HITMAN (or H6 as I’m used to calling it) does things differently. Very differently. In previous cases, we could simply go through the main story of each of the games and be fine with it. We could disregard anything that happened in the meantime, any lesser side stories told within the missions themselves. Here we could, arguably, still do that. It’s just that we would be missing most of what makes the game interesting. H6 takes pride in its environmental storytelling. Every mission is a separate story, which ultimately makes sense as every mission is a separate episode. They all link up in the end, however. They are all important in one way or another, so we do have to make sure to round up the side stories told during the missions themselves for it to make at least a tiny bit of sense. Keep in mind, there are tons of little details that don’t fit anywhere in the grander scale of things just yet. These may be random name drops or mentions of events that don’t link up to the overarching story. We will also be talking only about Season 1’s main episodes. No Elusive Targets, no Bonus Episodes, no Patient Zero. None of that business. Main story only. So let’s not dawdle anymore. If you’d come here to read my ramblings on the game itself, I’m sure you’d just click the HITMAN Opinion Pieces button instead.
H6 throws most of Absolution out of the window – apparently it still happened but forget about the leftover plot holes, sequel baits and all of that other jazz. It’s irrelevant now. The main story takes place in 2019 and we start out in Paris. More precisely – Palais de Walewska – where there are some shady deals going on in the background of a prestigious fashion show. Viktor Novikov – originally a man of many talents, such as corporate espionage, arson, kidnapping and insurance fraud – bonds with Dalia Margolis to create IAGO – a spy ring using models as their cover agents. In addition, the duo blackmails a famous fashion designer to work with them and use it as a disguise to hold a secret auction. The goal is to exchange information, albeit not all is well in the World of Assassination.
Speaking of a world, the crowd consists of people from all around the globe. The invitations were sent out to folks like Prince Po or Sheik Salmon al-Ghazali. Generally people with power but not the best of intentions. That’s not very surprising as IAGO holds some impressive information. So impressive, in fact, that Viktor Novikov himself is sought out by a peculiar mysterious man who is willing to help him in exchange for the IAGO dossier. Help with what, you ask? Even though Novikov ran away from the past and settled to be protected by Margolis, he has more problems than he realizes. A case against him was set up by the FSB and the news was picked up by an editor for the “Showstopper” magazine. If that’s not enough, Dalia herself plots his assassination. Viktor agrees to give up the dossier to quietly get rid of some problematic people. Someone (whom I’m going to be calling Our Main Bad Guy from now on) is now in possession of truly powerful information…
Other shady deals are definitely happening in the meantime. The MI6 themselves ask International Contract Agency to get rid of Viktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis, as they don’t want precious information leaking out to the world. Given the high security of Palais de Walewska (currently crawling with employees of a security company called CICADA), the task seems impossible at first. But not to Mr. 47 himself, who succeeds in eliminating both of his targets.
Our next stop is Italy and the ever beautiful tourist town of Sapienza. It’s not all as pretty as it looks on first glance, though, as beneath the great residence of the Carusos lies a secret underground lab. In it – a deadly virus is on its way, developed by a pharmaceutical corporation called Ether. Invisible and impossible to detect, the virus has potential. To add to the list of greatness, it can be encoded with its target’s DNA, spread across the globe and leave hosts unharmed until the DNA strikes a match. 47 is to eliminate Silvio Caruso – a stem cell researcher, the lead of the project and probably one of the best characterized targets in the entire series – and Francesca De Santis – a research scientist who’s working on the virus. The ICA also has an additional objective for our protagonist. Sneak into the lab and destroy the virus. Seems easy enough… It definitely is for the best assassin in the world. But what’s with up with Our Main Bad Guy?
One week after the hit, Ether is still wondering what happened at the lab. Our Main Bad Guy uses information ripped from IAGO’s hands to follow a certain fella (who we later learn is one of the “Heralds” – we will learn about them later) to an underground parking in Johannesburg. A few names are brought up: Cobb, Providence. Our Main Bad Guy achieves his goal, gets a key and then straight up kills its previous owner. Classy.
Across the world to Marrakesh where heavy riots currently take place! Claus Hugo Strandberg – the former CEO of Morocco’s private bank has been accused of investment fraud after a reporter revealed his criminal activities to the public. He’s currently residing in the Swedish Consulate after mercenaries freed him from transport. Involved in his escape and manipulating the entire situation is Reza Zaydan – a military general and author of fake propaganda. Their original plan was to evacuate Strandberg via an underground secret tunnel, which doesn’t mean much as he would be eliminated during his flight to Argentina. All of this orchestrated by who else but the mighty organization we’ve heard of before – Providence – whose Zaydan is a part of. Unfortunately for them, 47 gets to Strandberg first and kills him and the general, ruining the plans of them both.
In the meantime, it appears someone else was quite busy. Previously name dropped dude AKA Cobb was found dead and with it, a secret door was opened and the insides of some very important room were exposed! Apparently that’s what the key was for. Who knew?! Anyways, we now learn another name – Director Fanin – and that Providence is under attack. Who do we know it from? Some guy who doesn’t get a name for the entirety of Season 1 so we will call him a “stereotypical wannabe mysterious” syndrome dude. Yes, I need to give him some name, he will be important later…
Oh hey, we’re now in Bangkok where Jordan Cross and his band are recording their next single. His father is a powerful figure who ends up dead a week later after being kidnapped during the funeral of his son… whoops! Spoilers! Jordan gets killed, too, albeit by Mr. 47 himself. Interestingly enough, his second target of the mission is Ken Morgan – an attorney not just to the Cross family but also a representative of such giants as Hamsun Oil, Kronstandt Technologies (we could hear about them back in Paris but there was no point in mentioning them) and Ether Corporation. After the hit, 47 and Diana meet up at the airport to talk about some secrets in public. The ICA found out that the shadow client (or Our Main Bad Guy) had his hands in their recent operations but no need to worry as the analysts are already on his tail. Damn, the Agency works fast!
And if you thought this piece is going pretty fast as well… Colorado is where a lot of information comes into play all at once. In fact, it was this mission which holds the most worldbuilding and attempts to tie everything we’ve just talked about. So hold on to your seats. This will be quite a ride.
The trails led the ICA to a remote farm in the USA. A one which, conveniently, is currently used as training grounds for a private militia. One of the people involved in said organization is Sean Rose – a radical activist and bombmaker, responsible for several terrorist attacks and Thomas Cross’ (Jordan’s father) kidnapping. That’s not the only thing the Agency analysts managed to find. They also came across traces of a 24-year-old hacker by the name of Olivia Hall, who is actively working with Our Main Bad Guy, as we can see during a later cutscene.
As the stakes get higher, so does the target count. Besides the aforementioned Sean Rose, 47 is also to eliminate Penelope Graves, Ezra Berg and Maya Parvati. You can totally forget about the last gal as she’s completely unimportant but the other folks show potential. For example, Penelope was brought up to the militia for being “best of the bests” but no one really knows if she really switched sides. After all, she used to lead a manhunt against Sean Rose before inexplicably joining him in his fight. In reality, she is working with the shadow client behind the scenes, asking difficult questions and trying to get close to Mr. Rose. She is familiar with IAGO, knows about Cobb’s death and met Olivia Hall herself before coming over to the farm.
But she isn’t the only one working with the shadow client! Ezra Berg is, too! In fact, he is holding a hostage. A man only referred to as “Herald”. From their little investigation, we deduce that Heralds are Providence messengers and key holders. Other terminology includes a “Constant” – the leader of the Heralds – and “Partners”. Apparently, Providence has their people on every IAGO auction to contain information they deem important. They stay in the shadows, don’t intervene, only coming out of hiding when absolutely necessary. Our Main Bad Guy’s role in all of this is to destroy them. He is working with a group of people to make this happen. He is the one behind the kidnapping of Thomas Cross, tracking and eliminating Cobb for his key and ransacking Providence’s vault. In addition to all of this, he uses the ICA to do his dirty work, stay anonymous and yet still have problematic people taken care of. What a sneaky guy! Just as sneaky as our man 47 who ends up killing all of the Colorado targets and getting access to a hidden room in one of the houses’ basement. The ICA now knows all of the previous hits were connected – the targets were all part of Providence. Also, they have a Providence mole right in the Board of Directors.
This is also the time to reveal another huge plot point. Our Main Bad Guy was eyeing 47 all along, going as far as to follow him to Colorado. He and Olivia Hall are exchanging observations throughout the phone call, and we learn the shadow client is actually one of 47’s “brothers” from back in Romania. Not just that, he and 47 were quite close during that time, and he claims he knows 47 “better than anyone”.
Before moving on, let’s look at one more detail now that we know Cobb was one of the Heralds. Eugene Cobb was a bank director in New York and apparently quite a hot topic. He died in an airplane catastrophe and the black box has gone missing. This led to many assumptions, one of them being that his successor wanted him dead. What was the name of his successor, you ask? Fanin. Why is this important now? One of the targets in Hokkaido recommended him as Cobb’s successor. Who was that?
Yuki Yamazaki – a secret operative of Providence… in addition to being one of the best lawyers in Tokyo. She has ties with the yakuza – being their go-to attorney – and Masahiro Hayamoto (whom you might remember from Silent Assassin). There is another familiar name involved in all of this. Erich Soders. You see, our Prologue guy Soders ended up joining the ICA Board of Directors. But that wasn’t enough. He also became a mole for Providence as they offered him money to prolong his life. We learn that he suffers from a rare condition in which his internal organs are reversed. He now needs a heart transplant and, as you might imagine, right-sided heart donors are a tiny bit tough to come across. Providence arranged the best medical care by getting him all the way to Hokkaido, Japan, where a weird futuristic robot called KAI is going to perform the operation. To tie things up, it was built by Kronstadt Technologies. The company, as well as Ether are what is called a Partner to Providence. They are working on technologies not available worldwide which Providence wants to control and use for their limited purposes. They also want to get their hands on the Agency. Why? Multiple reasons, I assume. One of them of course being 47 and his connections with the shadow client. Speaking of the best guy the ICA has, he completes the hit on both Yuki and Soders and flees. In the meantime….
Remember the “stereotypical wannabe mysterious” syndrome dude? He’s back, too. He just “happens” to be on the same train as Diana Burnwood and he uses this opportunity to strike a deal with her. He offers her a job for his organization but she isn’t interested. After all, that would be making Soders’ mistake again. A mysterious photo brought by the wannabe mysterious dude might change her mind though.
As a Hitman lore enthusiast, I often find myself analysing the smallest details of the games, their stories and characters. The series would not be what it is today without its (forgive me for using this word) iconic main well-suited character and his bald head decorated with a (let’s hit all of the cliche words!) signature barcode. But it’s not the tie or the black leather gloves what made Mr. 47 so endearing for yours truly. You know my thoughts on the character as well as the recent developments of his personality. You know I’ve been digging and digging through all of the games to bring you the best analysis of our beloved protagonist and you might have thought my extensive piece is where I draw the line. Today, I’d like to prove you wrong.
There were itches unscratched in this lore-loving heart and this is why today I present to you the real insight to 47’s mind. An interview with David Bateson.
This is what happens when the lore expert talks to Mr. 47 himself…
First of all, thank you so much for agreeing to do this. It’s great to see you are so open to interact with the fanbase. I was always enthralled by 47’s personality and how it was presented throughout the games. So naturally, I would love to ask a few questions for the man voicing said character and undoubtedly is the main reason as for my passion for Mr. 47. I am so glad we were able to make this happen.
Could you tell us what were the first pointers you were given when voicing the role of agent 47? Was he always meant to be a tough guy with a troubled backstory or did his past was unknown to you during the recordings for Codename 47? How much of the story was even known to you?
As I recall, I wasn’t given much information for that first recording. But reading the script, which I seem to recall were just inner monologues, I got an idea of how it should read. However, the atmosphere of the images I was looking at were haunting and stark, so the scene was set – it was moody and ominous from the start.
Can you tell us more about these images you were shown? Were these tech demos or just concept art? Do you remember what were they of?
They were of Hong Kong – both concept art and sequences from the game, as I remember. Very black and white, shadowy. Quite Japanese in look. but on the whole it reminded me of Blade Runner.
Ah, so you already had an insight to what the aesthetic was going to look like and played off that! That’s really interesting. So what was your opinion on the character when the role was presented to you? What influenced your choice in taking the offer?
I was deeply impressed and “moved” by those first images and graphics. A character that is created – with a specific purpose only – intrigued me. There is no history, nothing to hang an “attitude” on. So it felt like it gave me a broad blank canvas to draw on and shape, according to what was subsequently told to me and according to how my personality interpreted that. Looking back, though I am convinced that the original guys who developed Hitman and created Agent 47, knew or at the very least, had a good idea of how he should be; but because nothing existed before that time, it really felt like there was room to influence his development. As an actor, I am drawn to characters out of curiosity. I want to find out how they think and feel and then allow myself to think and feel like them. No filter, or at least, as little as possible. It’s a real trust exercise, in a way.
What will always intrigue me about Agent 47, is that I will never fully know him.
So you do, in fact, play a huge role into the creation of Mr. 47! I guess I have to thank you for creating my absolute favorite fictional character of all times. I don’t think anyone will ever fully know him… and believe me, I have tried!
How did your perception of 47 changed once it came to voicing Silent Assassin? The main storyline of the game heavily revolves around 47’s moral journey. A quite interesting turn of events when it comes to hitmen stories.
Now we’re getting to the point… You know, as I see it, every single thing we do in life, is a choice. We may be dealt some crap cards sometimes, but we choose how to play them. That choice is based on one’s own definition of morals. Does this feel right? Should I do this? Do my actions and behaviour benefit or harm others?
Well, it’s clear Agent 47 has a very purely defined moral code. He is programmed to fulfil a contract. That contract involves the taking of life. There is no doubt or repentance of what he does. It is as if he is either autistic or psychotic in that he is completely detached from his feelings. And yet…. he is not. It would be utterly boring and uninteresting to play him 100% like that. There is something in the cocktail of his genetic make-up that lingers. He is a human, afterall.
We’ve seen it before, in films from Total Recall to Blade Runner to Oblivion, where a character is haunted by something in their past DNA that makes them search for who they really are. It’s actually the same in real life. I see in my own children, behaviour patterns and quirks, that are mine and that were definitely not taught or consciously passed on by me. Where does that come from? Agent 47 may never find the answers as to who he is and what makes him the way he is. But it’s the subconscious search that makes the journey interesting. There is nothing new here. It’s life. But part of the appeal of the character of Agent 47 is that just ever so slightly, we are haunted by him. At least… I am.
This is where the origin of my interest of Mr. 47 lies. There is so much you can wonder about and yet I feel this side of him has been lost throughout the years and especially in the newest installment. I personally thought they could do so much more with him in HITMAN but as I understand, they focused on establishing the World of Assassination this time.
How do you perceive 47’s interest in religion? Is it something you can identify with?
Absolutely. I was really fascinated by the religious element that the developers and writers allowed themselves to express. Religion, any religion, is a set of profound beliefs felt and followed by billions of people in every corner of the world. Never under estimate the power of religious faith. Ever!
When we are younger, we tend to perceive life and sets of religious beliefs in pretty well defined terms. Good, bad, right wrong. With a few more years and experiences on our shoulders, I think it is fair to say that there is a good chance we may accept more nuances as to what is right or wrong. So when IO went down the religious road it made sense, as the fanbase was predominantly young and questioning. On the one hand, risky, as it might alienate this young audience. But on the other hand, appealing to the more clearly defined moral codes of youth.
I can identify with this. However, I will leave my personal faith out of this conversation.
It is really interesting how you mentioned young and questioning – as 47 can be seen as young and questioning as well. Yes, he can be described as adult by the time of Silent Assassin but he’s been truly free to explore and create his outlook on the world and his own life for a much shorter period. As for alienating younger audiences – I don’t think back then they were even attempting to reach that demographic. Part of why I find the older titles so endearing. They were mature for a reason and I love that maturity.
47’s character shines when dealing with side characters. There were many throughout the Hitman series but none as prominent as his handler. What do you think of their relationship? Do you think it is strictly business or have they grown to care about each other over the course of their work?
Well, what made Diana and Agent 47’s relationship so good from the get go – and this wasn’t in any way planned – was that Vivienne McKee happens to be my theatre company boss! Vivienne and I are close friends and when we started working on Hitman together we had already known each other 9-10 years. I think there was and is still, an unspoken chemistry between them. Of course, it can never be expressed and Agent 47 probably would not even know what it is that should be expressed!
However, I sense Diana’s instinct to want to look after her agent in the field both professionally, but also dare I say it, personally. This is not a bad thing to have in the mix. It just adds to the complexity of how we as players, become involved with these characters. I think there were some intriguing elements of this expressed in Absolution, when we experience Agent 47’s horror and dilemma of having to fulfil a contract on Diana – with all their history together over the years. I would like to think that that experience has made them even closer.
Personally, I think it’s a deep shame that Vivienne McKee wasn’t a part of Absolution. This particular moment in A Personal Contract would be so much more meaningful if that was the case. I always saw it as this missed opportunity for creating a truly powerful moment in the series, especially for the already existing fanbase. In the end, they did not only change the voice actress – they also made that scene completely inconsequential storywise.
All I can say is: Vivienne was majorly bummed at being replaced!
Did you ever happen to record with Vivienne McKee when it came to the Hitman series?
You know, we never recorded together. Occasionally, our paths would cross in the studio, as one finished and the other would go in to record. But sadly, for my part at least, there has never been the opportunity of recording across from one another.
There are also other prominent side characters in the series. Padre Vittorio is obviously 47’s friend and his moral guidance but we also have agent Smith whom 47 seems to dislike. Were there any directions or reasons given to you for why that is? And if not – do you have any suspicions?
What still intrigues me to this day, is that the writers don’t always tell me everything. And I try not to ask, sometimes. I mean, I need to know what happens before a moment of monologue/dialogue but as a character, I actually don’t need to know what comes next. Bit like real life, really. I thoroughly enjoyed my relationship with the padre – man, does that ever sound wrong, in these day and ages…! Ha ha! You know what I mean. I like the idea of having a mentor or someone to be able to ask those big meaningful questions, and trust in the integrity of their answers.
Agent Smith, I do seem to remember them keeping me a little in the dark, about him. This feeling of ambivalence helped me deliver lines about him. Truth is, I don’t want to know everything. Wouldn’t that be dull.
Absolutely. I imagine that would also show in the delivery. Knowing what 47 should not know might void some of the emotional impact!
Have you noticed any form of change in 47’s character as he evolves overtime? Do you agree with the changes or do you think some games did not portray him as well as others? (In particular – the dreaded Absolution!)
