Hitman: Absolution

Hitman: Absolution
Developer(s) IO Interactive
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Director(s) Tore Blystad
Peter Fleckenstein
Producer(s) Hakan B. Abrak
Designer(s) Lee Varley
Artist(s) Martin Vestergaard Madsen
Writer(s) Greg Nagan
Tore Blystad
Michael Vogt
Composer(s) Thomas Bartschi
Peter Kyed
Peter Peter
Series Hitman
Engine Glacier
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OS X
Release date(s)

Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360

  • WW: 20 November 2012


  • WW: 15 May 2014
Genre(s) Stealth
Mode(s) Single-player

Hitman: Absolution is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix.[1] It is the fifth installment in the Hitman series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise.[2] The game was released on 20 November 2012 (which is in the 47th week of the year in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47) for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.[3] On 15 May 2014 Hitman: Absolution — Elite Edition was released for OS X by Feral Interactive;[4] it contained all previously released downloadable content, including Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a "making of" documentary, and a 72-page artbook.[4]

Hitman: Absolution was met with a polarized reception. Most positive comments were concerning the game's graphics, environments and locations, and the varied gameplay options. However, many critics disliked the game for its linear structure as opposed to the open ended nature of previous installments. As of March 2013, the game has sold over 3.6 million copies.


Hitman: Absolution is a stealth video game in which the player assumes the role of a hitman named Agent 47. Presented from a third-person perspective, the gameplay centers around completing set objectives within a series of levels.[5][6] Objectives can range from simply reaching the end of the level, to killing specific individuals.[6] Players choose how to complete each level, taking branching paths to get to a target or location.[7] Players may use pistols, bottles or bricks, assault rifles, shotguns, fiber-wire, or steel pipe against enemies if opting for the action-oriented approach, or avoid enemies altogether, not being seen, using disguises, blending into the environment, and only attacking the set target(s), if using the stealth-oriented approach.[8][9][10] Agent 47 also has the 'Instinct' ability that lets the player monitor enemies more easily.[7] There are also environmental ways to kill or distract individuals; players can use poison to spike coffee, pull switches to make a disco ball fall and break, cause a massive explosion at a gas station, pull a switch to cause scaffolding to fall down, cause fires, or set off fireworks.[7][11] Players complete chapters in order to progress through the story. The player journeys to various locations, including a mansion, library, strip club, gun store, wrestling arena, courthouse, and hotel during the story.[11]

The game introduces an online option to the series, 'Contracts', where players can create their own missions for other players to complete.[12] Players choose one of the areas from the game's story missions and decide which NPC's are required to be eliminated, what weapon must be used to eliminate each target, what disguise is required, whether the body must be hidden or not and if the player is allowed to be spotted by the AI.[13]


Set after the events of Hitman: Blood Money and Hitman: Damnation, the game begins with Agent 47 detailing his relationship with his handler Diana Burnwood whom he had trusted until she, without explanation, betrayed the International Contract Agency (ICA) by sabotaging their funding and database, using the subsequent confusion to vanish. After the ICA is reformed, 47 is tasked by his new handler, Benjamin Travis, a high level official within the ICA, to kill Diana for her betrayal and retrieve an important Agency asset; a teenaged girl named Victoria from her mansion in Chicago, Illinois. 47 sneaks into her mansion and shoots Diana. Rather than finishing her off, 47 comforts his dying friend and asks her why she betrayed the ICA. Diana discovered Victoria was genetically-engineered to become an assassin for the ICA. Not wishing to see Victoria suffer the same fate as 47, she betrayed the ICA and escaped with her. As Diana's final request, 47 agrees to protect Victoria, for which Travis brands him a traitor.

