I don’t think this will be implemented for Year 2 (and in a future Hitman game I don’t expect the Camera to be present at all, probably just a regular photo mode) but this could be a way IO could retrofit functionality into the Camera item, which would work on all maps and hopefully not require that much work from a development team.
If you aim the camera at an NPC, you can see an overview popup of information about them. This includes:
Their name, as is normally viewable in Contracts Mode
Any items they are currently carrying
What wearable disguise they are wearing, if any
For crowd “NPCs”, there could either be a basic random name generation system, the camera might not lock onto them at all, or give a generic message like “No Information Found”
It’s a very simple feature, but I think it’d have a few benefits, besides the satisfaction of the camera doing something:
It allows players to get a better grasp of Contracts. How many times have you looked at a Contract and had no idea who the NPCs on it were beyond the clothes they’re wearing? This feature increases the chances players will know the names of a few of these characters.
It allows players to more easily pick up on interesting NPCs carrying items (or interesting NPCs in general). As one example, Jason Portman in The Ark Society is, besides being a great cameo, the level’s only source of lethal poison, but it’s unlikely players will discover that currently.
It contributes to Hitman’s power fantasy of having encyclopedic level knowledge and planning based off that. NPCs that don’t serve immediately apparent purposes can have uses like “oh, they’re carrying a key!” revealed to players more easily.
To address some problems: This could diminish the discovery aspect of certain items being held by NPCs, but I think the risk isn’t that severe, most players aren’t going to be camera scanning every NPC they meet, so I think characters like Helen West will still be surprises for players.
It could also interfere with certain mission designs like The Censor Elusive Target, but there’s nothing stopping IO from creating a situational block for this feature, like it not working during Elusive Target missions at all.
I am on record as saying that the camera was poorly implemented. There just wasn’t enough to do with it. They could have made it the way to pick up intel items and it would have gone a long way towards improving it’s inclusion in the game. Going all the way back to the first real missions in the game, 47 can read intel on paper. Using the camera to gather this intel would have been a logical choice but the only real usage for it was to scan windows/grates and get the occasional achievement.
Adding an AR function would have been a decent way to use it too. Something which justified it would be have been nice. AS it was, it just wasn’t useful enough to force it being included on every mission.
What would be the explanation for 47 knowing all this information? Perhaps it could be attributed to an advanced ICA facial recognition database. But I just don’t find that to be in-keeping with the overall style of HITMAN. As @PatteDeFruit said, it would feel too much like a Watch Dogs game.
I think this would do more harm than good. It would really emphasis the fact that crowd NPCs are pretty much empty vessels, particularly for new players who might not otherwise notice this until later.
This is true. Currently it is very difficult to learn any new information about NPCs (their names, in particular) unless you are a Contract-creating aficionado who has spent lots of time picking out NPC targets.
However, a counterpoint to this would be that, in many cases, NPCs just aren’t that interesting. Beyond their name and outfit, there’s usually not much else to learn. Instead, the backstories of most NPCs can be left up to the player’s imagination.
When NPCs are given specific backstories, clues can be uncovered through dialogue and the environment. Meanwhile, returning characters serve more as fun easter-eggs for those paying close attention than important plot-points every player should notice.
See, I think this is the beauty of Hitman’s ‘power fantasy’ - it drives the player towards replayability. There’s always more to learn about each densely-packed level on repeat tries. This feature would only serve to reduce the value of exploration and learning. Perhaps a case of too much knowledge, too soon.
On the contrary, I know I’m the sort of player who (if I was new to the game) would feel compelled to frantically scan every NPC to avoid missing crucial info. This would spoil the exploration process for me and turn HITMAN into a dull grind, wandering around everywhere with my camera out (in a manner which would not be evocative of the ultimate assassin).