You know, I got to ask a lot of fans at the EGX in Birmingham, England, as to what their favourite game had been, up to that point. The majority of fans that day said Blood Money was their favourite. Here’s the thing: I loved doing Absolution! It had everything going on for me as a voice actor and to be able to more fully express some complex feelings of this otherwise, pretty surpassed character and dear friend – Agent 47! I also liked his reluctant relationship with Victoria. I personally thought the writing was brave and ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious, in hindsight, as the fans felt they lost some of the open sandbox of Blood Money, in the pursuit of such an “emotional” plotline. That’s definitely been rectified with the latest episodic release of the latest instalment this last year!
What is so cool with this franchise and the evolvement of it, is that the people who create it, from the programmers, graphic artists and creatives, to the writers who populate the games, is that they really, really care about what they are doing. May sound cheesy but it’s true. Added to which, the amount of time I have spent recording with them over the years, has meant that there is an immense understanding for this character and the direction in which they want to take it. Not everything works. That’s human. Personally, I can’t wait to see where we are headed next – both in terms of plot and character development.
Remember, no one stays the same. We all evolve and change in some ways, over the years.
Again, I have to agree with you. From my personal experience with the team, I can clearly see they care oh so much! Whether or not it shows on the outside is often another story…
You mentioned Absolution‘s plot being too ambitious… sounds a lot like what I’ve been saying in my HITMAN opinion pieces… It is a shame the writers might be making the same mistakes.
What kind of story do you like best when it comes to a Hitman story? Is it the more personal approach with the storyline directly involving 47 or do you enjoy seeing what else the World of Assassination has to offer?
Got me here! It’s both.
As I say, I liked the more personal approach of having Agent 47’s character tested and pushed, in terms of self discovery. But that’s just cos I am an actor! However, the World of Assassination has proved to be one big fat adventure! So I am equally drawn to the prospect of more of the same.
I will say this, though. I was at the BAFTA Games last year and I watched the BAFTA’s again this year, and the notion or theme being heavily appreciated, both by gaming experts and by the jury in some of the awards, is that a good storyline and character development should not be underestimated. Fans of course, will always want more of the same from their favourite gaming franchise. But they also want more. Of everything. So, more of the same is not enough, in itself, no matter good the graphics.
As humans we need to be engaged and drawn in to the action. That takes a strong storyline, great characters and a well crafted script. We need to feel for the them and be entertained by the story, otherwise what is the point? I know that is not the case for every game. Pokémon Go does just fine without all that.
Funnily enough, it was the storyline of Hitman that made me love the series, not just the gameplay. It all needs to flow together nicely to create an appealing package. And you are definitely a big part of it as well! How much involvement do you have in shaping the character? Do you sometimes step in and say “This isn’t how he would act”?
Good question. Occasionally, I will step in and say: “this sounds wrong or at least, not quite right”. The writers are in the room when we record so it will be discussed and alternates suggested and tried out. Normally, we all end up in agreement. After so many years working together, it tends to go pretty fast, if we have any disagreements.
I often record lines in groups of 3. Either the first instinctive approach is right or the third delivery is right. Never the second one. However, I need the second delivery to get to the third one. Time consuming and a little frustrating, sometimes. But with so much dialogue to get through, the rhythm of recording this way seems to work best.
What do you consider the main appeal of the character you’re voicing?
He’s cool. In every way. Strong, silent, determined, utterly ruthless. Yet, haunted. searching. Not quite vulnerable – at least not in any obvious way. With just a touch of very dark humour…
That dark humor we all love so much… I like how you described him as “searching”. That pretty much covers his entire journey up to this point!
Was there any moment in particular that is memorable to you out of your entire career of voicing agent 47? Any interesting tidbits or stories to share?
That’s not fair. I have many but I’m afraid I’ve run out of time. The memorable moments have mainly got to do with my relationship to the writers and people of IO, and the physical process of recording the dialogue. It is simply unique – not only to be playing the same character for all these years, but to feel like I really have got to know him. He is a close friend of mine, and as such, I accept that I don’t know all of him. Like a real good friend, we accept them for who we think they are. That’s good enough.
Do you have any favorite quotes or moments from the series?
“I need to use the bathroom” will probably be engraved on my tombstone! Actually, there are others but they are either quotes or misreads that occur during the many hours of recording, and I can’t think of any now. If I do, I will drop you a line with a quote. Promise.
I’ll hold you to that promise!
How do you see the character going forward? He’s been through so much already, I’m sure his mindset now is completely different from what we’ve seen in the past? Do you ever see him taking a well deserved retirement?
You know, I honestly just wait for the next adventure to unfold. That’s the joy of my part in the process. Everyone else at IO has to work for months – if not even years, sometimes – on all the practical aspects that go into making the next instalment. I just get to turn up on a recording day and have a lot of fun, finding out what happens next.
Agent 47 has grown so much and evolved and matured, even. Though he did get a bit younger in appearance, from Absolution to World of Assassination 1, I noticed! I think he can cope with a lot more than he could 17 years ago.
In the last piece I did – “A Cage Without A Key” – I mentioned how I feel the current writing team doesn’t know what to do with the characters of 47 and Diana. I said that it feels like they don’t understand those characters and therefore the storyline of HITMAN isn’t exactly a storyline of Hitman. Go back a month and you’ll find me discussing this topic once more. In “Tomorrow is Never Enough”, I commented on the fact that the writing of Hitman has always revolved around 47 himself, was classy and provocative and it’s why the sudden switch from this style met with fans disapproval.
This is how I felt throughout most of the story of HITMAN so far. I am drawn to characters, I love analyzing their speech patterns, their body language, their quirks. You’ve seen all of this from me before. One of my favorite bits of writing I’ve done for The Storyline of HITMAN series was outlining 47’s mindset in the Prologue. You’ve also seen me catching on to details such as the sigh in Silent Assassin and pretty much everything that ever happened in Blood Money. You know I am absolutely obsessed with the character of 47. HITMAN’s main bad guy level of obsessed, in fact. I could rival Soders in digging 47’s past! Since… he is such a shallow character otherwise, as I’ve said in the “Assembling the puzzle” opinion piece when the beta came out…
Today, we’re going to do more of that overanalyzing! In fact – it’s all we’re going to do. I am going to go through all of the games, pinpointing important details about the character of Mr. 47 so we can all learn more about him. You might want to get yourself some source material to enhance this read. I have a lot of footage recorded from when I was writing the original Storyline write-up and I replayed bits of the games again to get more context if needed. You should just be needing cutscenes but playing the titles themselves wouldn’t hurt.
The plan is to show you how this character evolved over time and how the events he took part in shaped him. It isn’t going to be a shoddy psychoanalysis based solely on Wikipedia articles, as I’ve seen way too many examples of. I’m mostly presenting his character and linking what’s important. You can then come to your own conclusions. In fact, this is the beauty of fictional figures. We can associate certain traits that make us feel better and give us comfort as long as they fit into the already established frame. Even Mark Hamill doesn’t mind if Luke Skywalker is gay.
Let’s get rolling. We have a lot to cover.
As you can see, I am doing this in a very similar fashion to my original Storyline write-up. Not much can be said about the times before Codename 47, however. Especially as I have recently learned that IO doesn’t specifically take novels into consideration (which means my beloved Mr. Nu isn’t canon… I’m petitioning to make him canon, goddamnit!). This is both good and bad. Thankfully, it means I can completely erase Damnation from my memory. I always enjoyed Enemy Within, though and thought scenes presented on its pages compliment 47’s character display fairly well. There were some bits I don’t agree with but Enemy Within is a very good example of an author doing his research and having an understanding of the source material.
Flashbacks to Romania in Chapter Eight is what always stood up to me in said novel. The rivalry between 6 and our protagonist and 47’s first kill were both intriguing plot points to uncover and I wish those didn’t get shafted. I, unfortunately, have no say in the matter (but I can still mention Mr. Nu once again, cause he’s great! IO, please…), so let’s not waste time and carry on.
There isn’t really much content here, mostly because I have decided to skip on talking about H6’s Prologue as it’s written by a different team. Instead, we are once again, basing this on the Silent Assassin pre-release material in the form of Ort-Meyer’s diary.
From said diary, we can learn that 47 was always very quiet. He preferred to stay in the back, observing his surroundings and was a fast learner. He wasn’t fond of the medical staff, obviously didn’t enjoy people getting close to him or having any control over him (to Ort-Meyer’s displeasure). 47 was not emotionless, however (again, something Ort-Meyer would have liked to have changed), as he took care of a runaway white rabbit. The staff let him keep the animal and he grew fond of the fluffy bunny even to the point of shedding a tear once his buddy eventually passed away.
In addition to my personal favorite detail about 47, we can also learn that violence doesn’t bother him even if he’s the attacker. We know he’s resourceful as he handcrafts slingshots and obviously knows he’s one of the bests as he “draws” smiley patterns in the cardboard during shooting practice.
That is the mindset he carries out to Codename 47. After the shock and confusion of randomly waking up and hearing a strange voice, the next time we see 47 is a year later. At this point, he has started working for the Agency and is, again, reminded of how good he is at what he does. That’s the only thing he truly knows about himself as he doesn’t remember the years he spent in the Romanian facility. Constant praise from Ort-Meyer during the Training makes us (and our main character) believe 47 truly is a skillful assassin. In fact, The Professor had “high hopes for him from the beginning”.
Next bit of characterization comes from 47 himself. His comments on different locations give us some idea about who he is. For starters, he doesn’t seem to enjoy Hong Kong. “People talk of it as an interesting place. Filled with mystery, laughs and excitement, they say. Not really my scene.” He turns away from the window and instead, focuses on his job. In conversations with the NPCs, he’s always serious and on point. No time for chit chat. The man has his mind on the job and nothing besides that.
Fairly soon, 47 meets up with agent Smith. This starts their relationship, which I’ll be detailing later on. Same deal with Lei Ling. Keep in mind the kissing scene, though. We will go back to it as it’s actually one of my favorite little details of the series. The short conversation with Lei Ling solidifies the point that 47 is concentrated only on his mission. After she mysteriously answers his question of “Who are you?”, she asks “What about you?”, to which he simply replies: “I’m here on business, looking for Mr. Lee Hong. Actually, I’m looking for his safe.” 47’s also keen on striking a deal with the Chinese lady once he learns that she can help him get to Hong’s safe.
Interestingly enough, he does catch her so she doesn’t bruise that small bum of hers on their way out but quickly orders her to stay quiet and doesn’t exactly enjoy her gift of smacking him with her lips.
Still, in the same mission, 47 demands information from the old guy in exchange for the acquired jade figurine. He also murders Lee Hong’s bodyguard – Tzun, as the beach ball looking fella stands between him and his target.
Columbia isn’t 47’s favorite holiday location either. “Even the butterflies here are corrupt and smuggling drugs.” A lot of the dialogue feels very odd due to some questionable voice acting but I found this line to be quite interesting – once 47 retrieves the golden idol and brings it to the chief of the U’wa people, the chief asks him for one more favor. 47 responds: “When I come back, you must show me a way to get close to the Drug Lord!”
Skipping Hungary, we arrive in the Netherlands, where 47 states outright: “Hm, Rotterdam harbor. It’s not exactly a tourist resort. But then again, I’m not here for a vacation, either.” There is a girl around going by the name Sandy. She’s apparently a very skilled pole dancer and 47 wouldn’t mind using her to avert enemy eyes. Sandy, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind 47 being her date, to which she hears a decisive “No” (Obviously, that’s because Lei Ling was first!… I’m joking.) and then an angry mention that the guy she’s looking for is “outside”. Another detail I really like is 47 tapping his fingers on the bomb before disarming it in Plutonium Runs Loose. Either signifying a quick moment of thinking about how to approach said object, or maybe to relief the tension. Paired with rapid head movements afterward, I’d say adrenaline might have been in place. (Also, obligatory: fuck Plutonium Runs Loose.)
Romania is where things are starting to go wrong. 47 himself doesn’t have anything to say about this place. He’s very careful opening the gate and entering the hospital grounds. As I’m an over-analyser by nature maybe I’m reading too much into the wooden voice acting, but 47’s introduction (as Tobias Rieper) in this level feels to me like he might be unsure of this place. He threads carefully into the conversation with his target asking him if he’s the only Doctor Kovacs around. Then, 47 finally realizes something’s off.
“Hey… I recognize you – you were the one with the needle.”
Kovacs struggles to explain the situation but 47 doesn’t care. He completes his contract yet curiosity gets the better of him. He explores the facility, looking for more clues. The man he finds is Smith. 47 asks him:
“Tell me – what in the world is going on here?”
Smith has the answers our protagonist needs:
“Try to remember – you’ve been here before. The Professor conducted experiments long ago. DNA… cloning…”
He also offers to show 47 the way to the basement. Heading down is exactly what our main character ends up doing.
After hearing Ort-Meyer’s voice again, it is important to mention that 47 never speaks up himself. Killing the medical staff and the waves of 48s doesn’t bother him, either. He uses a dead “brother” to grant himself access to Ort-Meyer’s hiding spot carelessly throwing the body on the ground after it’s no longer useful to him. “Father” isn’t done with his monologue but 47 isn’t eager to talk back. Instead, he looks at him as he falls, slowly approaches him and snaps his neck to insure he is dead. The action itself comes after a slight pause, as if maybe 47 feels he has some unfinished business to take care of.
The ending scene happens in a white void. As I’ve mentioned in my “Let the show stop and the sky fall” opinion piece, white is a color symbolizing new beginnings. It implies independence – something 47 has finally gained by killing his creator. White might also be seen as sterile. Cold. Exactly what this last action is. It allows us to focus on the characters in the scene as well as the blood flooding the ground. 47 gets up and leaves.
The revelation of being designed to kill hits him hard. We meet up with our protagonist once more in Sicily, two years after Meet Your Brother. Whilst the moral journey he goes to in Silent Assassin is a major event, I think we should also realize that he’s been on one of those already. Something must have brought him to Italy, to this exact church. He must have found out about religion somehow. Learned about the rights and wrongs of the world. Escaped from the World of Assassination – the only world he knows – and decided that maybe becoming a gardener and doing good deeds will cleanse his soul from all of the evil he’s already committed. It’s important to recognize that we do not see his full transformation. We only see the latter part of it.
That being said, we do not know what exactly happened to 47 during those two years. Since even the Agency has lost track of him and thought he was dead, he must have hid from them pretty well. He obviously didn’t want to be found unless he specifically asks for it. The Agency and the World of Assassination are still on his mind, though. Constantly. Even in the Gontranno church, he hides his briefcase containing his clothes, weaponry and the ICA laptop in his shack. It’s there as a way out. 47 knows that even though he despises this fact – he is good at being a killer.
The first time we see him in Silent Assassin, he is picking a tomato in the Gontranno garden. 47 being a gardener isn’t just a random concept. Gontranno became his refuge, just like Eden was a safe enclosure created by God. Gardening takes commitment and patience. It’s mindful. It allows for enough time to think about your actions and there’s a feeling of self-satisfaction once those actions pay off. Exactly what 47 needs right now. He requires a belief that he’s someone more than a killer. Actually, that last sentence could end at “someone”. I’m not sure 47 ever mentions himself as a person. He’s always objectifying himself – that’s very clear in the closing monologue. Becoming a gardener, therefore, is a much more spiritual task than we might have thought from this short scene. And him picking fruits might be relevant to the Christianity theme if we stretch it enough (and we will because we’re overanalyzing everything and I like it that way). The forbidden fruit might be here to show us that 47 is sinful or that he might end up being tempted to commit more sins. Or both. And have you ever wondered why the church is under the Gontranno patronage? Well, let me just leave you with this.
As the voice acting isn’t stiff anymore, we can focus a bit more on the performance from now on. 47 exits his shed and comes across a new character – padre Vittorio. We will talk about their relationship at the end of this part as there is one detail I’d like to discuss without averting your attention from what’s happening currently. What you should know for now is that Vittorio is 47’s guidance in this newly found world. He asks our protagonist how is he feeling and 47 responds (looking downwards): “Padre – I’m okay. But I must speak with you.”
They start slowly walking away from the shack (remember – this is where everything 47 owns lies beneath the hidden trapdoor, so he’s hesitant not having immediate access to it) and as the camera switches to the overhead view, we can see 47 being a step behind padre, still looking at the ground. Vittorio, sensing our main character wasn’t exactly truthful saying he’s okay, encourages him with these words: “We have a saying here in Sicily: I don’t know anything, I didn’t see anything, I wasn’t there – and if I was there, I was asleep.” A very roundabout way to explain that 47’s secrets are safe with him but it does work, as 47 makes his way into the church and sits in the confessional booth.
Worth mentioning that during this conversation, 47 throws quick stares at Vittorio and the priest quite literally shows him his open arms. He also puts his hand on 47’s arm as to reassure him.
The bells ring calling 47 to the church. He steps into the confessional booth and speaks up.
“Padre – I have sinned… I have done some terrible things in my life… I…”, he pauses for a second knowing what he has to say will hurt him. “I have killed… many people. For money – out of ignorance – out of evil – out of hatred…”
Vittorio hears that 47 is trying to explain his sins as best as he can, find reasoning in his actions. He continuously blames himself for these deaths and tries to excuse them. Most likely the first time he actually admitted aloud that he has committed the greatest sin.
“Figlio mio – I know you well. You are also a good person – I have seen you taking care of the garden. I know of the large amount of money you donated to the church. Your soul is on the right path…”, the priest asserts. 47 doesn’t seem to be convinced, though. The money he gave to Gontranno was stained with blood, after all.
“But father – I do not belong. I’m not of this world. So why should God forgive me…?”
“Do not worry, my son. When your time comes, he will have a place for you as well. Just keep God in your heart – now I must leave. Stay a while and pray…”
47 complies and these are the words that exit his mouth:
“Lead me, O Heavenly Father, in the path of right. I walk alone and stumble in the dark. Show me the light and I’ll go there. Let me find peace in my own heart and save me from my enemies.”
It’s pretty clear at this point. He knows what he was doing is wrong. He needs guidance as he doesn’t know any other life besides the ways of the assassin. The deaths haunt him, he sees blood on his hands and he’s distraught by it. What happens next definitely doesn’t help his state of mind. He leaves the church and finds a leftover package. As he’s reading the letter, he seems ambivalent about the $500,000 ransom, later even specifying – “$500,000? Can’t pay that.” I was always wondering if that reaction means he simply doesn’t have enough money to cover the payment or that he doesn’t want to give this satisfaction to the Italian mobsters. I’d speculate the latter based on 47’s next actions.
“I’m going to the garden shed. Time to dig up the past…”, he speaks through his teeth.
