After several years without his franchise being touched, Agent 47 is now the prime target in Hitman Absolution.
Throughout his saga, Agent 47 has effortlessly strolled into mansions, parties, red light districts, secure areas, military bases, and heavily-policed areas in non-linear environments with a common goal, “Assassinate the targets”. Poisons, fiber wire, pushing them from balconies, or an old-fashioned rush in and gunning them down when it all falls apart, there is no denying he is one of the greatest assassins in gaming.
Footage of the game was shown at E3. The engine is very similar to the context-reliant gameplay of the earlier games, but has 47 pulling off far more acrobatic feats, such as yanking a gunman off a balcony onto a glass table below, or crushing their skulls with a bust. Though very brief, it’s clear Absolution will have more hectic action than the previous titles, and perhaps situations where stealth is simply not an option.
Hitman Absolution is also the debut of the Glacier 2 engine, which is a modified version of the original engine which was used for the previous games which allowed for first-person shooting and context-sensitive actions through a very simple interface.
In Absolution, Agent 47 is on the run, and there is a huge manhunt out for the master assassin. After being responsible for the deaths of dozens of powerful people, it’s not surprising that multiple people will want him dead.
At E3, Christian Elverdam talked about the AI system. Giving an example, he stated that if the enemy saw a dead body, and they had heard gunshots, they would realize that Agent 47 was afoot. He specifically stated however that the AI wouldn’t be a hivemind, so if only a few people know you’re around, it would be trivial to shoot them in the back of the head and keep your presence concealed. Continuing on, he said the AI would do more than just shoot at you, doing things like arresting you or communicating with their allies to coordinate themselves.
Elverdam also talked about the instinct system, that allows Agent 47 to use his mountains of skill and experience to predict exactly where an enemy will go, or use it to see if someone is coming. A level of precognition that is quite potent. In previous games, you would have to use the map to see where the targets were (on the easier difficulties of course), so this makes for a nice change of pace.
This is likely going to be the best game in the Hitman series, taking what made the original great and smoothing it over so that Agent 47 is more skilled, more deadly, and more dangerous. Hitman Absolution will be coming out in 2012, hopefully before the Mayan apocalypse.