Pros and Cons of Humanizing 47's targets

and they don’t want their best employee to gain a distaste for his work

The man has seen some horrid stuff and the Agency doesn’t want him to act on any righteous instincts (Meat King’s Party says hello). I believe in the much more down-to-earth explanation, that the best reason named in the thread for 47 mainly killing bad guys is that killing the good guys would turn ICA into a terrorist clique wanted by some governments (which they want on their side) and that’s obviously undesirable. He doesn’t sound like the type who would get distaste for his work, or at least not after his realization at the conclusion of Hitman 2.

Regardless of what you feel about Absolution’s contributions to his
character, it’s not really possible to argue for him as a wholly amoral
person after that story.

Absolution also characterizes ICA as ready to burn down an American town and execute its inhabitants, something very unusual for an organization that’s supposed to care for its PR - true, it’s because Travis is a complete idiot, but nevertheless. If the rating system is the closest thing we have to what 47 considers a perfect job, as you said, then Absolution says it’s perfectly okay for a perfect, Silent Assassin to murder somebody in cold blood in front of a legion of bystanders while not even bothering to hide one’s identity, with the fight possibly being recorded or some keen spectators being in the audience, or just the possibility of the real Patriot waking up in the dumpster with no recollection to the fight.

47 randomly stops being clever altogether on at least two different occasions in Absolution, almost costing him his life (if it weren’t for the villains picking up the ball and being, somehow, even dumber). I’m perfectly willing to accept 47 has flaws, but Absolution enables me to believe that 47 is prone to tripping on the most plain-sight traps possible and allowing for major oversights.

Absolution still remains Hitman canon, but it’s still succumbing to the same kind of inconsistent writing as every other game in the series, although the other games didn’t do that so blatantly. The only thing moral about him in either H2 or H5, to me, is that someone he’s grown to trust and become loyal to has been endangered – but even evil people are free to have love interests and friends, so it seems flawed to me to think that 47 really does get bothered that much by moral stuff on a daily basis. You’re free to save both Vittorio and Victoria by eliminating countless innocent people on the way (Absolution specifically features stupid areas where everybody is a “freebie” and if you don’t feel like sneaking around, the game doesn’t punish you for wanton murder by turning off the rating for a segment) and overall causing disarray.

He’s goal-minded. His goal is to do whatever is asked from him in a given task, protect himself and whoever he is loyal to. Rest is fair game.

A big thing about Absolution was that what he’d do for money did have limits.

He still shoots Diana before asking any questions or figuring out her motives, which tells me he wasn’t initially bothered enough, even though Diana has saved his life on no less than two occasions. He only turns on Travis upon learning that Travis is a massive dumb double-crossing (something he hates) creep (Never trust anyone and rely on your instincts), from that letter Diana wrote in advance. I think even the supplementary Hitman literature (Hitman: Damnation) suggests 47 recognizes that Travis isn’t a trustworthy individual or a good mission handler.

My opinion is that 47 isn’t ever about morals, he’s about loyalty and mutual deals.

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I’m not saying that vile, horrible targets would give him a distaste for his work, I’m saying the opposite. That he WANTS those jobs, because they give him a justification. Smothering a baby, for example, would not. And I’m not saying that the Agency shares his scruples, but that they know what his standards are and what he won’t do, even if he says he’ll do anything. They’d probably have a very complex psych profile on someone like that.

If money was all that mattered, the fact that Diana got double-crossed also wouldn’t have mattered to him. It literally shows that he abandoned a hit in-progress because he decided it wasn’t justified. He needs justification.

As far as the wrestling kill in absolution, the fight in the arena was literally supposed to be to the death, which is why no-one thought twice about it. As for removing his mask, yes, that didn’t seem totally smart, but it wasn’t a televised thing and the folks there would probably not want to record it on their phones since it was a super illegal event. Still, removing the mask even for a moment was risky, but I don’t really consider it the most nonsensical thing in the series. Obviously the patriot would wake up, but the silent assassin rating has never been about leaving zero physical evidence of what happened, its about not letting that evidence be found out til you’re long gone. It’s not as if the folks you stuffed in dumpsters weren’t found later in Blood Money, but that never counted against your rating there.

But anyways, I don’t see how that gripe is relevant to what I was actually saying. The morality judgement displayed by the rating system in that case is pretty clear: he killed only his target and escaped undetected.

And it could easily be said that if someone else did it - more innocents would be sacrificed. It could also be speculated that more innocents die if bad people don’t get bumped off (thus avoiding gang wars, etc). But 47 doesn’t talk about his reasons for continuing his line of work after Silent Assassin other than “it’s what he does” so we don’t know - which is good because it keeps him interesting.

Then we stop with the speculating about this idea the ICA is a secret hero organization just so we can argue why it’s not? Can we? Finally? You do not have to be a hero to get paid to kill bad people.

This is literally not possible - everyone has morals, just they have different morals. 47’s morals value things like loyalty, not inhumanely experimenting on artificially created people, and more we haven’t discovered or explored yet. His moral, like others will probably (hopefully) change over time to - this is how characterization works.