This isn’t the weak and broken 47 we’ve seen up to this point. He doesn’t have his spiritual guide anymore. He’s been stripped from that. He is now set to get it back in whatever way he can. And he only knows one way…
He enters the shed and throws the gardener gloves on the table. The inside of the room is dark – a clear-cut contrast from the bright, colorful Gontranno grounds. 47 goes down the stairs under a hidden trapdoor and turns on the only light in this room – a mere light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Diana welcomes him back: “It’s good to hear your voice again. We all thought you were dead. You’ll be pleased to know that your skills are in great demand these days. You are almost a legend amongst our customers.”
But 47 isn’t gratified by her words. He hesitates before touching his laptop. We can see he’s been reading books in the meantime, as those have to be dumped off the computer first. There are flashes of white light presented to us letting us know that this man has now decided on what he has to do.
“Diana – I’m not looking for work.”, our protagonist cuts her off. He goes straight to the point: “I need some information. On a Guiseppe Guilliani from Palermo, Sicily. What have you got…?”
Once Diana gives out her briefing, he continues:
“I need detailed satellite surveillance on his residence. And info on security. And keep an eye out for a priest. He’s a friend of mine and was kidnapped.”
“Friend”. Bold word for 47. Diana catches that, too.
“A friend? Have you gone soft, 47?”, she nabs him. “Besides – we don’t believe in handing over information for free. How do you think you’re going to pay us back? I’ve heard you’re extremely wealthy.”
47 opens up the closet in which his old clothes are stashed. The first piece of clothing is the red tie. He stares at it for a bit before taking out the rest of the outfit.
“Yes, I know. I’ve heard that rumor, too.”, he says more-so to himself rather than to her.
The next line feels like he takes a defensive position and doesn’t want to get into the conversation of where his money went.
“It’s not true, though. But I’m sure you can suggest an arrangement.”
Diana offers pulling a few strings and strikes a deal with 47. He’s to complete an assignment for the Agency. Just like old times. She allows herself for one more banter, however: “What do you say, 47 – still sharp enough to handle a job these days?”, to which he doesn’t reply.
This lengthy intro sequence is a perfect way of presenting to us what has happened with 47 after the first game. It makes sense if this is the first Hitman title you’re playing but it is also enhanced drastically if you know the events of Codename 47. Our protagonist does not only struggle with the fact that he has killed people. He is also conflicted about his purpose in life, as he was created only to be a hired gun. Here, we also see that he needs constant guidance. Something that will come back to bite him in a later story arc. When he was in Romania – he was ordered around by Ort-Meyer. Once he left the facility and came across the Agency – Diana became his controller (or handler, whatever). Cutting ties with the ICA after the events of Codename 47 left him vulnerable without anyone telling him what to do. Padre Vittorio fills in that role. At this point in the series 47 hasn’t built up his confidence and independence just yet and I’d argue if he does even in the long run. Let’s continue.
The short sequence before Anathema shows us 47 crossing himself before engaging with the mission. He doesn’t want everything he’s learned go to waste and still believes God might protect him from harm. As the primary objective for 47 is to rescue Padre Vittorio – he is concerned once he finds out the priest is not in the basement.
“They must have moved him.”, he exclaims to Diana. She explains that this might very well be the case. He stays silent after this news.
From now on, things start moving a little bit faster (I hope). We are greeted in St. Petersburg with another commentary regarding said place from Mr. 47 himself. We can also see him arriving via a subway train, where a tired Russian man falls asleep on his shoulder. Our main character seems disgusted by his behavior. He doesn’t enjoy being touched, after all. He’s also set quite antagonistic towards the country he’s in. Says that guards will be suspicious in regards to foreigners. “I have to rely on the element of surprise – they don’t expect me, and if I keep it cool, clean and quiet, they’ll never know what hit them.” Performance-wise, this isn’t exactly the cockiness we’ve heard in Codename 47 but the man obviously knows what he can do. The difference is – this time he knows what he’s doing is wrong.
The relationship between Diana and 47 develops a lot throughout Silent Assassin but I will go over the entirety of it later on. Thanks to some of the emotions 47 is conveying in a conversation they are having to pinpoint the target in St. Petersburg Stakeout, however, we now know that he can get tense if he’s not sure he can complete his mission. This line in particular gives out this feeling – “That narrows it down, but still no positive ID. My time slot is slipping – any additional info?” – and especially when paired with the confident “I have visible contact and a positive ID.”
As this was the only mission 47 has decided to complete, he wants out. Especially since this deal didn’t even bring him information required to get Vittorio. The Agency wants to keep him close, however. Diana tries to win him back by saying that their client is in trouble and he really likes 47’s style. He replies: “Diana – you know I don’t care about your client. You want me to continue, you need to make me interested.” Apparently, the bosses are eager to get their best man back in the game. They do give Diana permission to up the pay if that gets the job done.
“So – what exactly is the rate for an ordinary hit?”, 47 asks and once he gets an answer, he demands: “Good – then you just triple that. And deposit it in gold. Prepaid into my usual overseas account.”
The tone of his voice and the wording itself suggest that he doesn’t take “no” for an answer here. Diana also catches onto that but she wasn’t expecting him to press the Agency for a small fortune.
“47… I… you… that’s quite a large sum of money.”, she tries to reason with him.
“True. But I don’t perform standard hits, and besides, I have a reputation to protect.”
Soon enough, 47 gets confronted with his past. In form of agent Smith whom he has a task to rescue from captivity (once again). 47 isn’t happy to see him. Part of the disgust might come from the fact that the redheaded fella is almost naked right in front of him, but our protagonist has seen him in this state before, so I’d say it’s more about memories coming back.
“Thought I’d seen the last of you back in Romania.”
The dialogue throughout the entire encounter feels like 47 wants to get it done with. Smith mentions getting a keycard all excited and pumped for what’s to come and 47 only replies “Not bad.” before mumbling to himself “I can use this.” A notable gesture (or lack thereof) is that he doesn’t want to shake hands with Smith and simply leaves to his companion’s blatant confusion.
Few missions in, 47 seems to accustom to the life of an assassin. He’s getting more confident, as can be heard in this narration right at the start of Shogun Showdown: “Thick walls and loads of protection. Even the strongest chain has a weak point. And I’ll find this one. But I’d better consider each step I take in this squeaky old castle.” A second meeting with Lei Ling isn’t what she’s dreamed of, 47 isn’t that eager to help her this time. Instead of agreeing to her terms immediately, he simply says “I’ll think about it”(to give the player an option to either use this opportunity or not… but we’re overanalyzing here!).
More uneasiness ensues when the mission in Kuala Lumpur doesn’t go exactly as planned. “I’ve got the first objective down, but… something weird here – I’m pretty sure he has a twin brother.” Comparing this to the line I mentioned from St. Petersburg Stakeout – that’s a pretty clear development of his self-esteem. He’s not as anxious anymore. He knows he can deal with whatever inconvenience gets thrown in his way. And that’s exactly what he does. He places a dongle on the computer and then completes his original contract during a rainy night literally running across the edge of a skyscraper. Although he might not be glad about that last part as he takes a breather and looks at the sky for a little bit.
The topic of Vittorio comes back after the missions in India (where there is not much to talk about except for maybe this one line he speaks to the ICA contact after the exchange – “Thank you – better get out of the way. This will get messy!”).
“Everyone is impressed and has been trying extra hard to find information on Vittorio – so far no luck.”, Diana states trying to up 47’s self-esteem and let him know that he’s a valuable asset to the Agency. “But rumors about your comeback are spreading. Your skills are in great demand by our customers.”
47 acts as if he didn’t hear that last line instead focusing on what he’s most interested in.
“So… no news on Vittorio’s whereabouts?”, 47 asks staring at his laptop.
“Well – basically still no news. Even though there have been some rumors suggesting Eastern Europe.”, Diana attempts to get out of this conversation.
“That’s not good enough. He might as well be dead then…”
“That is statistically very likely…”
“In that case”, 47 responds pausing to let out a painful sigh, “cancel my funding to track him down. Deposit my total fee in my usual account – and raise it by 50%. Terms non-negotiable.”
“47 – you do understand, that insisting on such terms, you most likely be sent out on more dangerous missions from now on. Some of those are going to be regular suicide missions!”
“I can handle it – just put me on my next assignment.”
Not only cutting the topic before it gets too uncomfortable but also escaping into his work. Feels like it’s Diana who is way more worried about him than he is…
This news took a bit of a hit on him, as once he gets into Nuristan, he comments: “Better look sharp, the locals seem edgy…” Maybe to remind himself that there is no time to be thinking about matters that are out of his hands and instead focus on the mission. It’s what he’s been doing this whole time, so it obviously must work.
Smith happened to find his way in here as well and he’s in trouble (again). The first thing 47 does is scold him for making too much noise. They’re not exactly on friendly terms, at least from 47’s point of view. The only thing he needs is information and he’s quite eager about it making Smith rush with his story. Learning that the assassins tailing our redheaded fella also know about 47 but don’t believe he actually exists, he offers to take care of them (and by extent – make them believe he does). Smith mentions to our protagonist that he shouldn’t feel bad about killing said assassins – they are not an endangered species anyways – which I thought was quite thematic.
An interesting comment comes out of 47’s mouth in regards to Doctor von Kamprad and the facility she’s working at. “Nice place – if you’re rich and sick. This Dr. von Kamprad probably has a big office upstairs where the wealthy patients receive their treatment.” A bit of a hypocritical statement, taking shots at being rich when he previously asked the Agency for more money himself. The question of – is 47 greedy? – always comes back in my head as the games send mixed signals. Even in Silent Assassin, it’s not obvious if he only does it to preserve his reputation but that reasoning is a lot more possible, especially compared to Blood Money where the point of our main character being greedy is so hammered in, it seems forced.
The rest of what happens is a lot more clear, though. Back in St. Petersburg, we learn that Sergei Zavorotko has set up a trap for 47 to fall into. Again confronted by his past, this time, our protagonist takes a more cold approach to the situation. Right after killing 17, something clicks. 47 takes a couple of cautious steps towards the body and kicks it to confirm his suspicions.
“Another “brother”…”, he mumbles to himself. “I thought I killed all of you. I wonder who’s behind this, trying to kill me with a lesser hitman.”
Still not making any rush movements, he unties the communication device from 17’s head to have a bit of a talk with Mr. Zavorotko.
“Sergei… 17 is gone. This is 47! (…) You had your chance, Sergei – now get off my back. Or I’ll slit your throat!”, he threatens him. Zavorotko knows how to play his cards right, however.
“…There must be some misunderstanding. Both me and my friend Vittorio think so…”
“…You got Vittorio…?”
“Let’s just say he’s here for… spiritual guidance.”
“Sergei…”, 47 cuts him off slowly realizing that this man was responsible for kidnapping his friend and getting him into this mess. “You keep Vittorio out of this! ..Understand?”
Saying those last few words to him, he throws away the device.
“Staging his own assassination. Doublecrossing creep.”, he mutters to himself.
There is nothing else on his mind now than getting out of Russia and back to Gontranno. His refuge, his Eden. Now taken over by Sergei’s goons. And Vittorio somewhere in the middle of all of this. This is clearly shown by using the white room symbolism once more and letting us hear a familiar sound – the church bells ringing in the distance. Calling for 47 to finally have his redemption. Zavorotko knows that our main character cares about the priest and uses that to his advantage. He lets 47 see him through holes in the wooden door to fuel his aggression and hopefully get himself killed. This is a great understatement of 47’s skills as he eliminates Sergei’s people and finishes off Zavorotko himself.
More white void happens in this scene. There is also some aspect ratio trickery going on for us to focus on specific events. First Sergei lying on the floor, 47 towering over him, then our protagonist staring at him angrily for a second before turning his eyes away and getting his revenge by shooting him one last time in cold blood.
Now that the evil has been repelled, it’s time to take care of the last matters before he leaves. 47 listens to what Vittorio has to say and offers a few words himself: “You have been a friend to me, but I must leave this place. As you see, I can be of better use elsewhere.” He knows that he can’t be tainting the church with his presence anymore. He’s already caused enough trouble by getting Vittorio into this. A notable little gesture is that after the priest says: “Promise me you will find the right path – promise me to live your life the right way. Promise me to follow your calling!”, 47 replies “I promise.” The ending monologue refers to this as well, although in a very different way than what Vittorio had in mind. What he doesn’t know is that 47 has been designed to kill and that is, in fact, his calling.
Even though, the crucifix is meant to protect 47 from harm, he still refuses to take it with him (although he is torn, as we see him looking at the crucifix and at Vittorio a couple of times before he parts ways with Gontranno). He knows God will not help him where he’s headed and will definitely not appreciate his deeds.
“Always knew I never belonged in this world. I wasn’t made for this.”, he pauses for a short nervous laugh. “But I’ll never forget – those who betrayed me, and those who never failed my trust. I’ll be carrying nothing from Gontranno – but this lesson: never trust anyone and rely on your instincts.”, he breathes in some air before the next line as if it hurts him: “Forget the past. I’ll never find peace here. So – I’ll seek justice for myself. I’ll choose the truth I like…”
Definitely of notice here is that after he leaves the crucifix on the door and exits the church grounds, he looks at his Silverballers, stashes them under his jacket and then walks away with his stare wandering the perimeter. Symbolically, the cross signifies Jesus’ victory over sin. 47 has an option to do the same, yet doesn’t, instead trekking back into the life of killing.
The ending of Silent Assassin is melancholic and that’s exactly what this last monologue feels like, especially when we look at it in context. I mentioned before that I don’t think 47 would speak of himself as a person. My reasoning for this is that he continuously talks about him having a use, as if he’s objectifying himself because he was created to kill. That never leaves his mind and he never truly copes with it. “I wasn’t made for this”, he states and I personally think this is the line that defines what his opinion is of himself.
It’s important to note, though that that doesn’t negate his moral journey throughout Silent Assassin. In fact, it enhances his personality and moral compass. He now sees the difference between good and evil. Realizes that what he is doing is wrong. But at the same time, it is him this time making choices and suffering consequences. “I’ll seek justice for myself. I’ll choose the truth I like.”, he says. This is the entire point of Silent Assassin. Embracing that some things cannot be changed and instead looking into the future. The lessons he’s learned didn’t go to waste and even though in his world, they are not much of use, that doesn’t mean he’s not a better person for knowing them.
“Forget the past.”
Relationship with Vittorio
Before we move to Contracts, let’s outline the relationship 47 has with Vittorio. This is mostly because I’ve seen enough people wondering if the priest is still alive or dead after the events of Silent Assassin. Obviously, the Enemy Within novel features him but as that’s not “strictly canon” meaning I still miss Mr. Nu, we cannot quote that as an answer. So let’s look at a few facts before I draw my conclusion.
As I’ve said before, 47 needs some guidance throughout his life. Padre Vittorio became his mentor when he ended up alone after the ending of Codename 47. He gave him a place to stay, a task to take care of and a person to speak to if needed. An outlet for emotions is always nice, doesn’t matter who you are. Not being a mindless killing machine is 47’s defining trait and what Silent Assassin based its story upon.
We don’t know how much time has passed since our main character entered the Gontranno grounds for the first time and, by extent, how long he knows Vittorio for. I don’t think this matter however, as the priest is the first person in 47’s life who doesn’t judge him for who (or what) he is. Padre Vittorio is exactly what 47 needs in his current situation – someone that can see good in him even though he doesn’t see it himself. And he might never see it.
He calls Vittorio a friend. That’s not something to take lightly. Remember that 47 is a loner. He doesn’t like keeping people by his side. He doesn’t even call Diana “a friend” until… well… Absolution… We’ll get to that…
Not only that, but Vittorio refers to him as a friend, too when they are reunited. He also gives 47 a vague hint during Redemption at Gontranno. Again, acting as his guide. He clearly cares about 47 and 47 cares about Vittorio. Rescuing the priest was the main driving force behind his actions and as we’ve heard from his conversations with Diana or Sergei, it was hard to keep his mind off Vittorio. He grasped onto every mention of his friend and didn’t want to let him go so easily. He killed Zavorotko in cold blood for starting this whole ordeal and staining the sacred ground with evil.
I don’t think 47 would leave Vittorio after all of this if his friend was indeed dying. He wouldn’t just let him go, he would help him in any way he could. Vittorio isn’t a random person that got dragged into this mess. He made 47 realize that there is more to this world than he thought. Remember how Diana was worried that the ICA would send 47 on suicide missions and he didn’t seem to care? Vittorio was the right person at the right time for 47. Our protagonist might have left the church but he’s done that to not endanger his friend, as he realizes that people will hunt him. Having connections is not only harmful to him but to the other person, as well.
Vittorio remains 47’s spiritual mentor and even though he’s never mentioned in the series again, I am quite sure 47 hasn’t forgotten about him.
Contracts brings us literally inside of 47’s mind, which means things should technically be easier. It’s never as simple as it sounds however. There’s a lot happening. Not only in the current day but also in the past, as 47’s thoughts are wandering around his previous missions. We will be taking a look at those, too. First, though – let’s watch the intro and try and outline the mindset our protagonist is in.
The true first thing we see in the Contracts opening is the TV quickly switching through channels. A bunch of white static and distorted images as well as sounds happen and this is a perfect introduction to what we’re about to experience. You know how not everything shown on TV is actually real? Even news reports, reality shows and documentaries “based” on real life events aren’t one hundred percent real. This television box is preparing us for what is to come – a series of events not entirely true. What happened previously is now presented to us in another way. From 47’s point of view. And as we soon see him being in less than stellar shape, this intro scene encapsulates one of my favorite methods of storytelling – the unreliable narrator.
The TV stops once it reaches channel 13, currently airing a segment on how handguns operate. White noise still happens occasionally, but it clears up to show us relevant information – and therefore set up the backstory in a very unique and creative way. (As you can see, this is starting to be a “This is why I’m a Contracts fangirl”.) The gun fires, we hear a loud bang, screams and a man yelling in French. We now have a location. We are in France.
The scene changes and what’s the most notable is the red wall (I wonder why…). 47 himself enters from the right and just by his shadow we can tell that he’s distressed. He looks to his lower left, puts his right hand on the wall and leans his body on it. Head moves upwards. Something’s wrong. He checks around the corner. The hall is clear so he takes a few steps entering the light. First is his face – something that doesn’t happen too often. We never see his face and for the right reasons (back to my “Let the show stop and the sky fall” piece with you!). Then, we finally get to know what made him so perturbed. A white shirt he’s wearing has been soaked with blood and he’s desperately trying to cover up the wound with his hand. The other hand now slowly touches it to see if it’s still bleeding.
“He knew me… actually recognized me and looked me in my eyes…”, we hear 47 commenting on the situation. “And he expected me”, he adds surprised. “as if – that’s impossible…”
Room 306 is the place he’s headed towards. Our protagonist obviously isn’t in a great position – we see him staggering as he’s walking and he rests on the door. 47 pulls out his Silverballer out of the holster. He still knows he should be careful, there might be someone waiting for him inside, too. His eyes are closed, though. Pain is taking its toll on him quicker than he’d like.