After 47 drops Victoria off at the Rosewood Orphanage to hide, he contacts his informant, Birdie, for information about Victoria and the ICA, which Birdie agrees to provide once 47 has assassinated a crime boss in Chinatown for him. After cutting the barcode tattoo out of his head and giving his Silverballers to Birdie, 47 is informed by Birdie about a man named Blake Dexter, head of Dexter Industries, a home defense system company, who is staying at the Terminus Hotel. 47 sneaks into the hotel and learns from a conversation between Dexter and his secretary Layla Stockton in his penthouse that Dexter is planning to kidnap Victoria and sell her to the highest bidder. However, 47 is knocked out by Dexter's bodyguard Sanchez. Dexter, realizing who 47 is, kills a hotel maid, frames 47 and leaves him to die after setting his penthouse on fire. 47 manages to escape the hotel, and is then hunted by the Chicago PD. After escaping the police, Birdie sends 47 to kill Dexter's informant Dom Osmand. After Dom is killed, Birdie calls 47 for help as Dexter has hired thugs led by a criminal named Edward Wade to find him in order to discover Victoria's location. 47 heads to Chinatown and kills the thugs searching for Birdie only to discover Birdie has already been captured, and immediately heads to the orphanage, learning that Birdie has betrayed him by revealing Victoria's location to Wade so that his life may be spared.

47 manages to arrive at the orphanage just as Wade and his men attack. 47 mortally wounds Wade but Victoria is kidnapped and taken hostage by Lenny, Dexter's son. Learning where to find Dexter from a matchbox found on Wade, 47 heads to the town of Hope, South Dakota, where Dexter rules the town due to his PMC's and the corrupt town sheriff, Clive Skurky, who is under his pay. Retrieving his Silverballers, 47 takes out Lenny's gang, the "Hope Cougars", who were planning to kidnap Victoria from Dexter and sell her to a rival weapons company. After interrogating Lenny over where Victoria is, 47 can either kill Lenny or leave him to die in the desert. Arriving at Dexter Industries HQ, 47 sneaks into the company's laboratory, kills the scientists who examined Victoria and destroys their research data on her. After killing Sanchez in an underground cage fight, 47 recuperates at a hotel but the hotel is attacked by an ICA strike team led by "The Saints". 47 eliminates The Saints including their leader, Lasandra Dixon. Angered over this failure, Travis heads to Hope with a large group of ICA operatives to kill 47 and find Victoria.

47 manages to find Victoria under the Hope Courthouse jails but is subdued by Sheriff Skurky. As Dexter tortures 47, demanding to know where his son is, he is informed that Travis wants Victoria back in exchange for $10 million and leaves. 47 manages to escape into the streets of Hope, just as the ICA takes over the town. 47 chases Skurky to a church where the sheriff tells 47 that Dexter is heading to Blackwater Park in Chicago, before 47 kills him. In Chicago, Dexter and Travis attempt an exchange for Victoria for $10 million but the deal turns sour when Travis refuses his part of the deal and Dexter takes the money anyway. After reaching the top of Blackwater Park, 47 kills Layla and finally Dexter himself, after the latter had tried to escape with Victoria on a helicopter. In Dexter's dying words he offers an apology to his son and his money, leading a disgusted Victoria to throw the $10 million on his body before leaving with 47.

A few months later, Travis and his assistant Jade Nguyen arrive at a cemetery in England with an ICA crew to find Diana's grave as he has suspicions that Diana might not be dead. 47 is there as well as he recounts the letter Diana gave to him. In the letter, Diana reveals Victoria was created by Travis's funding without the knowledge and approval of the ICA higher ups and tasks him to eliminate Travis. After eliminating Jade and Travis's elite bodyguards, 47 confronts Travis himself after injuring him in an explosion. As Travis rants at 47 for wasting Victoria's potential for the ICA, he asks 47 if he really did kill Diana to which 47 responds "You will never know" and kills Travis.

It is later revealed that Diana survived and Victoria is with her at her mansion where 47 watches them from his scope thus revealing that only he knew all along he hit Diana with a shot that would not be fatal. The game ends with a message from Diana to 47 welcoming him back to the ICA and thanking him for his help. This also reveals that the story from the end of Blood Money to Absolution was all one daring hit contract on individuals within the Agency by Diana and executed by 47 to protect Victoria and terminate the assassin cloning project. In the epilogue, Detective Cosmo Faulkner of the Chicago PD, who has been tracking 47 since the Terminus Hotel fire, is having trouble discovering 47's identity until Birdie offers to help him for a price.