To propose simply eliminating large parts of humanity doesn’t make characters particularly cool or interesting - which is why characters like Golgo 13 who appear to be devoid of such aspects get little character moments where they show they are not. Golgo 13 as a man with no feelings or fear is boring, Golgo 13 as a man with fear and feelings but also abnormally high courage and conviction combined with unusual morality is interesting and is why the Manga has been going on literally since forever.

Another example for you - Vincent from Collateral. Initially shown to be a well oiled killing machine, he becomes interesting in the story due to his interactions with Max and Max’s insights into him. Vincent seems to have no morals regarding killing innocent people and claims there’s no such things as right and wrong - but he also takes a risk by forcing Max to stand up to his asshole boss and by keeping Max on as his driver until Max have enough revelations about him:

This is humanizing and building characters, it’s what makes them interesting and gets people invested in them. 47 has had fairly inconsistent characterization due to a number of reasons, but there really no benefit to making pointless statements like “isn’t ever about morals”. That’s advocating more lazy and bad writing which will get us more characters like Skurky, Dexter, etc

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I totally agree. “No morals” doesn’t make any sense: the absence of a moral is in itself an opposing moral. And Hitman really needs to start concretely addressing what 47’s are, what he thinks of what he’s doing. Silent Assassin barely spent any time on this, but the time it did spend is what made it the most interesting story in the series, in my opinion. 47 starts and ends that game in very interesting places.

The first two hitman games in general had a much stronger focus on an actual character arc, whereas all the future games use 47 more like a static, enigmatic figure. And it’s really hard to connect with a character like that. It feels more like they’re a vehicle for the player than their own person. Which would be fine if the games didn’t have any plot, but they do. And it’s usually plot that the main character is utterly unfazed and unchanged by. (Blood Money, Contracts, Absolution)

It should be telling that people have latched onto modern superhero movies where the hero goes through an arc and ends up a different person by the end. If people don’t want ACTUAL superheros to be static and unchanged by their stories, you could imagine they’d want even more character development in stories about more grounded individuals.


Isnt the whole reason for Absolutions writing exactly BECAUSE they tried to portray him as a moralistic defender of justice? I mean the entire thing was 47 took the missions personally this time around in Absolution

Have a look at the behind the scenes materials Hitman Absolution’s writing was a mess because they tried to throw a shit ton of concepts together without working out how to combine or prioritize them until various stages of development. The Angry Man, The Homeless Hitman, Alcoholic, Avenger (with a cute tattoo), etc. None of these were attempts to write him as a hero as to grab a concept and make 47’s new “identity”.

They didn’t try to make him a defender of justice, they wanted him to be a lone gun vigilante and to suffer lots of stuff on his quest for vengeance and that’s fine but it’s not very… Hitman.

So instead of focusing on the “what is a great 47 story?” and “what is a great 47 villain” we got characters who consist of a bunch of concepts that don’t quite work and never get explored - so make a lot of nonsensical decisions because of this. Dexter rents the penthouse of a shithouse hotel… in the same city as his multi-million dollar penthouse apartment. Dom is both a nobody psycho snuff film maker and apparently a personal friend of Dexter and Wade’s. Lenny lives in Hope where he can be a “big man” due to his father but also lives in a room in the apartment.

This idea that people will like a concept, so let’s just bash out the concept and move on is what leads to terrible characters and contradictory writing. Concepts like “angry drunk”, “ammoral hitman” and “ruthless bastard” are only interesting if explored in a way that is interesting. Or to quote a bad stereotype from Codename 47: “It is not way that can make man great, but man who can make way great.”


I think changing 47’s identity itself is a big mess,47 is already nice,trying to make him better with changing the whole of his “identity” will just make him a million times worse.we can have the best Agent 47 by adding his behaviors from Codename 47,Silent Assassin,Contracts and Blood Money to some new plots and situations.which will make him react differently,and it will show us some new corners of the same guy’s personality,instead of showing us an entirely new character who suddenly shows up.

In other words,47 should not be necessarily changed,but the plots,events,situations and targets that he gets involved with,changing 47 from calm and cold blooded to angry man or something is too extreme…in my opinion.

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His general style doesn’t have to change if he changes on a more personal level. You can have a big realization about yourself but still be recognizable as the same person, still use similar methods.

this is exactly what was so frustrating about Absolution. They had so many ideas, many of them which could have been interesting, but they just couldn’t decide what to focus on, and they didn’t match them well enough to 47.

I personally found myself really engaged by some of the settings and characters and moments, but the story never took that anywhere, because there wasn’t a plan for how these things connected and built off each other. Instead of starting with the 47 we know and showing how he changes into someone suited for the story and characters, or even starting with a changed 47 and referencing back to how he got there, they just created a “new normal” and thrust him through these disconnected challenges and experiences. The concept of contract killing was the conceit for that in previous games, but even though they abandoned it, seems they wanted to basically do the same thing. At which point you have to ask yourself: “are we actually doing what we want to do, and what’s best for the game? Why are we trying to go in this new narrative direction if we won’t make the sacrifices and changes necessary to justify it?”