The doors slowly open squeaking and creaking. There’s no-one at the other side of it, our main character is safe. He tries to move forwards but the agony is too great. He pushes his hand on top of the wound, bends in half, drops his handgun and falls on the floor. Mouth open, clearly unconscious, his trusted Silverballer right by him. The screen tints to monochrome.
What an intro…
Let me just preface this by saying – a lot of effort has been put into Contracts. There are small details everywhere and I am sure I will miss at least some of them. That said – did you know our first encounter with 47’s mind playing tricks on him is in the title screen itself? If you put your gamma way up high and wait for the camera to be in a favorable position, you can actually make out what might to be Otto Ort-Meyer’s (?) body lying in the corner of the room. This is what I call a nice easter egg and a massive amount of appreciation for 47’s character. And to think, this was where the first writing team switch happened…
As we get into the game proper, we are welcomed back into the room 306. The colors aren’t desaturated anymore and there are slight differences. The Silverballer is facing towards our protagonist this time. We suddenly see a hand appearing from outside the view of the camera. Black gloves, white shirt and a black jacket make us know this is 47, too… or it’s the only 47 in the room after he shoots the lying figure in the head and proceeds into the white void. Gun first, his face says it all. He’s determined albeit cautious. He pulls the trigger once more before passing to the world of whiteness.
Here lays another person – someone we’ve seen before. Doctor Ort-Meyer struggles to get away from 47 as he steadily takes steps towards him. We can see he’s holding both of his Silverballer twins and is now staring at his “father” in a disdainful fashion. That is even more apparent once he folds his hands behind his back. His body language clearly shows he’s confident now that The Professor is on the verge of bleeding out. 47 kicks his arm, crouches in front of him, puts his guns on the floor and swiftly snaps Ort-Meyer’s neck. Interesting tidbit is that 47 was somewhat willing to listen to his final words and the snap happens once he exclaims “You broke my heart, my son.” 47 puts him down on the floor, picks up his own Silverballers and throws a last short stare at his father before disappearing back into the white void.
We’re back in Romania, year 2000 and what seems to be the aftermath of Meet Your Brother… or how 47 remembers it. Once we pick up Ort-Meyer’s car keys and look at his belt, we leave the white room and enter the asylum. The atmosphere is thick and grim, enhanced by a stormy night outside and the amazing, almost ethereal music by Jesper Kyd. Truth be told – we could have expected dead 48s and walls splattered with red liquid. What happened here was a massacre, we can’t deny that. Having dead bodies looking exactly like 47, though might feel uncomfortable but that’s not the only thing that can make you feel this way. Some scenes were definitely not a part of Meet Your Brother – like the hopelessly wandering around patients, one of the patients slicing clones in parts, seemingly frozen baby clones and embryos, a fella that has committed suicide by hanging and another one jumping from great heights right before our eyes. There are stories like these placed all over the facility. On the attic, we can see a dead patient with an enforcer sniper rifle next to him. If we get access to the rooms behind a keycard locked doors – we can look at the chamber in which clones were stashed. One for each of the Five Fathers. There is a red light flashing above Arkadij Jegorov’s. Maybe that’s 17? Especially fascinating is the corridor with a large mirror. As we enter it, we are facing said mirror. A window to another world, a reflection presenting us with consequences of our choices. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it?…
By the way – I really think not including the white bunny in the Romanian facility was a missed opportunity…
And have you ever looked at the paintings in presumably Kovacs’ office and the one on the opposite side? One of them is a rendition of Jacques-Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii yet with only a single figure pictured. The other one is The Coronation of Napoleon by the same artist. I’ll leave you to read about those on your own. There are also many other easter eggs like this, a bunch of them in the Romanian facility but if I was to list them all, this piece would be even longer than I was expecting (and it did have a working title of Big Project™). Your homework is to run around the asylum and look at stuff. Pronto!
Let us leave the hospital but still stay in Romania for one more mission. Although we can very clearly already assume that this country has left quite a mark in 47’s mind. In the cutscene preceding Meat King’s Party, we once again see our protagonist laying on the floor of the room 306. There are more slight differences. The saturation is still there, granted not as obvious (symbolizing 47 being more conscious?) and 47 face is angled a bit more downwards. His hand is also in the frame and bent even though he fell with arms in a different position.
The first thing he does is search for his Silverballer. He grabs it firmly and gets up as the colors go back to normal. 47 is obviously hurt, he immediately reaches for his wound signifying it’s bothering him a lot. He seems to have trouble walking. We see him slowly making his way into the bathroom to refresh himself. Lights flicker vehemently. 47 looks up and we can see a glaring surprise on his face. The white fog and flash come back as a meat hook materializes in his hand. The flashback is getting even more intense once a man’s head comes into the frame and we get to hear his muffled screams. The scene changes.
“Where did you see the girl?”, 47 demands.
After getting an answer from the butcher, he violently hits him with the meat hook after saying: “Good. Sleep tight.” Confident, that main character of ours. He wasn’t as confident in the previous scene but he was in the other flashback, too. Remember his posture and behavior when it came to dealing with Ort-Meyer? Something tells me 47 thinks highly of himself, maybe masking his weaknesses?
Meat King’s Party is another example of rough scenery, dead bodies and blood. Animal blood this time… well, mostly. The titular party happening this night takes place in a slaughterhouse and the guests don’t seem to mind the stench. There is one guy that does, however. Upstairs, in a secluded room there is a girl hanging from the ceiling. Dead, with her hand cut off. Not only this place is quite distressing due to the music playing. There are also a lot of car fresheners as her murderer – Sturrock’s brother – wanted to desperately get rid of the smell. 47 doesn’t seem to mind the horror-esque decor. In the conversation with Diana, he casually states “Some of her.” when asked if he can get the girl out.
An intriguing factor is also the addition of horses. I wouldn’t say these are common in slaughterhouses but what do I know?… Well, I do know that horses symbolize strength, power and freedom. This ties to my point of 47 thinking of himself as a powerful figure. The horses in Meat King’s Party are dead, though… Food for thought.
We’re back in room 306, this time looking at our main character from above. He’s managed to step outside of the bathroom but that’s all of the energy he had within him. We can see he’s bleeding quite heavily now. There is a pool of red liquid right next to him and 47 is clearly exhausted. His will and instinct are still present however, as even though he is in a horrible shape – he reaches for his Silverballer once he hears someone knocking at the door.
The wooden door suddenly opens. The white fogs fills the room and we can once again experience the magic of the white void. It’s snowing, too. Or at least it seems like it. We get a nice close-up at 47’s eyes – something we don’t see often – lids struggling to keep opened. He grunts a few times before giving up and lowering his head. His mind is still there, still listening to the surroundings. It’s playing tricks on our protagonist; a scene begins to play out before his eyes. A man shouting at somebody to hurry up.
“That’s Russian. Must be Bjarkhov’s base. Fuchs is probably off the plane already. Gotta be quick. It won’t be as easy getting off this plane as it was getting on.”, 47’s thinking as his mind transports him onto Fuchs’ plane.
This isn’t any of the Fuchs brothers we know from Traditions of the Trade, though. We will get to those. This is the third of the brothers – Fabian – and I find it interesting that he only seems to exist in 47’s flashbacks. That’s not to say he’s not real but as we’ll learn later on, 47 isn’t exactly great at remembering names.
Right after re-experiencing the snowy environment of Russia, 47 realizes who actually was at the door. A man carrying some sort of a bag exits the white void and the door closes bringing us back to reality. The man approaches 47, trying to communicate with him in French. When that doesn’t work and our protagonist doesn’t react to any of the stimuli, the man (who as we discover later is an ICA medic) grabs him and puts him on the table in the middle of our infamous room 306. Monsieur medic also likes to drink. The sound of liquid spilling onto 47’s stomach ends up being a trigger for another flashback.
This time, he’s back in England, hiding near a body of water. Also, have I mentioned that every mission takes place during a rainy night? That’s not because the developers were lazy. That’s the environment making its way into 47’s mind. It is literally raining and nighttime outside the hotel he’s staying at.
A couple of interesting facts about Beldingford Manor: besides the obvious pretty morbid backstory of this mission and the constant woman’s laughter suggesting the house might be haunted, the room where Alistair spends his time drinking wine is quite… odd. The painting above the fireplace is bleeding if shot. And remember how I mentioned horses during our visit in Sturrock’s slaughterhouse? This is the second time the horses are present and this time, 47 can poison them.
Back into room 306 and my personal favorite cutscene in Contracts. 47’s pain are so amazingly shown in his facial expressions, especially once monsieur medic digs his scalpel into our protagonist’s body. Show, don’t tell. It’s really all you need.
Here, we can also see our first glimpse of the outside world. A police vehicle arrives presumably somewhere close to the hotel. Monsieur medic knows he has to hurry up. He pushes the syringe into 47’s leg. Another flashback. This time, it’s the sounds of a conversation that does it. 47 is revisiting Rotterdam now, starting with quite a violent scene as a man slaps the woman accompanying him.
“Getting tired of this place. My targets have been right in front of me for days. But my weapons still haven’t arrived. I have to move out tonight… without them…”, 47 declares.
This quote is quite intriguing, especially if you listen to the performance. Again, there is slight sigh when he realizes he has to complete the mission without said weapons. He was planning a different approach but now has to improvise. He takes his work seriously. And he doesn’t exactly like sudden change of plans.
Deadly Cargo – the remake of both Gunrunner’s Paradise and Plutonium Runs Loose (and I’m saying this only for the obligatory: fuck Plutonium Runs Loose) is our first of repeated levels in Contracts. People always say this is lazy and yes, as far as I understand, this was done because of time constraints but as we’re now seeing these missions from 47’s point of view, we can compare them to what has actually happened. In Deadly Cargo, for example, the target is called Boris Ivanovitch Deruzhka even though we do in fact know that this man is one of the Five Fathers – and his name is Arkadij Jegorov. Interestingly enough, his proper name is on one of the tanks in the closed-off section of Asylum Aftermath…
The cutscene afterward presents us with our protagonist still in pain, as we can envision based on his facial expressions (again, show, don’t tell – such a wonderful tool!). The whiteness appears once more, this time as he’s taking out the syringe out of his leg. This brings us to Hungary and the fan-favorite mission in both games it appears in.
Traditions of the Trade. I don’t think I even have to mention the ghost and the murder mystery of this level. Again, the differences are fascinating to look at, even though this mission is almost the same in Contracts as it was in Codename 47. The ghost story aspect always intrigued me though, as it is a figment of 47’s imagination. Does this mean the deaths he witnessed haunt him in his dreams? The names of the targets check out this time, so no theories here.
Our main character makes his way into the bathroom again, where he cleans and patches himself up. The French police is setting up outside of the hotel (and it’s in Paris! There’s the Eiffel Tower in the background, so it’s obviously Paris!), looking through the sniper rifle scope at 47 whilst he’s dressing up. The last shot of this cutscene shows our protagonist concerned. His night isn’t over just yet.
We then can re-experience the Hong Kong levels in their full glory. Slaying a Dragon features, what appears to be, an assassin hideout. The Wang Fou Incident is home for Ort-Meyer’s keycard located in Lee Hong’s office. That keycard allows access to the closed-off rooms in the Romanian asylum. Lee Hong Assassination itself contains a scene with Lei Ling. And this is why I said to have the kissing scene from Codename 47 in mind (although that was a while ago, so you might not remember it anymore…). We’ll tackle that at the end of this segment as we have not much left to go. And we have a fantastic cutscene to witness.
I simply love how the shots imply something a lot worse than actually ends up happening. 47 resting his head on his hand, the close-up on the bullets in front of him, him picking up the bullet, contemplating.
“This room… this bullet… there’s a bullet for everyone. And the time, and the place. An end.”, he voices his thoughts as he’s loading up his trusted Silverballer. “…Yes. Maybe this is how it has to be?…”
He almost puts down the gun but decides against it as he’s staring at it longingly. The camera switches to a view outside of the hotel and we hear a loud bang. Smoke grenades start flying towards the window. Some of them manage to get their way inside. We’re back to 47, grabbing a glass of water. His mindset is getting clearer now.
“Inspector… you’ve obviously learned too much about me. I can’t have that. Not even in my death.”, he says with his full confidence and determination as he stands up grabbing his Silverballers.
Goddamnit, I love that scene…
Disregarding my personal feelings, though, our protagonist avoids the French police and eliminates the main perpetrator of this mess. Albert Fournier dies and 47 escapes with a bit of help from the Agency. Onboard of a plane, he meets up with Diana Burnwood herself.
“You shouldn’t be here.”, are his first words to her. “You know what happened?”
“That’s why I’m here. I don’t know who tipped them off. I barely made it out of Paris myself.”(Unrelated note: why was she in Paris, hmm?…)
47 doesn’t respond. Instead, Diana continues with a question:
“How’s your wound?”
“Your doctor saved my life.”, he explains looking to the side and through the window. Diana starts telling him about the troubles the ICA is facing but 47 doesn’t seem interested in that.
“I’ll lay low until the Agency solves out its problems. If it takes more than two months – I’ll find another employer.”
Diana hits him with more news. Apparently the pressure the ICA is facing revolves around 47 himself. He doesn’t react to that fact staring firmly at the seat in front of him. She hands him the files and that’s what makes him acknowledge the situation.
“Hmm… this is serious business…”, he realizes. “Do you have this kind of money?”
“It’s under your seat.”, Diana reveals. 47 turns his head again, rests on his seat and we see him through the window, staring into the sky.
Relationship with Lei Ling
Since this is the last game she appears in, we might as well get this out of the way now, before heading off into Blood Money.
Honestly, I think this is the character 47 cares about the least out of all of them. They only meet up three times in the course of three games and one of these is a flashback (so obviously the most important encounter overall). First, we see Lei Ling in The Lee Hong Assassination back in Codename 47. There, she is merely a tool to get information about Lee Hong’s safe as she stole the combination from one of the pockets of his trousers. As 47 is so focused on his mission, there’s not much relationship building although, as I’ve mentioned before, he does catch her on their way down. The kissing scene is the key, so hang on just a tiny bit more.
Silent Assassin brings us to Japan, where we see Lei Ling once again. This time, she’s “with another hotshot crime lord”, in words of our protagonist. 47 scolds her (with great contempt) for “living a lousy life” and doesn’t care that his Chinese friend calls him her “number one”. He does show a bit more reaction to her calling him Mr. Rieper, to which 47 responds that it’s not his name anymore. Apparently, Hayamoto Senior is a rich bastard and Lei Ling’s bored, so she’s quite lucky to bump into the guy she’s hoping to be her next boyfriend. She definitely doesn’t appreciate his answer:
“Have to disappoint you. But you’re no good for me.”
“But… I can help you!”, Lei Ling exclaims immediately knowing that’s what 47’s always interested in – information. And as we’ve said before, our main character isn’t as keen about helping her this time.
There is one more encounter however that we have to go through. 47’s re-imagining of Lee Hong Assassination which also features our Chinese girlfriend. Her name is suddenly changed – something that happened with Arkadij Jegorov, too – our protagonist remembers it as Mei Ling. “Mei” Ling is a lot more insecure and almost scared in this version of not-really-reality. In exchange, 47’s way more compassionate towards her. They actually hold a proper conversation this time.
“Listen – I’m looking for a certain jade figurine.”, 47 mentions to her. “Any idea where I might find it?”
Chinese gal explains to him that there is a CIA agent locked up in the basement. She also informs him of Lee Hong’s “crazy sword” which, I swear, is just a figment of 47’s imagination. He once again helps her out and we’re back to the kissing scene! Finally…
“Thank you, gorgeous”, “Mei” Ling starts off. “This is where we split.”
“The combination to the safe?”, he asks reaching his hand towards her. She uses that opportunity to grab and kiss him before backing off.
“Oh yes, of course. I would give you more if I could. Bye, handsome!”
If you’d like a more hands-on experience with this part of the piece – members of the Hitman community; most notably Mr. EricTheAussie with help from the folks of the HitmanForum, have prepared a Hitman: Blood Money movie which I highly recommend.
Blood Money is where something was starting to go wrong when it comes to the direction 47’s character is heading. Obviously, I will always repeat that the main character of the game is Diana Burnwood but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing. In fact, this allows us to look at 47 from the distance – a feeling especially amplified because of the method of storytelling used in Blood Money. What we’re watching are mostly past events and there are massive holes in the stories because of the unreliable narrator who this time happens to be the lying bastard Alexander Cayne (I still refuse to call him Jack).
First of all – we have to look at 47’s behavior in Death of the Showman. The line everybody just loves and quotes all the time is said at the beginning of this mission and marks the first time in the series where I think 47 sounds… odd. I’m talking of course about “Names are for friends. So I don’t need one.”
Yes, it sounds cool and badass and all of that. But if you’ve read this entire piece up to this point, I’m pretty sure you can understand why this line feels out of place. That said – we don’t know when exactly Death of the Showman occurs. What we do know it’s that it’s after Silent Assassin. It sounds even weirder if we have the ending of Silent Assassin in mind, but I give it a benefit of the doubt as we don’t know what exactly happened between then and now.
The execution of Joseph Clarence occurs in, probably the most disturbing way that has ever been shown in the series. The community still talks about how they were shocked and felt bad for killing Swing King. For 47 he’s just another target. Just another job. He takes on the mask of the assassin every time as he puts on his black leather gloves.
I think now is the great time to notice how the story paints agent 47 in the long run. The interview we’re seeing is filled with phrasings that are meant to make the public (and by extent – us) believe that he’s a shadow. This amazing Silent Assassin. This… ghost. Just listen to this:
“Rick. My apologies. This “interview” about me is just a cover for a more sensitive story.”, Cayne explains as he gets out of bed and prepares himself to converse with the journalist. “I’m sorry to have lured you here under false pretenses, but I couldn’t risk a leak.”
Rick frowns in confusion.
“I’m not sure I understand…”
“Don’t worry; it’s the scoop of the century!”
The short cutscene we see after that is of 47, sitting in his hideout and pushing a small storage device into his tiny computer (that puny laptop is adorable… I swear, it’s the cutest!). Not much to talk about here. We can see a change in him since we’ve left him in Sicily. He’s a lot more comfortable about what he does, even going so far as to rest on his arm to read the briefing.
Back to our beloved interview – Rick is calling out Cayne on his bullshit. “The scoop of the century is a couple of wine guys getting whacked in Chile?” The music gets all dramatic and the camera shows Cayne as simply a silhouette as he reveals that behind it all stands Mr. 47.
“The bald killer clone? Come on, Jack. He’s an urban legend. Even the CIA and your own FBI say he doesn’t exist.”, Rick says.
