with markers telling you exactly where you need to go - how does any of this become fun? You are still just running to a marker and pressing a button prompt.

This was a point I almost mentioned earlier. The randomness does not make collecting evidence any more interesting for regular players. It would only have a negative impact on speedrunners.

Isn’t this just a hypothetical chat about different ways of presenting objectives? I never thought we were seriously talking about changing WoA. It’s more about the direction future games could take.

I think the best approach that IOI could/should take for future levels is just to make any non-kill objectives optional in all future plays of each level. Whether those objectives are randomized or not would be immaterial at that point as they could be skipped if the player preferred.

I would prefer a level like Whittleton Creek to have the clue objectives but allow exiting without them if I don’t feel like doing it. Even a toggle on the level start for Optional Objectives On/Off would be fine for a future implementation.

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Yep, as I said before, I think H3 does a pretty good job of this via Starting Points.

IO did change Colorado after tons of player groaning. I think Vermont is unlikely to change at this point, but never say never :joy:

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You know how in the Maldives if you start in the shark hut 47 is magically given the shark hut key a second or two into the level?

Just do it that way. Make a new start point that is called “no evidence” and have it be directly next to the actual default start place and when you load from there 47 is just gifted the evidence pieces are the start. It’s not perfect but it’s a quick trigger box fix.

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It’s called “Hitman” not “Collectman”. Of course it’s fun to have some other goals in a level. But the main part is executing “the hit”. Don’t get me wrong. I really love to just walk around for hours in certain levels. Without doing anything in particular.

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This reminds me of Tony Hawk pro skater. I imagined an entire Hitman game where instead of targets there are just various tasks to complete…I guess we already have a similar system in play already with challenges but they are optional.

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Totally agree, but with this trilogy, the well-known recipe of a murder-puzzle game reached an obvious peak of potential. So many ways to reach a target, doing it your ways or in the traditional built up with directions for intrigues, open windows - literally and not literally, and an endless possibility for replays. I could overlook all this if it wasn’t set up in clever and gorgeously built levels. But i could spend hours looking at the waves in New Zealand…

Non-kill missions should be the future of Hitman, so many opportunities lie here! Gathering intel, destroying a virus, etc., such “smaller” mission should be inserted for the benefit of a more spectacular kill mission - and thus surprise the player for the hidden reason why to achieve such level for example.

The trilogy has a crazy amount of backstories within the story, i mean all the dialogues, subtexts, portraits, they are meant to create an atmosphere.@schatenjager has a point, why not make a non-kill option on every mission, or double the nature of a level with a non-kill/ kill target aspect. Possibilities are endless at this point.

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