The original “Homeless Hitman” concept sounded like a really interesting take, not on going away from the concepts of Hitman, but in changing the context dramatically. It seemed like it was flipping the usual script of social stealth: instead of being the fancy guy in the suit, you were the bum on the street that everyone both ignores and tries to keep out of their way. There was potential there for things that would have usually been easy, like walking into a restaurant, to become challenges. And for hiding in plain sight to become easier, in other scenarios.

In that case, they were actually talking about making the mechanics fit the themes, and that’s one of the most important things in game storytelling. And if you don’t want to change the mechanics, for whatever reason, then you can’t significantly alter the theme. Absolution wants to be a game about an immaculately dressed hitman at the top of his game, but its themes want it to be about an underdog.


I have always liked the humanised targets. I also would like to see some targets that are not really bad guys. Maybe a union leader who stands to cost a corporation lots of money if he organises a workforce, the CEO who is attempting to bust a union (your hired by the union leader), maybe both in sequential levels lol, or a witness to a crime. 47 is supposed be neutral. As for all the talk about what type of targets warrant 47… It doesn’t need to be a super untouchable person for someone to hire 47, they just need to have the purse for it. If I recall its 300,000 in gold right?

Not according to the games.

It’s varied from hit to hit. But you don’t get rich spending $300,000 to kill a union boss when you could hire a local thug to do it for $5,000.

In the games he is not neutral, we agree on that. Perhaps I meant to say ICA is supposed to be neutral. If we get 47 in his prime and we get globetrotting then maybe we will get a couple different kinds of targets, or a couple of missions that aren’t part of a massive story line about good and evil. 47 had to become a legend some how right?

The other part is exactly what I said earlier. Sure you could hire a thug for 5,000 but you don’t want to have any mistakes and you don’t want to have it be linked back to you. That’s why you need the best. We’re not going after “Tommy” who runs the local pipe fitters here, we are talking about a massive labkur leader who runs the CWA or the teamsters. Those guys have hundreds of thousands of workers under them and smooze with senators to try and out manuever big companies like GE and Ford

Assume your an auto maker and you need a strike to not happen. The last thing you need is to see it in the papers that you killed the union guy. You probably even need it to be an “accident”

47 has only killed by “accident” regularly in Blood Money and Absolution. Plus a mission where you had to kill only be accident probably wouldn’t go over well with a large portion of the fanbase given how many people want more and more ways to kill targets.

And if one of them dies he’ll be replaced by another from the Union - he’ll probably even be held up as a martyr because he was a good guy campaigning for a good cause. ANd even if you don’t trust the $5k thug, it’s a huuuuuuuge over expense to hire the world’s best hitman.

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Let’s talk clients.

MI6: I get we are killing two spymasters who have caused the deaths of thousands, but why is MI6 hiring us? The ICA is a criminal organisation. Is MI6 corrupt and full of criminals? Think of Erich Soders and Benjamin Travis.

Ether Shareholder: We are again killing for the greater good, two scientists are creating a super weapon. Fine.

Hamilton-Lowe: We are being hired by a construction company to save a nation, fair enough. But they also had us kill their employee and rival in the past, so it’s kinda fucked up.

The Highmoores: It’s understandable they want their daughter avenged, but how do they know Jordan really killed Hannah. If there was video proof, they would find out Dexy was in it and contract her too.

MI6 placed the contract on the IAGO leaders to prevent the sale of a NOC list pertaining to their government.

The Ether shareholder had moral qualms.

Hamilton-Lowe had no interest in saving Morocco, they were just due to lose a lot of construction contracts if Zaydan got in power. Maintaining the current Rabat administration meant maintaining their livelihood.
I think the Hamilton-Lowe one is the best because out of all of the players involved in Strandberg’s rescue and Zaydan’s coup d’état (the Moroccan government, the Swedish diplomatic service, the media, the raging public, the bank Strandberg embezzled, the military, and everyone else pissed off by these actions), no one would have guessed that a construction company would have been the one to have placed the hit on their heads. Though realistically if they didn’t, someone else would have.


ICA is neutral, as to why brownell ecplained that.

As for the highmoores, they didnt know for sure, but it all pointed to Jordan. And when you lose your child its more emotional than rational anyway.

Exactly. I feel a lot of people miss this point and focus on Diana talking about “the fate of a nation”, when really Morocco has one of the most cold hearted money-related reasonings for assassination in the game.

Jup alot of people wrongfully think its Just saving the world multiple time in this game

I suppose in a way it’s about the clients saving the world, or at least changing it, but the ICA are the tools of that change.

I believe this links into @Fleur’s point: although these contracts seems to be honourable and for the fate of the affected - it’s really just about money at the end of the day.
Contract killing is booming business and the ICA are capitalising on that, regardless of what cover story they might indulge in.

As Leland Cayne put it “He kills for money. It’s that simple. That grotesque.”