See what I mean now? The storytelling presents us agent 47 as this mythical assassin. Emotionless and merciless in regards to his victims. This is also what a lot of people actually believed without looking further into it. The more you know!
The library scene doesn’t give us a lot of information (again) but there is an interesting tidbit here. Remember how I mentioned paintings in Contracts’ Asylum Aftermath? We can catch a glimpse of Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulip before the pillars covers it up. Most likely hinting at the overall theme of the game – once again trying to understand and perfect a human being. (Although personally, I liked the Deus Ex Human Revolution version of this reference better.) A nice gesture is that 47 this time folds his hands right after inputting his login details.
Curtains Down happens and our protagonist gets shot. We see him in a completely different state in Contracts – broken and fragile. And then he comes back to talk with Diana in a confessional booth before Flatline. He appears agitated and not keen to work with her. Maybe he’s beating himself up for his moments of weakness. Or maybe he’s not happy about the troubles the Agency is facing. Either way, Diana is trying to calm him down.
“I’m sorry we have to meet like this.”
“It’s dangerous to meet in person. You’re normally more prudent. What’s going on?”, 47 asks in a demanding tone.
Diana hands him over the briefing, to which he replies that he’ll read it later. Clearly trying to cut this meeting short.
“How’s that wound healing?”
“Fine. Are we done here?”, he responds angrily.
He also hardly cares about getting out the CIA agent – and by extent, the informer – alive from the facility. Although he does take interest in money.
“That raises my price.”, he mumbles.
Again, I find this line very odd as, given the impression I had in Silent Assassin, 47 asked for raising his payment there to protect his reputation after it was damaged. We see a bunch of evidence for 47’s alleged greed in Blood Money, however and this is the first of them. In Flatline, we meet up with Smith and this time, it’s not the greatest of meetings. But we will talk about it in a bit.
Before all of that, we got told by Cayne that agent 47 is a perfect clone and a weapon. “There’d be nothing to stop a rogue state from building an entire platoon of 47s! A whole army! (…) Medicine won’t do us any good if we’re all slaves of some clone-army dictatorship, will it? (…) we had to eliminate 47. Having him on the loose… was just too dangerous.” Don’t believe everything you hear, kids. Having an army of 47s specifically would probably end up terribly from what we’ve learned about the man himself! (I also apologize for this messy way of presenting information. Blood Money’s method of storytelling isn’t exactly easy to work with.)
“You actually caught him?” is a line we hear coming from Rick’s mouth the next time we see Cayne’s residence.
“We didn’t just catch your “urban legend”. We killed him.”, the man reveals through gritted teeth.
He later goes on about how agent 47 clearly must have killed his creator and stole his research to sell it to the highest bidder. The wording used is meant to make us compassionate for Ort-Meyer (“We found a surveillance tape. It clearly showed Mr. 47 killing the guards and snapping poor Ort-Meyer’s neck.” – I fixed the name spelling for you, lads!).
The restaurant is where we can once again hear 47 and Diana interacting with each other. Our protagonist is observing the two guys sitting in front of him – one of them in a silly red crow suit – and Diana is feeding him info via cellphone. There is also a briefcase involved.
“There’s the handoff.”, 47 exclaims.
“Follow that briefcase, 47. It’s the only lead we’ve got.”
He stands up and nonchalantly throws a coin on the table. OK, I might have been stretching the truth a little bit when I said “interacting”. We don’t see much of it in Blood Money. Shame, as it would definitely enhance the ending. You’ll see what I mean.
Right before You Better Watch Out, we finally meet 47’s companion – the yellow canary cheerfully chirping in a cage. He pets the bird clearly in a better mood than we’ve seen him earlier. He seems more relaxed, as conveyed by his facial expression but also in how he’s speaking to Diana. The game is now building a false sense of security as 47 only glances over “a thing that required his attention” like it wasn’t a big deal. The ICA has a delicate mission for him this time and he accepts the offer immediately (with an affirmative “Mh-hm”) as he’s “always interested.”
And now we’re up to the cutscene that everybody and their mother always is confused about. I am, too. I’m talking of course about the scene that happens before Till Death Do Us Part. In it, we can see 47 in, what appears to be a hotel room. From his face, we can assume he’s quite bitter. Especially after he hears someone knocking on the door. He immediately readies up his Silverballer and carefully takes the envelope from the postman. “Hm… code red…”, 47 grumbles. This prompts him to convince the postman to enter his room and then shoots him in cold blood leaving the body in the bathroom. This doesn’t sound like something 47 would normally do but we also have no idea what “code red” means. I personally don’t believe our protagonist would ever kill a completely innocent person, unless they were a witness. Therefore, the version I’m sticking to is that whatever “code red” is, it required 47 to eliminate the postman. It’s really the best explanation I could give without sounding like I’m defending the writing too much. Moving on!
“Nice to be back in civilization, 47?”, we hear the voice of Diana as the camera shows us the always excited canary.
“It suited me. I had some business to attend to.”
The handler goes on about how the Agency is still in trouble and losing agents. 47 hardly cares about it, though. He gets a lot more talkative once the subject gets around to his next mission. Even goes as far to call his targets an “interesting trio”.
Let’s skip forward to Dance With The Devil. Or right before Dance With The Devil, to watch how our protagonist shuts down Diana’s comments about the state of the ICA with what I can only describe as greed. The second The Franchise gets mentioned, 47 links the events together and replies with:
“The Franchise… That’s Parchezzi’s group. What’s their business here tonight?”
“I think you are. You and I are all that’s left of the Agency, 47. And I doubt I’ll survive much longer.”
Sad news but not very convincing.
“I’m sorry to hear that. Has my fee been transferred?”, he quickly changes the topic as he’s looking at the building he’s parked in front of.
The sentence mentioning his payment sounds a lot more serious and demanding than any other line in this scene. And it’s not the last time when that’s the case.
Very shortly after, our good friend Smith manages to get inside 47’s escape car. He reveals himself as they’re driving an empty road and immediately gets punched in the face. The vehicle stops and our protagonist drags Smith out of the car to push him to the ground with his Silverballer.
“Just… relax. Please. You’re my only hope, there’s no-one else…”, Smith tries to calm him down.
“Your only hope for what?”
Redhead fella informs 47 about “their” (“You know! Them!” –I fixed the subtitles again, lads!) plans of eliminating the president to prevent him from getting re-elected but that’s not a topic 47 fancies. “I don’t play politics. Now give me one good reason why I shouldn’t put a bullet in your head.” Smith’s reasoning for this is… *drumroll*:
“I’ve got millions… Got the diamonds back there, red suitcases, worth millions. All yours.”
This is apparently enough for 47 as he asks what his mission is and urges Smith to show him the money.
“I’ll contact you with instructions on how to get me the rest of the money upfront. And how to get me the mission details.”, he announces playing with the sack of diamonds.
“But then how can I be sure–”
“If you’re on the level, I’ll do the job. If you’re not, you won’t be needing the money…”, 47 cuts him off.
He enters the car and drives away leaving Smith stranded in the middle of nowhere. If you’ve been reading my opinion pieces on the HITMAN episodes story, you might recall that there is another line in Blood Money that solidifies 47’s feelings about “playing politics”.
“…we’re all quite pleased to have you on this assignment, Mr. 47. The nations gratitude–”
“Skip the patriotism, Smith…”, he interrupts him. The squeaking rubber ducky doesn’t disrupt him as he discusses important matters with Smith.
“Can I do anything else for you? I’m looking forward to finally working with you.”
“I’ll contact you if I need any more information. Beyond that: never contact me in person again.”
There is another line I’d like you to have a look at before we move on. During Amendment XXV, we meet up with our favorite albino clone – Mark Parchezzi III. Mr. Parchezzi tells 47 that it’d be ill-advised to kill him.
“I’m just like you.”
Not a care in the world.
“We’re practically brothers. You can’t shoot me.”
“I can do whatever I’m paid to.”, is our protagonist’s response, proving that he’s completing this mission only for money.
As you can see – there’s not much to 47’s character in Blood Money. Especially not compared to Silent Assassin or Contracts. What the meat of this whole thing is, though is the cutscene we are about to have a look at. Yes, my friends. We are loading Requiem.
The first shot presents us with 47’s hideout as the man himself is cleaning his tools of the trade with his trusting companion by his side. The bird gets anxious, which doesn’t escape 47’s attention. He realizes that something’s wrong. He’s not safe. He slides a magazine into the pistol, quietly stands up, grabs the cage and rushes to hide behind a corner. He reaches to turn off the radio and, unfortunately, silence the best character in the game – the yellow canary. A person shows up in his hideout. 47 waits for a chance to strike and once he does, the woman exclaims: “Calm down, 47, it’s me. Diana!”
“What are you doing here?”, he asks her still aiming the Silverballer at her chest.
“Easy. I had to sneak in. The place is surrounded by hundreds of SWAT team members right now. They’re getting ready to move in. I had to warn you. There’s still time for you to escape. I’ve got a plan.”, Diana explains quickly.
Notice how our protagonist reacts to this news. He puts down his gun and his face conveys worry. He snatches the files out of her hand, turns his head towards her as if to take a glimpse of her and starts reading. In the meantime, Diana takes a few careful steps. She moves the Silverballer out of 47’s reach whilst he’s focused on the folder.
He isn’t happy about Diana’s plans. He’d rather get out of the country. He sits down in his usual Blood Money fiercely fashion but lets his handler justify that fleeing the US wouldn’t solve their problems.
“You know my terms. Cash on the nail.”
“Don’t you get it?!”, she back talks (and I agree with her. Just stop forcing your alleged greed!). “You have to fight them. But if you try to do it alone – you’re a dead man.”
“Death is always a risk.”
Diana gently puts her hand on his shoulder preparing herself to stab him with a death serum-filled syringe. 47 thinks he’s perfectly safe – Diana wouldn’t just attack him. They’ve known each other for years, she said she trusts him multiple times, she wouldn’t…
“Bitch!”, 47 yells rapidly turning around and trying to push her off.
The serum works fast, but notice how Diana still pushes the other Silverballer away from his hands.
The last time we see our protagonist is during the ending which is left vague, so there’s not much to say. 47 arrives in an Asian-looking place and introduces himself as Mr. Johnson. He’s protective of his briefcase, clearly not willing to give it up to some random stranger. He did hear interesting things about the man’s establishment though. Whatever that means however, we might never know…
Relationship with Smith
The relationship with our favorite redheaded CIA agent is… complicated to say the least. There is clearly a difference in 47’s behavior before and after the news revealing that he was manufactured. Since Smith was the driving force behind delivering said news to our protagonist, I think we know why their relationship got tainted.
Obviously, it’s not that Smith was responsible for this change. In fact, I’d say he’s done a correct thing by informing 47 of the events happening in the Romanian facility. I also believe – deep down, 47 is glad that this occurred, too but simply doesn’t want to admit it. Comparing Lee Hong Assassination might help us understand this a tiny bit better.
In Codename 47, the underground portion of the restaurant is where our two lovebirds meet for the first time. 47 is so focused on the mission at this point that he doesn’t care about anything else. “Just the man I was looking for!”, he exclaims. There’s not much to this scene. Smith is pleased that somebody came to rescue him and is willing to give out info about Lee Hong’s safe for his freedom. He doesn’t have to ask either, as it’s our protagonist who offers “Let me help you out of here.”
In the Contracts version of this scene, 47 is a lot more violent when it comes to breaking Smith out of captivity. Our redheaded fella also seems scared of what 47’s going to do once he picks up a plank. He helps him get up and only then, they have a conversation.
“Thanks, man. Thank you.”, Smith mutters. 47 cuts him off.
“I need Lee Hong’s jade figurine. I’m told you know where it is.”
“Uh… you don’t know what they’ve done to me… My God; first they took a chair…”
“Where’s the jade figurine?”, our protagonist requests already sounding annoyed because of Smith’s complaining.
The information is being traded. Afterward, 47 simply says: “Go take care of yourself.” Smith reacts by thanking him once more as well as telling him that he hopes they will end up meeting in more favorable circumstances.
“Yes… that might seem possible to you…”, 47 grunts.
Isn’t this last line interesting if we take into consideration that this is how our main character remembered his first meeting with agent Smith? I wish we also got to revisit their exchange in The Setup, too but alas, that was not the case. Let’s have a look at the original scene then. Back to Romania we go!
“Wake up!”, 47 scolds Smith when he finds him mumbling to himself in the asylum.
Our favorite redheaded guy thinks the man standing in front of him is simply a figment of his imagination and asks for an antidote. 47 complies, he’s a lot more willing to help Smith out. And this is the last time he thinks of him that way. Right after this scene, Smith shows him the secret basement, leading him straight into Ort-Meyer’s lab.
Tubeway Torpedo is next and, as I’ve mentioned before, it’s the first time they meet up after Romania. 47 is obviously bitter about this whole situation. Folding his hands, his face clearly disgusted as he looks at Smith. He tries to get this done as fast as he can, cuts off Smith multiple times. Doesn’t care about the redheaded fella thanking him and he doesn’t want to shake his hand at the end. Their relationship was ruined but not because of any of the sides. It’s because Smith was the messenger of news 47 didn’t approve of. “Thought I’d seen the last of you back in Romania.” is the line that says it all.
One more in Silent Assassin. Temple City Ambush. Starting from here, Smith was starting to get used more as a comedic relief, which I don’t really agree with as I think the character has potential to be something a bit more. He’s a skilled agent! Just a bit clunky at times… He says it best himself: “Holy cow, it’s you, 47! My old buddy! I thought I’d never see you ever again! I always end up in some (…) trouble…” Our redheaded fella is kind of drunk, so excuse him fumbling as he’s speaking. “You know how many times I’ve been tortured now?” Oh, we know. 47 probably thinks you don’t really have to remind him, Smith. He cuts to the chase.
“The Agency told me your my source of information. I have to get close to the cult leaders.”
Smith is quite happy about this turnaround. “Alrighty then!”, he exclaims. He explains to 47 that before he can give out his intel, there are assassins trying to get to him and who’s better to send after assassins than a better assassin?
“Hmm… you know who they are?”, our main character asks.
“What? Am I a trained agent or not, buddy?”
Smith goes on about the conversation he’s been listening to last night and about his plans to stay in this small closed off building. He has enough food to survive and…
“And they are?”, 47 repeats sounding annoyed already.
They come up with a plan, eliminate the threat (well, our protagonist does) and split up to encounter each other once more after a couple of years. During Blood Money. In Flatline.
As 47 seems consistently angry throughout Blood Money, this is another example of said behavior.
“You… I should have known…”, he starts out this confrontation.
47 doesn’t seem to care about what happened to Smith, he just wants to get the required info and get things done. Redheaded CIA agent knows by this point that every time they meet up, it ends up working out in a similar fashion:
“Figures… they’d send you to clean up my mess. This is the guy, right here.”, he declares handing 47 the photograph of the target.
“I’m getting you out of here.”
“They’ll never let me out alive.”, Smith argues.
Smith started out as a neutral contact and ended up being just an annoyance, as shown in the cutscenes before Amendment XXV. 47 doesn’t care what happens to him anymore but to be fair, he doesn’t truly care about anyone rather than himself from Blood Money onwards. I feel that’s more of a problem with how our main character is written rather than how Smith is. His characterization is simply following the premise of Temple City Ambush, where he’s meant to be shown as a drunk awkward agent that gets himself in unfortunate situations from time to time. Too much of that and Smith ended up being a one trick pony even though the relationship between him and 47 has so much potential to be complex and great. Which brings us to…
Relationship with Diana
This is an interesting topic that I will probably not cover fully even though I’d really like to. There are so many small tidbits and dialogues that I’m sure I’ll miss some of them. Others, I just won’t mention to speed things up. I’m doing this now, before we head into Absolution to show you exactly how much potential Absolution’s story had compared to how in turned out. Remember how I said that Vittorio used to be 47’s guide when he needed a mentor? Focus on that a little bit, because Diana is someone 47 deeply needs even if he doesn’t quite realize it. Diana is the first person that cares about him, that wants to help him because of who he is and not simply because he’s a killer. There is a lot of intriguing chemistry going on there and I’d like us to take a closer look at it.
Her first briefings are on the more professional side. She talks about how the Hong Kong missions are pretty complex and will require multiple approaches to get to Lee Hong. She adds “Best wishes” right before The Lee Hong Assassination, she allows herself for more personal comments before Gunrunner’s Paradise (“If that’s a coincidence, it is one weird coincidence…”), praises 47 for his job well done and is obviously worried about him before The Setup (“The customer only wants you! This is understandable considering your track record. But it reeks. The next mission is very simple so do me a favor – stay cool, no matter what happens.”).
Silent Assassin is where their relationship shines. It develops in a great way throughout the game. Starting by Diana making fun of 47 for calling Vittorio his “friend” and asking him if he’s sharp enough to carry out the assignment. She continuously tries to get him on the Agency’s side after he’s disappeared for two years after the events in the Romanian asylum but as she gets to know 47 more and more, we can see her shift from being devoted to the ICA (“We’re all happy your back doing business for us. This mutual arrangement we made to rescue your friend and mentor – padre Vittorio, means you will have to take care of a number of mafia members (…)”, “The Agency does however feel that we fulfilled our end of the deal and expect you to comply with the terms”). Her tone throughout the first few missions of the game is quite condescending, as if she doesn’t consider 47 worthy of having such a high status after he let the Agency down. This changes mission to mission, as Diana feeds him info during the tasks themselves (most notably St. Petersburg Stakeout and At the Gates). There is also this line: “Be careful, 47 – rumor has it there’s a very powerful foe lurking in the shadows somewhere close to the cult leader, wherever he is.” proving that Diana actually cares about her agent.
What I always enjoyed about Silent Assassin’s portrayal of their relationship is how it wasn’t one way only. Yes, 47 doesn’t speak much outside of his close circle of acquaintances but just look at the amount of banter he does with Diana. Remember how he requests more money to protect his reputation effectively confusing her to the point of stuttering? And how she reveals she’s worried about him for taking on what might be suicide missions?
But he isn’t the only one to point things out. Diana repeatedly mentions that 47’s is supposed to be silent during the task he’s been given. “Absolutely nobody in the meeting room except for the target must be harmed. This is very important, 47.”, she says to him before St. Petersburg Stakeout. “Keep it clean, 47!”, she ends up her briefing for Tubeway Torpedo.
And I really like how she wishes 47 “Happy hacking!” as he’s heading into The Graveyard Shift.
Silent Assassin is truly a gem when it comes to the relationship of 47 and Diana. It feels so natural, so well paced. Diana still keeps up her professional side whilst allowing herself for more personal remarks from time to time. They end up growing fond of themselves as we later see in Meat King’s Party – “You assume correctly as usual. Carry on, 47.” – and before it – “It’s a pleasure to be working with you again.”
