There’s a lot that Hitman gets right. It has just enough story to be interesting, gameplay mechanics which feel balanced and stealth which is marvelous to put it bluntly. But more than that, Hitman is a game defined by its levels. Locations which tell stories of their own, hubs for homicide which add so much to the core gameplay. Just look at Sapienza, the second episode and one of the finest video game levels ever constructed as a prime example of this.
A second season of Hitman is on the way, ready to introduce players to a new itinerary of lethal travel plans that end with blood on the hands of 47 and a passport full of stamps. Here’re ten such locations we’d love to visit.
Hitman is already a mere step removed from being a full-on simulator of the entire Friday the 13th film series. Even better? It’s keenly aware of that link, having peppered some of its gameplay and characters with homages. But imagine a stage that went full Voorhees. Imagine 47 being hired to clear the camp of those damn camp councillors and their rampant hormones, in as violent a method as possible.
After the Bangkok level of episode 4 paid tribute to The Shining with the Himmapan Horror pack, this idea isn’t exactly out of place. Especially if the Opportunity System allows 47 to turn a sleeping bag into a deadly weapon.
IO Interactive’s rebirth of Hitman also had a tendency to be wonderfully meta at times, with events occurring around you that were connected to every other episode in the series. And what could be more meta, than allowing Agent 47 to wander the halls of E3? It’d be the perfect example of quantity meeting quality. The Los Angeles Convention Center is an incredible venue, one where two massive halls are joined by a more narrow selection of hallways with wide vertical spaces and offices above.
It’d be the intricacy of the superb Sapienza level mixed with the hustle and bustle of the Marrakesh crowds if done right. And it would forever change any visit to E3 ever again in the future, because you’d only see ample opportunities for murder when you step foot inside. More than usual, anyway.
New York’s venerable central tourism location has quite honestly, been done to death in video games. But if there was one studio around that could design the definitive homage to Times Square, it’s IO Interactive. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything more than surface detail in a digital Times Square, a mere facade of what truly lurks below the surface of the Big Apple. And that’s a fascinating area that needs to be explored in detail.
An opportunity to go behind the billboards, to explore beyond the neon and broadway glitz and glam that makes that area stand out would be incredible. The stories told could be mesmerising, the opportunities for wanton destruction and death, unbelievable. And it’s a locale that I think IO Interactive could pull off magnificently.
Johannesburg was briefly seen in Hitman last year. Or at least, one of its underground parking structures was. But what if Agent 47 found himself touching down in OR Tambo airport? Where would you have him roaming around in search of his next target? Geoff and Zoe claim that Melrose Arch would be perfect, but Gavin hit the nail on the head by suggesting the downtown CBD section.
And that I like. I’m a big believer that levels can tell stories, and I think the Jozi CBD has plenty to share. That grimy atmosphere, crumbling buildings built on Apartheid-era architecture right underneath the kitsch Tuscan influences currently gentrifying the likes of Juta Street. I think that dirtier look at our past says far more than a hipster burger joint ever could. And I’d dig to see Agent 47 try on a car guard uniform disguise at least once.
The Coliseum of Rome
Speaking of locations that tell stories, can you imagine the tales that the walls of the Roman coliseum have to say? A venue with centuries of history, steeped in the lore and actual blood of the Gladiators who died entertaining the masses of ancient Rome. Sweet Grodd, what a monument to mankind’s penchant for beauty and barbarism. But on a gameplay level, the Coliseum would be fascinating.
Not only do you have a location that is multi-layered, but also circular in its design. That would present some fascinating wrinkles to the Hitman formula, from escape through to assassination. But it’d be massively entertaining to say the least.
San Quentin Prison
Any way you slice it, Agent 47 is the greatest serial killer to ever live. Not through the sheer numbers of people murdered, but rather because he exists as a myth who has never ever been apprehended. But imagine if 47 needed to be inside a prison cell to get to a target? And why not go for broke then, with the notorious San Quentin Prison?
This would easily be Hitman at its most challenging. Open-ended yet restricting to a fault, as every inmate inside would be out for your blood. And it’s the beauty of the challenge, where Hitman really shines. A challenge that I want to see in a very different episode of orange being the new black.
Hitman’s “The Icon” bonus episode was an interesting bonus level set amidst the backdrop of a film being shot on location in Sapienza. But it was a mere taste of a bloated Hollywood budget meeting an out of control movie star ego. I’d love to see the idea explored further on a proper film set, one complete with green screens, special effects and stunts that are just begging to be taken advantage of.
I’d love to see the utter chaos of Agent 47 wandering onto a live set, dealing with temperamental actors and making certain that certain mishaps begin to haunt the stage. Break a leg they say in the industry. Hell, I’d plan to break far more than just that.
Murder on any express
We’ve seen levels in Hitman built on the idea of being murderous sandboxes. But the idea of a stage that is somehow both free and linear in its design, appeals to me. And there’s no better example of this than a train. Trains are fantastic to ride on, cramped carriages that are somehow technical marvels yet throwbacks to a less civilised age where steam was power.
It’s the idea that to move forward in Hitman, that you literally do have to keep pressing onward in a certain direction. It’d absolutely be another example of challenge and claustrophobia, but if done right a train level could be incredible.
It’s not easy being a lean mean killing machine. Fortunately Agent 47 happens to be in tremendous shape, with an upper body strength for hanging off of perilous heights that puts the Hulk to shame. But gyms aren’t exactly safe spaces. All those weights, the risk of machinery going haywire and mirrors that make you squat more than you should?
Prime real estate for murder most foul, if we had our way with video game design. All pain and gain.
Humanity versus nature is the tale of the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. And what happens when the two collide? They yield to one another. Jungfraujoch is a perfect example of this, a location in the Swiss alps that mixes nature with architecture. Old school with new school, that exists harmoniously with the snowy Swiss Alps that border both Germany and Italy.
Possibly one of the most layered areas on the planets, Kervyn had a point when he mentioned this exotic tourist attraction to me while wondering why there hasn’t been a single video game set in or inspired by that area. Well there’s a first time for everything. And I hope you’re reading this, IO Interactive.