Though plans to continue the Hitman franchise were first announced in 2007,[14] it was not until May 2009 that Eidos confirmed the game was in development.[15] Certain plot details for the game were rumored in 2009, stating that the game's story would lead Agent 47 to a low point from which he would have to rebuild himself.[16] On 20 April 2011, Square Enix filed the trademark for the name Hitman: Absolution in Europe, leading sites to speculate that it would be the name of the fifth Hitman game.[17] On 6 May 2011, a teaser trailer was released, confirming the title Hitman: Absolution. The trailer briefly showed Agent 47 attaching a suppressor and a rattlesnake coiled around his signature Silverballer pistol.[18] It has been reported the game will be a "familiar and yet significantly different experience from other Hitman games."[19] On 9 October 2011, a full gameplay trailer entitled "Run for Your Life" was released.[20]


The Professional Edition of Hitman Absolution features Professional Clamshell packaging for the game, a Hitman art book, making of DVD and the "Agency Gun Pack" DLC.[21]

Hitman: Sniper Challenge

Hitman: Sniper Challenge, a single sniping mission, was developed by IO Interactive, originally as a pre-order bonus, available to people who pre-order the game. The code would be supplied by retailers upon pre-order of the game, and could be collected from retailers before release as a download code before the game's release. At the time of pre-order, Sniper Challenge is redeemable via the PSN Store, Xbox Live Marketplace and PC. While the console version launched worldwide on 15 May 2012, the PC version wasn't released until 1 August 2012.[22][23]

Pre-order bonuses

Square Enix announced special Hitman: Absolution pre-order bonuses for selected retailers.[24] For Steam purchased games, these downloadable content are available as well.[25] These items only work for Contract mode and not the single player story mode.


The original soundtrack for the game is composed by Thomas Bärtschi with additional music written by Peter Kyed, Peter Peter and Dynamedion, replacing the series's previous composer, Jesper Kyd.[26]


Critical response

Aggregate scores
GameRankings(PS3) 84.83%[27]
(X360) 79.29%[28]
(PC) 76.13%[29]
Metacritic(PS3) 83/100[30]
(X360) 79/100[31]
(PC) 79/100[32]
Review scores
Game Informer8.75/10[35]
Giant Bomb[39]
PC Gamer (US)66/100[42]
Gaming AgeC[46]
The Daily Mail[48]
The Daily Telegraph[49]

Hitman: Absolution received a generally positive reception. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 3 version 84.83% and 83/100,[27][30] the Xbox 360 version 79.29% and 79/100[28][31] and the PC version 76.13% and 79/100,[29][32] respectively. Positive reviews came from GamesRadar, calling it "one of the strongest entries in the series to date",[37] and Game Informer, who wrote that "devising a strategy, using the environment and disguises to your advantage, and leaving before anyone knows you’re there are the hallmarks of a perfect hit, and Absolution proves Agent 47 is still gaming's premier hitman."[35] The Daily Mail gave the game a 4/5, with particular praise being given to the game's varied environments, of which they remarked that "whether it's walking along the sun-kissed balcony of a beach-side villa, or exploring the dank, underground sewers below a nightclub, Absolution brings each world to life with remarkable aplomb."[48]

Edge gave it 7/10, saying "the game has taken a unique formula and diluted it".[33] VentureBeat gave it 7.5/10 saying "Absolution aims high but misses the mark."[50] Eurogamer gave it 7/10 saying "Agent 47 doesn't begin Hitman: Absolution with amnesia, but the six years that have passed since we last took control of him in Blood Money do seem to have dulled his creators' recollections of what made him so popular in the first place."[34] GameSpot gave it 7.5/10 saying "Hitman: Absolution's vivid world and enjoyable stealth-action gameplay overshadow its few notable inconsistencies."[36] IGN gave it 9/10 saying "It’s nice to have a game that doesn’t just encourage improvisation; it requires it."[40] Forbes and Kotaku both gave Absolution positive reviews.[51][52] Giant Bomb gave it 4/5,[39] as did Joystiq.[41] Destructoid gave it 8.5/10.[6] GameArena gave the game a 3/10 saying "IO Interactive needs to restart from the Blood Money checkpoint and try again — they screwed up this run spectacularly."[45]