Of course, all of this is used against 47 in Blood Money, where Diana – a cunning woman that she is – abuses his trust towards her to fool him into believing he’s in danger. In fact, the biggest threat to 47 in that place and time was Diana herself. They finish off that story arc on a somewhat wrong foot and I remember always wanting to know how their relationship will play out in the next installment of the series. 47 isn’t exactly happy about what Diana’s done. Granted, she saved his life but she also assaulted him and kept him in the dark about her plan. I imagine her reasoning was that if 47 realizes why he’s being targeted by The Franchise (and by extent – Alpha Zerox), he will take it too personally. She remembers what happened last time he’s been hit with the news of cloning and genetic modifications and doesn’t want him to get off the radar once more.
Keep in mind, though, that her plan worked only because 47 needs Diana. He’s dependent on her. He needs somebody to keep him accountable. He reaches out to other people to do the same if he’s lost. That’s what happens with Vittorio. That’s what had the most potential to be explored in Absolution.
In Absolution, 47 finds himself in an inopportune predicament. His handler – Diana Burnwood has been working against the Agency for quite some time now and a kill order has been issued. Who’s better suited to perform this task than a man highly reliant on said woman? Nothing’s going to go wrong, as 47 is willing to think of her only as his target now.
After he’s armed himself for the mission, he leaves his hideout and follows the street where he looks at his reflection in a glass storefront. It’s obvious now that he’s trying to detach himself as much as he can. This is also shown when he states “Reasons are irrelevant” to Benjamin Travis’ explanation of why they chose him. That really doesn’t go well. The briefings screens, this time narrated by 47 himself, remind us that he might be a hard shell on the surface but inside, he’s hurt by the mission he has to perform.
“Personal note: Diana saved my life. Although the grounds for termination are just; I take no pride in this assignment.”
I don’t exactly know how 47 is able to judge the reasoning behind the kill issue if he only heard one side of the story but hey, we’ll go with it… Consider this the beginning of weird circumstances and actions happening just because. Also – when has Diana saved your life? Do you mean in Contracts? Or in Blood Money? Cause if we’re talking Blood Money, I’d say you were quite furious about not knowing what’s going on… I guess I’m mimicking you now by being frustrated I know nothing about what’s going on… fitting.
47 manages to get to Diana’s bathroom where she’s currently taking a shower. She turns around in the exact right moment to say a word. “Wait.” The next shot (literally) is where the entire plot of Absolution shatters (literally) and the character progression of 47 makes zero sense throughout the game. Let me explain…
If you remember my Part 6 of the original Storyline write-up, you know that I’ve already mentioned this. Still, I don’t want you to get through my frustrations with this game twice, so let’s recap: the entire premise behind Absolution is that 47 kills Diana. This creates a huge gap in his life as he was depending on Diana to be his guiding force for so long. He has no-one to turn to. He is on his own for the first time in ages and it bugs him. He also learns that Victoria has been genetically modified by the exact organization he’s been working for. He trusted them, at least on the business level. And now they turn against him.
That’s a great base to build your story upon. I am not going to lie. The thing is – if we plot twist it at the end so it’s revealed 47 didn’t actually kill Diana then all of this falls into pieces. For starters – does 47 know he hasn’t killed Diana? Did he make a mistake? He confirmed the kill. Would a legendary assassin like himself make such a great error? Was he helping her? Was he in cahoots with her? If he knows she’s not dead then why is her supposed death bother him so much? I’d really like somebody to explain this to me, cause I’ve tried. Many times. As you’ve seen. And for the life of me. I can’t. Moving on…
“I should kill you. Why did you do this?”, 47 asks after completely disregarding Travis trying to reach him and lowering his Silverballer. He crouches next to her, grabs her hand. We now see his blue eyes as he tries to interrupt her: “Diana, I…”
“No. I had to take her away from the doctors. I knew you would understand.”
This somehow triggers a flashback… which is completely not how flashbacks work. Contracts did it well – it presented the event that’s similar to what’s happened and then went off there. Like the sounds of water reminding 47 of the lake near Beldingford Manor.
Going back to Diana and 47, though – she requests that he grabs a letter out of her robe (that she’s prepared before and was carrying with her?… what?) and promises her that he’ll not let the ICA “turn [Victoria] into you”. A bit condescending, don’t you think? Sounds like she’s objectifying him and I think we were long past that point in their relationship… There is also a coin that serves as a memento. Or is meant to because it never ends up being anything and is almost never shown again afterward. 47 says “I promise” as he closes the door to the bathroom and enters his life without Diana Burnwood.
This life feels like it is once again filled with anger as he snarls at Victoria to get out of the house and enter the car. He rips the communication device out of his ear and throws it on the ground before leaving Diana’s mansion. They drive to the outskirts of the city to burn the evidence and have a little talk before deciding on what to do next.
“Why did the Agency want you?”, 47 asks her after getting rid of the car. He doesn’t care about her non-answer, therefore turns around and aims his Silverballer at the girl “Diana did this for you. Why?”
“Please. She was my only friend. She took my away from the doctors.”, she quickly “explains”.
This triggers another flashback for some reason, because this is exactly how flashbacks work, as well as an immediate mood switch in 47.
“Tell me about the doctors.”, he inquires through his teeth.
“It’s really blurry, like… a very bad dream. Why?”
“We need to go.”, the scene ends as it has no idea where to go next.
From this point on, 47 starts somewhat caring about Victoria. Mostly because Diana’s asked him to. He hurries her to an orphanage where she is supposed to be safe (“This is the safest place I know.” – how exactly do you know that? Just because?). And then immediately leaves her there, with zero regards towards Diana’s wish of taking care of the girl.
After eliminating the King of Chinatown, 47 enters the bird’s nest. On the way, he throws in (in the most patronizing manner possible) some change for a homeless guy sitting peacefully and minding his own business. Our protagonist meets up with Birdie to barter for some information about the Agency and Victoria. Birdie comes to a conclusion that 47’s crazy based on the fact that he seeks intel about the ICA and I have to agree. This 47 is a bit odd, looking back at what we’ve learned about his character… He accepts to “pay” Birdie by giving him away his trusted Silverballer twins. Although he hesitates a bit, there is just no other option. The plot has to move forward somehow. (You know – this is a basis for a really great personal conflict that could have been introduced here. 47’s been relying on these guns for ages, don’t you think he’d be less willing to part with them?)
We move to 47’s room for the pre-Terminus cutscene. If you’ve been reading my original Storyline write-up, you might remember how I quite blatantly said this: “Fuck this cutscene and everything that’s happening in it. I’m not going to go into details, but just so you know – I despise this cutscene. A lot.” I apologize if this is getting too much “This is why Absolution is bad” but unfortunately, all of this is relevant to 47’s character… or the lack of understanding of his character…
The scene shows us 47 sitting in his puny room. Waiting. For what? Even he doesn’t know. He’s remembering the moment of “killing” Diana (you know what I mean by the story making 0 sense if you take that away?), the imagery is getting more intense, the feeling it’s giving out is raw, dirty. 47 takes a razor and slashes his barcode. The emotions we’re seeing here are anger, frustration and disgust. The complete opposite of what we know about 47. Compare this to his portrayal in Silent Assassin where even though he’s trying to deal with the news of being a clone engineered to kill – he goes out to see another purpose in life. He’s willing to give himself a chance to commit good deeds even though he believes he can never be saved by God. Compare this to Contracts which shows 47 in a fragile state. In Contracts, everything is subtle. It’s elegantly directed and presented to us, in a way that allows for empathy. Absolution’s pre-Terminus scene bases itself on the idea that it has to come to this big conclusion and it chooses to use self-harm as shock value. It’s almost disrespectful. The funny part is – they had it partially right the first time. In the “Full Disclosure” app, this scene is shown in its first form. It presents us 47 being completely drunk and wanting to attempt suicide but the barcode slashing scene is only shown via a few quick white flashes. This little difference makes it look a lot better as it demonstrates the action as confusing and sort of a “what have I just done?” state. Still, the entire cutscene – in this and in the first draft – is simply insulting. Especially to the previously established character of 47.
Excuse my ramblings and let’s enter the Terminus Hotel. Our protagonist says in the briefing that “Birdie’s intel is never wrong. (…) The Agency would never share their secrets with outsiders; someone else must have leaked the information. But who? I can’t trust anyone. All I know is that the girl is innocent. She doesn’t deserve this.” We have another example of “just because” as basing anything on ten lines of non-answer dialogue from Victoria isn’t the most logical reasoning. After the run-ins with Blake Dexter and, most importantly, Sanchez, 47 wakes up in a burning hotel room where we can see him shocked about the dead service worker. Interestingly enough – this is exactly what should not unsettle him as we know from the Ort-Meyer’s diary that 47 isn’t bothered by violence even if he’s the one committing it.
Running away from the police brings 47 to escaping via train, where he has a quick conversation with Birdie. The “top informer of the ICA” gives our main character some tips on how to deal with the situation.
“If you want my advice, you take that girl and you run!”
“I never did believe in running.”, 47 replies even though he ran from the Agency many years ago to try to leave his life of killing behind and settle as a gardener…
Birdie ends up doublecrossing 47 which is never a favorable situation for anyone. Our protagonist finds out the guy simply left and heads to the orphanage (“The safest place I know.”) to check on Victoria. The lack of other children is explained through a convenient conversation between two nuns (“I wish I could have gone on that field trip with them.”) and we also get to know that Victoria’s necklace magically heals her when it’s on her neck. Our main character is now for some reason affectionate towards the girl, even to the point of whispering to her ear as attempts to carry her out of Rosewood.
If it seems like we’re not analyzing as much as when we were talking about the previous installments of the series – it’s because Absolution’s 47 is flat. His character never goes anywhere, he ends up in the same place as he started, mostly because of the fact that Diana is alive after all. And I refuse to mention every grunt, blank stare or passive-aggressive anger that gets manifested as they are almost never meaningful. What is, though is how 47 treats Wade once he finally gets his hands on him.
“Hope. Dakota. You’re a long way from home.”, he snarls at him staring him right in the eyes.
That is prefaced by a violent hit in the head and after that line, he leaves Wade on the floor and exits without even confirming his death. Granted, he does look pretty dead to me but isn’t 47 supposed to be the legendary assassin that’s been respected by the World of Assassination?
From here on, 47’s “character development” is mostly showing him driving and thinking about the alleged killing of Diana Burnwood. “We all have our limits. Even you.” is the quote that haunts him. There’s also a lot of hammering the same points over and over again (“I made a promise to the girl and to a dying friend” – “friend”, eh? Have you gone soft, 47?) and acting irresponsibly violent. The only noticeable and somewhat closer to 47’s personality is how he’s longingly staring at his Silverballers locked in a glass case at the beginning of Birdie’s Gift. That is the only time he almost feels like 47 we know. In the next mission – Shavin’ Lenny – one of the possible outcomes is pacifying Lenny himself as a barber. That scene shows 47 clearly enjoying what he’s doing and outright smiling as he puts the razor blade close to Lenny’s neck. I do, however, enjoy the briefing for Death Factory, where 47 states: “I am getting closer. This is the black heart of Dexter Industries. Part of me dreads what I might find down here. Human experiments… children as weapons? This is all too close for comfort.”
Yet even the cutscene preceding Attack of the Saints seems bland compared to the trailer. There is truly nothing going on and at this point, the same facial expressions and behavior get boring. In particular because they never lead anywhere. There are also many more “just because” moments and lines I don’t want to irk you with. I’ve done that one time, no need to repeat myself. 47 gets his supposed revenge on people that may or may not have anything to do with Victoria as the game is trying to make it look cool by placing him walking towards the camera with burning building behind him whilst Ave Maria plays in the background (because of course it does). 47 kills Dexter and allows Victoria to hug him for some reason or other even though he doesn’t like getting physically close to people. 47 kills Travis and mutters an out of character “You’ll never know.” line. If that sounds like I gave up – you might be right.
Relationship with Victoria
Their relationship really doesn’t start off positively. 47 isn’t very compassionate towards her, first blaming her for Diana’s death and because she’s reminding him of his past. He only seems to care about her because Diana said so. Victoria also doesn’t have many answers herself, so after 47 ends up suddenly being affectionate towards her, everything stagnates at one point and never goes anywhere. Therefore let’s talk a little bit about “what if”.
Victoria truly had massive potential as a character. The idea was amazing – 47 would have had to confront his past once again, this time seeing another genetically modified individual. Pairing it with him losing his handler, therefore being back to a lonesome life could have been a basis for some great character study. Maybe going back to the theme of religion? Maybe having Victoria proving herself to 47 as being capable of independence? Maybe showing him that even though she’s been enhanced, there is much more to her than that – and therefore making him realize it for himself? Seeing it from another perspective could have been an eye opener for 47. Instead, she ended up being an annoying damsel in distress and, as every other character in Absolution – she’s still in the same place at the end of the story as she was at the beginning. Minus the magical necklace.
HITMAN and my closing words
There’s not much I could add about HITMAN. I’ve said too much already in my opinion pieces on various episodes of that game. I’ve never mentioned a small thing that bothers me, however. And that is – or rather those are – some of 47’s lines as he’s talking to the NPCs. Whilst I really enjoy that mechanic, I feel like some of them are just too much. “I’ll give it some love.” commenting on Silvio’s dish sounds forced. Same with “Cyanide. Good choice.”, as much as I love the delivery. Whenever I think about 47’s dialogue, I always imagine it as a case of “is this really necessary?” and if the answer is “no”, it should not be there. Notice how he sometimes doesn’t even respond to Diana in Silent Assassin. I think we’ve established he’s a pretty talkative guy when it comes to people he knows. I personally don’t think he’d go that far talking to strangers.
Alas, this is the end of this analysis. I hope you enjoyed my ramblings and don’t end up taking them too seriously. We’re having fun here, after all. Before we leave, let me thank the guys in our Hitman Discord channel for helping me pinpoint some quotes and answer questions (EricTheAussie and Mad Max in particular). And the community overall for being consistently great.
Our journey is ending. There are only two more pieces of Hitman media to cover and… they aren’t good at all. Absolution is known to be a game that didn’t manage to satisfy the faithful fans of 47’s adventures and trust me, that game’s story is a horrible one, but there’s something worse we have to take care of before that. “How much worse can it be than turning a super secret organization into a bloodthirsty army?”, you ask. Oh, it can. In Hitman: Damnation, an “official” prequel to Absolution published in 2012. Written by Raymond Benson of Metal Gear Solid novelization fame… or infamy. If you’ve ever heard of “Kiddieland” you might have an idea of what we’re dealing with here. If not, you’re about to find out. I’m sorry. I’m doing this so you don’t have to. “But how bad can it be? You said the other novel was pretty good, so it’s possible to write a good Hitman book!”, you are probably screaming at me right now. And you’re right. It is possible. This isn’t an example of that. It’s absolutely character-breaking, full of dumb dialogue, new characters that don’t fit the universe, a love story and god-awful first person sections of 47’s narration. It was also supposed to bridge the gap between Blood Money and Absolution, but it doesn’t even do that. One of the first things you read in this “book” is “Twelve months later”! I really wish I had the English version of Damnation, just so I could show you the horrible dialogue. I almost wanted to buy it online, but I’m not going to pay twice for this… “book”. I can write better fanfics than this. AND THIS GOT PUBLISHED! Ugh… let’s just get this over with… Obviously, again, this is all green text, but I’m not going to destroy your eyes in addition to your mind.
Diana gets assigned a new supervisor – Benjamin Travis. Travis is an ex-military man, whose temper and behavior seem to be not-perfect for a highly secret organization such as ICA. They don’t really like each other, Diana especially doesn’t enjoy how Travis is an “unethical and dangerous asshole”. There is a mention of a lab in Chicago, a project both of them have been working on, as well as the fact that agent 47 is currently on a mission in Nepal. He’s climbing the Himalayas and the controller’s task is to notify him if any danger arises. Unfortunately for the agent, Diana cannot wait any longer and abandons him during the mission. Because that’s something Diana would totally do. She sabotages the financial accounts of the Agency and runs for her life as 47 traps himself in the avalanche that was supposed to be a way of staging an accident kill on the target. …’Cause that’s a mistake 47 would make.
A year later, 47’s having nightmares about himself being alone in the Romanian facility. There’s someone following him though. Death. Yes, Death. He wakes up, realizes he didn’t take his painkillers for way too long now and that he’s addicted to them, but doesn’t really want to admit it. He’s stationed in Ocho Rios, Jamaica as a freelance assassin on a mission to kill Hector Corado – a fella involved in human trafficking. At least it’s not drugs this time.
Little that he knows, there’s someone watching him. A “forty-something years old”, overweight guy wearing a tie with the ICA logo aboard an Agency yacht. Benjamin Travis has been looking for 47 for a while now, but he finally manages to learn his exact location. Travis’ assistant – Jade Nguyen provides him with the latest intel and they “invite” 47 aboard the ship after another accident in which 47 gets hurt. He mentions that he doesn’t work for the Agency anymore, but Travis obviously doesn’t care. After a night of painkillers and 47 sleeping surprisingly well given that he’s onboard a yacht in the middle of the sea with a possible enemy, Benjamin Travis lies about the events that caused him to get hurt in Nepal and presents him with an assignment. A fine dinner and an exclusive ship is apparently enough to change the mind of agent 47. Yeah, I wouldn’t say so, personally.
The targets are Dana Linder – a US Senator and a presidential candidate as well as Charlie Wilkins – a famous televangelist, owner of a fast food chain and “the Church of Will”. Wilkins used to be a childhood pastor of Dana and her brother’s – Darren, who supposedly died in Iraq, but actually became a terrorist knows as Cromwell. The duo knows about that fact and actively helped him start the New Model Army. Obviously, people like that are not the best fit for the government so 47 has to sign up to the Church of Will, get close to both of them and eliminate them.
47 goes to New York, where he meets up with Cherry Jones – an FBI informer that he apparently knows for a long time now. (It’s not like there is already a good candidate for an informer you can use… Smith’s been filling up that role pretty well) The meeting is interrupted by the ex-husband of Cherry, whom 47 kills, because “he knew too much” already. Cherry sets him up with information on Dana Linder as well as some painkillers. She also tries to sell him actual hardcore drugs, but he isn’t interested. …What?
47 prepares for his mission by scouting the terrain and taking care of the weaponry and a disguise. There’s someone following him again! It’s Death! Or… maybe he’s just delusional. He actively knows he is and the hallucinations are caused by the painkillers, but he doesn’t want to stop taking them. Because it’s logical to want to continue your drug addiction when working as a professional assassin. Maybe because of that, he disguises himself as a woman and shoots Dana Linder in public. He doesn’t even stop to look if he’s hit the target, but thankfully, he did. Since the presidential candidate is now dead, her “good friend” Charlie Wilkins decides to run a campaign himself, as revenge for Dana.
47 stops at Birdie’s to pick up some more equipment. The scene is only here to introduce Birdie as 47’s contact he doesn’t really like, but does business with anyways. The character of Birdie literally does not matter in the context of the book, but it’s a tie-in to the game, so whatever. 47 purchases some explosives and vials of poison and is on his way to Greenhill where the Church of Will is located.
It seems that the Church has been popular lately, but a bald guy still manages to catch the attention of Helen McAdams – a shy, thirty-one year old woman with low self esteem and an inability to be in a relationship with a man for more than just a short time. It should be noted that she’s actually Charlie Wilkins’ personal assistant and that there were scenes she participated in beforehand, but they weren’t important. 47 gets a job as a gardener in the Church, using the name Stan Johnson and waits patiently for Travis to give him the green light to eliminate his second target. He also immediately gets fond of Helen, notices scars on her arms, pops a few pills and decides to “use Helen to get close to Wilkins”.
47 has to kill some time before that, so he spends it with Helen. She asks him if he has family or a girlfriend and he replies that he isn’t so lucky with women. He also catches a glimpse of Bruce Ashton – Wilkins’ head of security. During the night, 47 feels like his relationship with Helen is going too far (and I agree), has a nightmare in which Death is following him again, wakes up in cold sweat and takes his painkillers.
It is October when people at the Church of Will start rumors about 47 and Helen being romantically involved. 47 mentions that the relationship is a new experience for him, Helen agrees and she kisses him. He feels remorse as he continues to use her to somehow get close to Wilkins and brings her flowers from the garden. 47 also opens up to Helen about his drug addiction which magically heals him from it and Helen tells him her own story. She was at the rock bottom after her parents and sister died and her ex-boyfriend got her addicted to heroin. He attempted suicide, but was unsuccessful, so she joined the Church of Will and got magically healed. She hugs 47 and they lay in bed for a while.
Meanwhile, Travis gets a call from the “mysterious client”. The guy’s voice is distorted and he demands Travis tells him the identity of the agent who’s been assigned to his contract. Travis realizes the threat, but he still gives him the full information about 47, mentioning that he’s alive and well and that he’s already in Greenhill. He thinks about stopping the contract and getting 47 out of there, but it’s as far as he goes in the act and worries more about hoping someone catches Diana than the life of his best agent. Fucking brilliant.
So, it appears that 47 isn’t done with the painkillers after all. Helen reveals to him that she’s leaving on a plane with Charlie Wilkins. She doesn’t know anything else about it, but she still feels it’s a good idea. Later, 47 is confronted by Bruce Ashton who knows his true identity, attacks him and traps him in liquid concrete… what?… Drowning in the concrete, 47’s having flashbacks to his childhood in Romania as well as another hallucination about Death trying to get him. He somehow manages to escape and again decides to give up his addiction.
47 goes after Helen, Wilkins and Ashton after getting the information about their plans from Wilkins’ aide. He then kills him by snapping his neck and pushing him of the stairs… what? The nightmares come back, but this time 47’s chased by Ashton himself as well as more Death and Diana Burnwood for some reason. Helen is now a regular in his dreams as his mind shows him the tragic events in Nepal but with Helen at his side. And he doesn’t stop taking painkillers even though he thinks he does. It’s just different painkillers.
He’s now in Cyprus, dressed as a male gypsy… what? and literally waits for Helen and Wilkins to show up, ’cause even though he has an entire secret international organization behind him, there is just no other way. He manages to kill Bruce Ashton and then has more dreams about Death. Helen wonders why her “Stan” isn’t interested in sexual intercourse. She’s actually quite worried about that… Okay, what the actual fuck?…But she hopes that it will change as he battles his addiction. …I’m just as clueless as you are.
Wilkins, Helen and 47 all come back to Greenhill where 47 confronts Helen about being magically healed from his addiction. Helen sort of calls him out on his bullshit, she mentions being in a rehab clinic for two months, but she’s too excited to pay attention to the lack of her logic. They watch a movie and lay in bed for a while before 47 gets a message from Jade – it’s finally time to kill Charlie Wilkins.
47 decides to protect Helen at all cost. He learns Wilkins’ routines and plants C4 in his office. The plan doesn’t go as well as he hopes, because Helen is awake and is just about to enter Wilkins’ office and get blown up by the explosion. Great fucking plan. There is a callback to Schubert’s Ave Maria, because of course there is, as 47 finds Wilkins in a completely different room accompanied by Cromwell and his goons. He falls into a trap… again, because that’s absolutely what a legendary assassin would do. Wilkins knows about 47, but lies to Cromwell telling him that the agent works for the CIA and president Mark Burdett and that Burdett hired 47 to kill Cromwell’s sister. Cromwell totally believes that even though it makes no sense and the politician even attended Dana’s funeral. The terrorist tortures 47 a bit, but the building explodes just in time. Helen realizes Stan is gone, stabs herself with a syringe filled with heroine… what?…and runs to Wilkins who exposes 47 to her. It breaks her heart. 47 manages to escape Greenhill and is now headed to Washington.
Travis calls 47 and being a complete fucking idiot, he doesn’t realize that even though they track the “mysterious client” back to the Church of Will, the client is actually Charlie Wilkins himself. 47 thinks a little faster than his supervisor and informs Travis of that fact. It appears that Wilkins’ set up the kill on Dana Linder to get himself elected as the president. (You would think that it’s a bit too soon to be electing the president after Blood Money did the same thing, but hey.) He also set up a hit on himself, because… I don’t even know. I literally do not know. He sort of wanted to get rid of 47 for some reason, but I just don’t know why. Please don’t make me read through this nonsense again. Travis mentions that they have almost managed to find the exact location of Diana Burnwood and 47’s worried he’ll be assigned with the task of eliminating her.
First though, he needs to take care of Wilkins. His political rally is scheduled to take place in the National Mall and it’s a perfect time to finish the job. Or it would be if not for a New Model Army terrorist attack which just happens to kill Helen, but not before she yells at 47 for lying to her and using her to get to Wilkins. I mean, at least she has a valid point this time.
Well, actually, it’s technically 47 who kills Helen after she gets wounded. He shoots her in the heart, because it’s symbolical or some shit. I mean, he could still call for help, but no. He doesn’t do that. That would be dumb, right?
47 chases Wilkins and Death is again chasing 47 (I thought he gave up painkillers). Wilkins ends up dead and 47 realizes that Death wasn’t actually Death, but himself!… what?(Is that supposed to be symbolism? That’s a crappy symbolism if that’s the case. I’ve played Silent Hill, I know symbolism!) The novel ends as Travis tasks Jade with getting in contact with 47 once again and presenting him with his new mission – killing Diana Burnwood.
Few words about Absolution… actually, no. I’m not going to say anything about Absolution (just yet). What I’m going to do is plant this quote in your mind for the rest of the write-up –
I have nothing against Mr. Blystad, in fact he’s worked on Contracts (credited for additional art, but still) and Blood Money (and the art direction is fantastic in that game) which is more than enough for me to like him and I’ve always enjoyed seeing him in Absolution pre-release content. I also wish him well and will definitely be following his work with Crystal Dynamics. But this quote… you’ll see what I mean!
Absolution picks up right when the novel ends. 47’s about to enter Diana’s mansion and Travis is supervising the mission. (If this is gonna go as well as the previous one then damn, we’re in for a treat!) He would send one of his teams, but he’d prefer the kill to be silent. He continuously goes on about how Diana did this to herself, but 47 is smarter than that. He gets to his target, shoots her and lets her say her final words. It seems like she was trying to protect someone. A girl from the Agency’s lab. Victoria. She asks 47 to keep her safe and not let them “turn her into him.”I’d expect more respect from 47’s controller, to be honest. It sort of feels like she’s objectifying him. She also gives him a coin. That coin has already been shown twice in the first couple of minutes, so it must be important, right? Let’s keep it in mind as we go forward.
47 decides to leave Diana on the floor and hurries to the bedroom where he finds Victoria (probably as annoying as Resident Evil 4’s Ashley, and no, she can’t “come with us”). They escape the mansion, burn all the evidence and have a small talk during which Victoria says that Diana took her from the doctors and she was her only friend. 47 isn’t happy with what he’s done, but decides to carry out Diana’s will. He stations Victoria in an orphanage, pays for a room overlooking the building as well as gets in contact with Birdie – a “top intelligence man” that used to work for the ICA – to get information on Victoria and the Agency. The intel doesn’t come cheap as Birdie wants 47 to eliminate his business rival – the self-declared King of Chinatown.
You know, I actually like Birdie as a character. He’s sort of Smith 2.0, but not really. You see, he’s off the wall, but not completely. He’s an intelligent man that knows what strings to pull. He’s also enjoyable to watch. If there was one thing about Absolution’s storyline that I could pat the devs on the back it would be Birdie.
In exchange for the death of the King and 47’s trusted Silverballers, Birdie lets out his birds to scout. The first piece of info is a name of the weapons and security systems manufacturer and owner of Dexter Industries – Blake Dexter. He’s apparently residing in room 899 of the Terminus Hotel. 47 has a rough night as he feels remorse for killing Diana. Memories from his childhood in the Romanian facility come back to haunt him. Torn by anger and disgust to what he is, he slashes his barcode – the symbol of being a product created only to kill. (Fuck this cutscene and everything that’s happening in it. I’m not going to go into details, but just so you know – I despise this cutscene. A lot.)
It seems like this is not a good day for a mission. 47 manages to get inside room 899, but he’s immediately attacked by Dexter’s bodyguard and a guinea pig for Dr. Ashford whom we’ll meet later – Sanchez. While he’s unconscious, Dexter kills a maid and sets Terminus on fire. (Also says this: “Yihaah! You see, I don’t ordinarily yihaah, but this! This is a fucking yihaah! Fucking Christmas!”) The police arrive at the scene. In midst of them is Cosmo Faulkner – a police detective who becomes obsessed with the figure of 47 right after this event. 47 wakes up and escapes the police. He’s now hunted not only by the Agency, but also by the law and Birdie’s his only contact. The mission isn’t a complete disaster though, as 47 learns about Dexter’s motives. His assistant – Layla Stockton mentions that Victoria is almost like something he would create in his own lab. It doesn’t seem like Dexter is a nice guy – he wants to capture Victoria and demand ransom for her which is obviously something 47 needs to prevent.
Birds say that Dexter hired a whole squad of men to get to Victoria. The main threat is Edward Wade and his people, but we also get to know Dexter’s son – Lenny ‘Limp-Dick’ of the Hope Cougars. (This game is subtle, stylish and lyrical, said Tore Blystad…). Wade’s contact is Dom Osmond, the owner of Vixen Club, whom 47 is now on the way to eliminate. It should be noted that Osmond’s death will greatly benefit Birdie himself. 47 recognizes that the alliance is fragile and he must thread carefully.
He accomplishes the goal as well as kills thugs that are searching for Birdie only to find out that his contact betrayed him, took away his precious weaponry and gave Victoria’s location to Wade. 47 comes back to Rosewood where the nun informs him that Victoria’s sick and barely even breathing. The latch of her necklace got damaged, but it’s fixed now and Victoria is magically healed! Things are not going as smoothly as 47 would want though. Rosewood Orphanage is under attack from Wade’s men. They trap 47 and Victoria in an elevator as they shoot up everybody to get to the girl. 47 heads to the basement to get the power running again and kill Wade along the way. Edward Wade dies (“Why do I have wood?”… c’mon now…), but Lenny grabs Victoria before 47 can react… somehow. I swear, she’s lying on the floor right next to Wade! His only lead now is Hope in South Dakota.
Birdie’s got problems of his own. Dexter and Sanchez catch up to him and “ask nicely” about 47, the Agency and Jade. Birdie spills the beans, but isn’t as thrilled about the encounter. The Hope duo isn’t the only ones that knows about where 47 is headed though. Birdie also strikes a deal with Benjamin Travis and that guy is straight up excited about the possibility of catching the agent and sends in “the Saints”!
The Saints are a group of Agency operatives that dress up in nun costumes and go kill people. ‘Cause no-one expects nuns to just come out and go on a murder spree. That’s pretty much it. The idea is, obviously, Benjamin Travis’, but it seems like the ICA didn’t like it as much as he did as shown in thismessage from the Saints ICA Files Trailer.
You’d think I’d be furious about the Saints. It seems like everyone else was at the time and myself, being a woman (if you didn’t knew that already, you know now) would find it absolutely disgusting that women are straight up objectified and shown as sexual toys in this game. I’m not. I’m mad that they don’t fit the theme, they look completely ridiculous and they even dare to claim that 47 is their “inspiration”. No, he isn’t! If he was, you wouldn’t dress like a slut and kill people with rocket launchers! That’s sort of the opposite of what 47 does!
Meanwhile, 47 reaches his destination – a bar called The Great Balls of Fire. I never thought I’d get to hear this phrase coming out of 47’s mouth… He learns from the bartender that Lenny’s favorite place to be is a barbershop, so it’s also obviously where 47 has to be as well. But first there is a more important matter to take care of. Birdie sold the precious Silverballers to a gun shop. The owner of said gun shop offers to just give away the unique custom silenced high tech weaponry to a random guy that has just walked in if he outshoots a girl in a tournament. That’s not the only way, since 47 can just take them, but either way the beautiful Silverballers are back in 47’s hands as he learns why Birdie brought this to his attention.
Lenny isn’t as dumb as everyone around him seem to think. He took Victoria to sell her to the highest bidder himself without the interference of his father. 47 knows this. He eliminates major figures of the Hope Cougars before getting to Lenny and when he does, they have a little talk. Victoria is at the factory. The Death Factory! With Sanchez, no less. There is also a mention of Lenny hurting some nuns… interesting. Lenny is screwed no matter what, so 47 heads to Dexter Industries to have a talk with Mr. Dexter himself.
But Dexter already knows that his son has been kidnapped. He yells at Layla to call Jade and negotiate the price for the girl. His assistant also contacts sheriff Clive Skurky who is currently having some fun… ugh… and tells him about the accident.
Meanwhile, 47 infiltrates Dexter Industries and makes his way into the Death Factory itself, where Dr. Ashford (I told you we’re going to meet that fella soon enough) conducts his experiments. Exploding pigs seems to be a way to go and our doctor, who is now also 47’s target can join those piggies. Either way, he is dead.
47 feels quite overwhelmed just thinking about children being used as weapons, but is filled with determination to end this once and for all. Down in the R&D department he finds Ashford’s records on Victoria as well as Sanchez. Let’s start with our buddy Sanchez. Apparently, in 1986 he was a test subject for an experimental X-9 serum. His muscles increased by 160%, but he started to show signs of gigantism as a side effect of the hormonal imbalances caused by the serum. All of that should add up to “don’t mess with that guy”, but unfortunately, 47 doesn’t have a choice. As for Victoria – she’s apparently almost perfect as a human being, but there’s no details involved as Ashford is still waiting for the analysis of her DNA sample (Well, he’s not waiting now, cause he’s dead! Ha!). He also mentions Dr. Ort-Meyer and the first time I’ve played this game I actually got a bit excited, but this is literally THE ONLY TIME it happens, so we should also just leave it at that. 47 destroys Ashford’s research and moves on to deal with Sanchez.
The hit on Sanchez proves to be quite difficult as he’s currently taking part in a wresting fight. Even though we’ve just heard that he’s a super-soldier, 47 can take him head on or (if you’re like me and hate QTEs) by staging an accident. Victoria’s not with Sanchez though, so 47 decides to stop in a nearby motel. There, he asks for a “non-festive, brown” drink and it is enough to start a huge discussion about his choices of foods and drinks in the community. Anyway, the Waikiki Inn is attacked by the Saints leaving the building in a state that might as well suggest a nuke has been dropped right on top of it (I thought the Agency was a super secret organization, that’s hardly super secret if things like that happen). Thankfully, 47 manages to escape, kill the Saints and learn that Travis is just slightly angry.
Possibly scrapped plot point here – the ICA Saints Trailer for Absolution clearly states that the leader of the Saints – Lasandra Dixon – is still alive after that. In a coma, yes, but alive. Think of that what you want.
A lot of things happen next – Cosmo Faulkner is feeding his obsession with “the Hitman” and gets a note from Birdie telling him to go to Blackwater Park. Travis and Jade leave the ICA yacht to get to Hope and 47 is currently looking for Clive Skurky, because apparently Victoria is with him. (I’m not certain how 47 knows about it, but he’s sure of it.)
This doesn’t go as well as 47 would like. It seems like leading him to the basement was something Skurky’s planned all along and 47 falls into the trap (’cause that’s something a legendary assassin would do). Victoria’s here too. And Dexter. Him and 47 meet eye to eye, but Dexter just beats 47 up a bit. Doesn’t kill him even though he knows 47 most likely killed his son. No, that would make too much sense. Instead, he reminds him that it’s the necklace that magically heals Victoria and without it, she can’t even move an arm. Victoria gets recaptured, Skurky beats up 47 some more. Still doesn’t kill him. Because killing a legend wouldn’t bring you any fame or money or anything. It’s worthless. Just leave him. It’s not like he’ll escape. Or wait…
47 escapes the basement, but Skurky’s already on the run. It also appears that Travis sent out an entire army to get to 47! The Agency now has an army! Sure! (He could really just call Layla and tell her to bring 47 to him as well as Victoria since they’ve already caught 47, but that would be too smart and as we’ve seen, Travis isn’t the brightest of people.) 47 needs to navigate the streets of Hope during what really is a not-so-super-secret terrorist attack. He finds Skurky in a church. The sheriff tells 47 to fuck himself, but that’s not enough, so he gives him Victoria’s current location – Blackwater Park in Chicago. Ave Maria plays (because of course it does) as Skurky dies and 47 is too badass to look at explosions.
All of this is getting way too out of character for my liking, so excuse my horrible sarcastic-wannabe remarks as we’re getting into the last act of the game.
Before taking on Blackwater Park, 47 has to suit up. He stops by at (completelyfilled with BloodMoneyreferences) Tommy Clemenza’s tailor shop. Tom appears to have some sort of impaired vision, but he still recognizes 47. They go way back (do they? That’s the first time I’m hearing of him and I think I proved that I would know if it was any different. In fact, 47 has always enjoyed Italian suits, as mentioned by Diana Burnwood in one of Blood Money trailers.) The new suit has invisible stitches, silk linings and other improvements over the old one and 47 seems to be satisfied. He leaves the shop to meet the rest of the cast in Blackwater Park.
Blake Dexter and Layla Stockton are already on the roof waiting for the other duo of “big mean guy” and “girl assistant”. (The characters in this game are so diverse that the actual Polish localization team didn’t see the difference and at one point the guy that dubs Dexter reads Travis’ lines. I’m not even joking! Thankfully, that version is bad and I’m not playing it ever. I tried out of shear curiosity. Didn’t get far.) The dialogue is absolutely fantastic this time.