The Daily Telegraph gave the game a 2/5 saying "Despite the fact that Absolution is a hugely disappointing entry into the canon, Hitman is still a fabulous series."[49] IBITimes gave the game a 5/10 saying "An unremarkable, derivative clone of a game that's barely a shadow of what Hitman used to be."[47] Videogamer.com gave it 5/10 saying "The problem with Absolution is that its new custodians from the Kane and Lynch team seem to have fundamentally misunderstood what made Hitman great."[43] Blogcritics.org gave the game a 3/5 saying "There are definitely good things about it, but all too often the game's failures shine through more clearly than its successes."[44] PC Gamer gave it 66% saying "A passable stealth game, but one that betrays almost everything that, until now, has made Hitman great."[42] GameTrailers gave it 6.9/10 saying "It’s clear that a good deal of effort was put into crafting Hitman: Absolution’s world. This makes its flaws all the more unfortunate."[38] New Statesman gave no rating but said "If developers want to win back fans when they revisit established franchises maybe they should look to what made those games popular in the first place and by doing so maybe they’d avoid stepping on a rake or two."[53] GamerSyndrome gave no rating but said "Hitman Absolution tries to be a jack of all trades but ends up being a master of none."[54] The Irish Times gave no score but said "The move away from the completely open world may leave some hardcore fans of Hitman disappointed."[55] Gaming Age rated the game a 'C' and said "It feels like I’m playing a low rent, knockoff Metal Gear title as opposed to traditional Hitman."[46] The Daily Record gave the game 3/5 saying "While it’s more accessible than previous Hitman games, Absolution loses a lot of the freedom that fans of the franchise love, and perhaps doesn’t necessarily fit the Hitman name any longer."[56] TheEscapist gave no score but said "Hitman Absolution is not the best nor the worst Hitman".[57] Whatculture gave the game a 3/5 saying "Not Quite the expected hit".[58] The Guardian gave it 3/5 saying "The game may look better and play better than any Hitman game before it, but one can only marvel at how IO managed to lose sight of their IP's most appealing aspects so often."[59]

On 26 March 2013, Square Enix announced that the game had sold about 3.6 million copies at retail, but has failed to reach predicted sales targets.[60]

Technical issues

Shortly after launch, scores of complaints came in about the game crashing, freezing and corrupting file saves on the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, rendering many of the games unplayable.[61] On 26 November 2012, IO Interactive stated that they were working around the clock to try and fix these technical errors, but also stated that they did not know what exactly was causing the errors, so a patch may take some time.[62]

The patch for the PC and PS3 versions was released on 10 December 2012, while the Xbox 360 patch was released nine days later.


On 29 May 2012, a cinematic teaser trailer, produced by Square Enix's CGI studio Visual Works, titled "Attack of the Saints" was released.[63] The trailer's depiction of "gun-toting, PVC and latex-clad nuns being killed in a hail of bullets" sparked controversy over the allegedly sexist portrayal of women.[64][65] IO Interactive's Tore Blystad, the game's director, later apologized, stating they're "sorry that we offended people" and that it "was truly not the intention of the trailer."[66]

On 4 December 2012, IO Interactive faced heavy criticism for releasing a Hitman: Absolution Facebook app that allowed users to identify and threaten Facebook friends for assassination. Methods of identifying female friends included "her hairy legs", "her muffin top" and "her small tits". Methods of identifying male friends included "his ginger hair", "his shit hair" and "his tiny penis". Users could choose a reason to kill their friend, such as the fact that they "smell bad" or were cheating on their partner. Friends received a personalised video on their Facebook wall identifying them as a target. Signing up to watch the video presented recipients with a mixture of their own photos and Facebook details merged into a video of Hitman character Agent 47 shooting them. IO Interactive admitted the promotional app was in bad taste and removed it the same day.[67][68][69]


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