Dexter: Hey there, fuckface. Travis: Alright, dickhead, where’s the girl?
Truly lyrical. Dexter recognizes Travis as an idiot and plays with him for a while pretending to kill Victoria in front of him when he actually shoots one of the Saints that went missing somewhere in between the Attack of the Saints trailer and the actual Attack of the Saints mission (one of them died beforehand, so she doesn’t count). He wants 10 million for the girl, but again, Travis is too hotheaded to even get permission from the higher ups. Or so he claims. He still gives Dexter the payment anyway and Dexter reveals that he didn’t really want to give Victoria to Travis. He’ll “let him know where to find her” later. Jade reacts to that by saying “You gave that psychopath our money just like that?”. Thank you! Finally someone else realizes Travis is an idiot!
It appears that Blackwater Park is where Dexter’s penthouse is located at. Before getting to him, 47 has to kill Layla because… he just does, OK? He also has to find the panic room, which is the only way to the roof for some reason. My architect friend would like to have a word with people who designed this building.
Layla gets eliminated. 47 hears her phone calling. It’s Dexter. They’re leaving. With the girl. Dexter being a pig that he is informs Victoria about her being born in a lab and she reacts to that fact pretty violently. (You know, I’d like someone to dub this cutscene in a way that suggests that Dexter informs Victoria that Santa doesn’t exist.) Victoria has a cool, really nicely choreographed scene in which she kills all of Dexter’s goons, but not Dexter himself, because… the player has to do something? No idea. I can’t really feel sorry for Victoria anyway, she’s annoying, we never really see her in game, her story isn’t detailed and the only thing we get is “she’s sort of 47, but not really”. She also has a magical necklace, but I kind of grew out of that way back when. Forget me, though, 47 has to kill Dexter now and get Victoria back. And he does it by going up to the roof where there’s fog everywhere!
Dexter is planning to destroy the entire building if Layla isn’t back. And I’m pretty sure she’s not coming back, so 47 has to hurry. There’s nothing complicated here, he gets to Dexter, kills him, finds Victoria. She hugs him. Classic storyline. The guy rescues the girl. The end.
Or is it?!
It isn’t, because Diana also asked 47 to kill Benjamin Travis himself. That “unethical and dangerous asshole”! That can be arranged and for some reason 47 now doesn’t want to think of him as a target, because this is personal… what?
Travis and Jade as well as the Agency’s goons are in Cornwall, England where the Burnwood family tomb is located. From their conversation which 47 hears somehow?… (honestly, it might be just the player that listens to that conversation, but I’d say 47’s also able to hear it because it’s funnier that way to point out the stupidity of the situation) it seems like they are not exactly sure if Diana is really dead. And it took them 6 months to come to that conclusion. First, 47 wants to eliminate Jade. He is sure that she wants to claim Travis’ position after he’s killed… what? Where did you get that info? They are literally talking right now about Travis lying about the entire operation to the Agency and Jade being against that! I would say she’d be on your side, Mr. Legendary Assassin!
If that wasn’t clear, the story sort of falls apart here. It was falling apart already, but not that drastically. (Have you noticed I didn’t mention Travis’ mechanical hand at all? That’s cause the game isn’t mentioning it either! In the Benjamin Travis ICA Files Trailer, we can see 47 being the one shooting Travis in the hand. That would explain why Travis wants him dead. But it’s never EVER mentioned in game. You’re just supposed to deal with the fact that he has a mechanical hand. There are plot holes everywhere, HUGE BITS of this game seem to be missing.)
Jade dies, because 47 says so and Travis remains. He’s deployed a bunch of old guys around him though and calls them the Praetorians… sure. Their thing is that they are similar to each other and therefore can confuse people… what? They are no match for 47 though as he kills them and then Travis.
Before dying, Travis asks Mr. “Big Bald Fuck” if Diana is actually dead and he replies with an out of character line – “You will never know.” – and shoots him.
Oh wait, no. It isn’t.
‘Cause Diana’s not actually dead! Surprise! Wait, what?! How is she not dead?! Wait a second. 47 confirmed the kill. She was lying on the floor. Let’s just overanalyze something a little bit before we end.
If 47 did shoot her, he would know if she was dead or not. He’s a silent assassin, a legend, a ghost, whatever you want to call him. HE WOULD KNOW. He’s kinda killed people before.
If he knew that he didn’t kill her, this memory wouldn’t haunt him. He would know she’s alive. Also the entire letter bullshit wouldn’t need to happen. If they both knew, there’s no point in that plot point.
47 confirmed the kill, right? So what? He made a mistake? They were alone in that bathroom. It’s not like he was in a hurry. If they did strike a deal right there and then than he would know and wouldn’t be bothered. Does that make sense? Does it make sense more than this game?
It doesn’t make sense. In the end, 47 knows Diana is alive and sees Victoria as she throws away her magical necklace and somehow still can stand on her two feet… what? Wasn’t the entire point of this game that she can’t?
Oh wait, no. It isn’t. Again.
Because we need to set up the sequel in which Cosmo Faulkner goes after 47, because Birdie told him to. Birdie’s a sneaky bastard and I like him. But I don’t think this is gonna happen.
…Fucking finally. Oh yeah, and remember that coin I told you to keep in mind? There’s nothing to it. Literally worthless.
I didn’t make a graphic, cause it’s literally one paragraph…
Before we head back into the realm of video games, I think it’s a good thing to mention those few missions that don’t fit nicely into the timeline and aren’t as important in the grant scheme of things. There aren’t a lot of them, but they definitely deserve a shoutout. Especially the Contracts missions – Meat King’s Party and Beldingford Manor. There’s also Death of the Showman – the first level of Blood Money, which I’m mentioning now, because it ultimately doesn’t really matter when you look at that game’s story as a whole. Oh and the assassination of Richard Strong – the former employee of Dexter Industries (more on that company later) and his bodyguards from Absolution’s pre-order bonus – Sniper Challenge. No idea where that fits, but hey, it has a neat little easter egg in form of Mystery Man himself… or maybe a failed tie-in. Who knows. It’s a good game though.
Blood Money… who doesn’t like Blood Money? The gameplay is arguably the best in the series, the music is by Jesper Kyd once again, so we know it’s great, but the game is way too easy for my likings. No-one really asked me about the opinion though… I’m doing it anyways! But, ultimately, I’m here to talk about the story! And believe me, there’s a lot of it in Blood Money. It might not look like it. It is really disjointed and the main trend happens to be people bullshiting other people. I’m still not sure if I got every piece right. It’s been a journey. I’m also still wondering if I did the right thing in the way of presenting the plot. I ultimately decided to go with how the game does it instead of doing it chronologically. I just think it makes more sense in the context. I’m not going to lie though – it’s probably the most confusing storyline of the franchise. Maybe that’s why people thought Hitman doesn’t have a story…
The proper story begins with the meeting of a journalist – Rick Henderson – with Alexander Leland Cayne. Cayne asks him to call him Jack and the journalist complies. I don’t. It’s clear that Rick would like to have control over the interview. First he would like Cayne to talk about his career in the FBI and then get in a few words about his opinion on the latest White House attack. That control is quickly taken away from the journalist as Cayne clearly has a different goal in mind.
Alexander Cayne has first heard of 47 in 2004, probably right after the assassination of Joseph Clarence. What he doesn’t tell Rick is that he’s heavily involved in an assassins’ organization called The Franchise – a subdivision of Alpha Zerox. (If you didn’t know that Alpha Zerox exists – it’s probably because it’s mentioned literally ONCE IN THE ENTIRE GAME. I’m pretty sure I’ve read every flavor text there is and I’ve only seen it ONCE. IN THE BRIEFING FILES OF AMENDMENT XXV.) He mentions a “scoop of the century”, yet starts his tale with a retelling of the mission in Chile. 47 is to eliminate Fernando Delgado as well as his son Manuel – both of them are trafficking drugs, because it is apparently all every criminal in this universe does, and are using a winery as a cover up.
This is an easy mission for 47 and Rick quickly calls Cayne on that fact. Only then Cayne reveals who was involved in the assassination. Rick’s heard of agent 47 and Cayne is glad to hear that. He slowly feeds Rick information about a “mysterious bald clone assassin” and his recent missions, sparking curiosity in the journalist.
It is March 17, 2004. 47 is tasked to take care of a simple assignment in an opera house in Paris. His targets are Richard Delahunt and Alvaro D’Alvade (called Phillip Berceuse in Contracts – it’s weird, Delahunt’s name is the same, but D’Alvade isn’t. I’m going with D’Alvade, because it’s more well known. And no, you can’t say that it’s because it’s 47’s memories in Contracts, because it’s literally the only part that isn’t.) – highly controversial people for the industry they’re in. Richard Delahunt used to be involved in running a child prostitution ring. Thanks to his friends in the police, namely the corrupt officer by the name of Albert Fournier, Delahunt is currently an American Ambassador to the Vatican, but he spends his free time closely watching his ‘maybe something more than just a buddy’ Alvaro D’Alvade rehearse his role in Puccini’s Tosca (and ultimately helps him complete act 3). 47 eliminates both of them, yet is caught off guard and gets shot by a man in a police uniform.
“He knew me. Actually recognized me and looked me in the eyes. As he was expecting me… No… that’s impossible.”
47 manages to head back to his hotel room in Paris and collapses on the floor. The fever, heavy bleeding and pain take their toll and 47 quickly falls into the dream world mixed with intense flashbacks, distorted scenery and weird imagery. Diana knows something’s wrong. She sends an Agency medic to take care of her agent. The doctor gets to him in time, removes the bullet and helps 47 get back on his feet… sort of. In the meantime, police is surrounding the hotel. 47 hears sirens and a voice belonging to Albert Fournier – a mutual friend of the people 47’s just killed. He knows he’s outnumbered, but doesn’t want to give up. He escapes the hotel, eliminates the police officer and is extracted by the Agency. On board of the plane, he meets his controller. Diana reveals to him that there is a spy amongst the Agency and this time, it’s serious. Even 47 recognizes the threat, asking Diana “Do you have that kind of money?”. It seems though that she has a plan of her own.
The interview continues as Rick is starting to wonder why Cayne is so interested in this assassin. Cayne takes control of the conversation once more by exposing 47 as a class I clone – constructed by a brilliant scientist Otto Wolfgang Ort-Meyer to be a deadly weapon. Cayne himself is against cloning and disapproves even the medical reasons as to why it might be beneficial. He seems to be angry when the conversation reaches the point of this topic and quickly goes back to continuing his story.
It takes two weeks for 47 to fully recover. Himself and Diana meet in a church, although 47 isn’t happy about the place. “You’re usually more prudent.” The controller hands him the mission briefing and mentions that ICA agents are disappearing. 47’s target is currently in a Northern Californian rehab clinic for alcoholics. The identity of the target is unknown. An agent that was supposed to gather the remaining intel has been captured and is being held inside the facility. The tools of the trade this time appear to be some kind of designer poisons. Patients aren’t discharged unless they are sober or dead, so the only way to get the captured agent out of there is to make the personnel believe that he’s indeed not alive. (THIS IS IMPORTANT, it blows my mind that they share this information so early in the game and want people to remember it. It is solidified by gameplay, cause the player actually uses the fake death serum, but still. It’s the beginning of the game!) 47 infiltrates the facility. The staff is heard to be talking about a ‘strange albino’, presumably dressed in doctor’s uniform. The agent ICA is looking for is revealed to be Smith once again. He gives 47 the information he’s gathered, but two new targets appear on the radar (and this cutscene isn’t skippable and I know it by heart). 47 is successful in eliminating them and rescuing Smith… again.
Cayne drops another revelation – he didn’t only catch 47. He killed him. The journalist is cautious. He asks for a proof, which is something Cayne expected from the start. He now realizes that Rick isn’t going to be patient forever and although he wants to hear the rest of the story first, Cayne invites him for a walk that ultimately will lead to his desired proof. In the meantime however, he feeds Rick more information. This time about a mission taking place in a suburban neighborhood.
The target is Vinnie Sinistra – a former Cuban mobster that is now in a witness protection program. The house is full of FBI agents, but 47 has to stick around a little longer, because there’s another objective to this mission. Sinistra’s wife wears a piece of jewelry that is used as a hiding place for a microfilm. 47 is to retrieve it as well as eliminate the gangster. (I remember people speculating that this necklace is the same one Victoria wears in Absolution before that game came out. It’s a shame that it isn’t though and they went with something A LOT more stupid.)
It appears that Cayne also knew about the microfilm. It is the exact reason as to why FBI was so interested in Sinistra. The microfilm itself was supposedly a source of information on Ort-Meyer’s research. (I don’t know how Sinistra managed to get a hold of that, but Cayne is totally bullshitting Rick at this point though, so whatever, let’s roll with it.) It is clear now that Cayne’s been obsessed with this topic for quite some time. His men raided the Romanian asylum, but were unable to find anything of value until they came across a piece of evidence that proves that Ort-Meyer was indeed the creator of 47. The topic of cloning once again brings out the anger in Cayne. (I literally realized how much of his character is shown in those cutscenes, rather than told. Just try overanalyzing everything like I do every once and a while and you’ll see it.) He lies to Rick telling him vaguely that 47 possibly wanted to sell the research and immediately goes back to his retelling of the investigation.
Cayne drops another bomb – right after lying about 47 not being alone, he keeps Rick on his toes by telling him that there are more clones on the loose. This one in particular is a class II clone – fully functioning human being, accelerated to adulthood, but with a lifespan of 18 months. The journalist wants to know more about cloning itself, but Cayne is once again angered by the topic. He’s also against the current US president’s desire to legalize cloning, he calls the research itself a weapon of mass destruction and the public naive. He hopes that the interview will change their minds and to do this he retells a story of the murder of Senator Bingham’s son.
Senator Bingham has been blackmailed for quite some time. Lorne de Havilland managed to get his hands on a video of the Senator’s son – Chad – which shows him having a bit too much fun with a nightclub dancer. Apparently, the girl “didn’t survive the encounter”(whatever that means, I don’t want to imagine that) and since the Senator is currently involved in a re-election campaign, it is clear that he wouldn’t like this video to surface. 47 is to kill both Chad Bingham and Lorne de Havilland as well as retrieve the video tape. There is someone waiting for him in de Havilland’s porn tycoon estate. Another person wants 47 dead. This cannot be a coincidence.
The beginning of 2005 marked two missions on the Mississippi. Alexander Cayne and his team didn’t manage to get to 47 there, but they had a lead. Las Vegas. “Where does anyone goes for the last, desperate roll of the dice?” He also reveals that himself and Rick are heading to a funeral. 47’s funeral, no less. But there are more stories to be told.
This time, 47 has three targets and all of them are involved in some form of other in the art of cloning and genetic modifications. Hendrik Schmutz is a white supremacist from South Africa and he’s very interested in selling his DNA research to Saudi Arabian sheik Mohammad Bin Faisal Al-Khalifa. The mission’s objectives is to kill both of them as well as Al-Khalifa’s scientist Tariq Abdul Lateef. 47 also secures a briefcase full of blood diamonds – payment for the research offered by the sheik and his company. Even though the mission is successful, the Agency is still losing their people. And just a few months later, Diana and 47 are the only people left.
Diana’s frustrated, but knows that she’s losing the battle. Or this is how she presents herself in the conversation with 47. (I honestly feel like she’s bullshitting him throughout the entire game, but I haven’t overanalyzed that fully yet. YET.) She’s splitting the remaining Agency funds between the two of them and 47 wishes her luck. There are just two last targets Diana wants 47 to kill, but she knows that this mission might either be a setup or, that 47’s expected to appear at some point during the night. 47 soon realizes that he’s being targeted by The Franchise assassins and he has to eliminate them as well as fulfill the original mission’s objectives. There is still another person waiting for 47 though. Agent Smith slips into the escape car and politely asks 47 for help. The president of the United States of America is about to be assassinated. 47 doesn’t care. He doesn’t play politics, (“Skip the patriotism, Smith.”) but is interested in Smith’s connections and his money, so he agrees to do the job.
Apparently, the hit on the president has been on the works for quite some time. An organization that appointed the Vice President Daniel Morris wants him now in the Oval Office. That organization is of course, The Franchise and they also have their best man in the field. MarkParchezziIII – another albino clone – is closely working with Daniel Morris to assure that the president is dead. 47’s task is to eliminate both of them. The Vice President is an easy target, but “pumpkin’s” been more than expecting 47 to show up. He outright prepared a trap for him and wants to finish the job. The two assassins duel on the roof of the White House which results in Parchezzi’s death, but it isn’t as cool as what’s been shown in the trailers. 47 manages to escape and believes he’s safe after killing a major figure in The Franchise only to swiftly find out that he’s wrong. Someone else has been pulling the strings.
In the last ditch effort to save the Agency, Diana Burnwood finds her way into 47’s hideout where just a few seconds earlier, a yellow bird lost his life out of necessity. (If you were ever wondering why 47 takes care of an animal, I suggest you go back to part 1.) 47 is clearly surprised to see her face probably for the first time in his life but what grabs his attention immediately after is what Diana has to tell him.
“The place is surrounded by thousands of SWAT members right now. They’re getting ready to move in. I had to warn you. There’s still time for you to escape. I’ve got a plan.” She hands 47 the briefing and when his attention is on the files, Diana moves the pistol out of his reach and injects her agent with the fake death serum. 47 is sure that she has betrayed him, but there’s nothing he can do and he collapses on the floor. “Dead”.
Only now it’s been revealed that Diana’s been fulfilling her master plan all along. She’s been a double agent, she gained Cayne’s trust by giving him exactly what he wanted – a fresh bone marrow from agent 47 to continue his works on the albino clones – and then got up the ranks of The Franchise to even become Alexander Cayne’s private nurse. 47’s funeral is starting soon and 47 is to be cremated. But not before his controller hands him his trusted Silverballers and kisses him on the lips applying the death serum’s antidote.
Ave Maria plays as the assassin is reborn. All of Cayne’s bodyguards are swiftly eliminated and only the priest, Rick Henderson and Alexander Cayne himself remain. Cayne gets what was coming for him, the priest ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and Rick is another victim of the circumstance. He begs the agent for forgiveness, but 47 knows he can’t leave witnesses alive. The white church and 47’s suit are now stained with blood.
The Agency is alive. Diana seems to be back in the office and is having a conversation about the state of affairs. The ending is left to be ambiguous, but it appears that 47’s also managed to continue his career and the curtain closes on both of them.
I swear, Diana bullshits everyone in this game. She IS the main character of this game. She’s in pretty much every cutscene somewhere in the background, she plays a major role, she’s the best.