Hitman for hire - Stealth Gaming Series

Hitman for hire – Stealth Gaming Series

Why the stealth series is setting the standard across next-gen gaming platforms

The Hitman games from IO Interactive have been at the heart of one of the biggest franchises in gaming history, perhaps only rivalled by Tomb Raider. In the 16 years since the game’s inception there have been six full console games, an iOS app, a slot machine adaptation, two feature length films, and now a game for next generation consoles released in an episodic format. The brand is considered an innovator in regards to trying new things and adapting to expanding markets, and it’s this flexibility that has ensured its continued success.


The Hitman storyline is based around the mysterious “Agent 47”, a bald assassin with a barcode tattooed on his neck. Originally subjected to numerous experiments in an asylum, Agent 47 escapes and meets his handler, Diana Burnwood. She tasks him with the job of killing criminals, including the doctor that tested on him in the asylum. It comes to light that Agent 47 is a clone, who had spent most of his life being conditioned to kill. Over time, and after developing a flawless hit record, the Hitman finds himself in high demand among wealthy clients requiring a discreet killer to do their dirty work. These contracts are the main premise of the game.


The original 2007 Hitman film starred Timothy Olyphant of Deadwood fame, and was directed by the French film director, Xavier Gens. It was viewed unfavourably by critics and received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 14%, but even so, went on to enjoy huge commercial success and grossed $99million on a $24million budget. Critics slated the adaptation for an incoherent storyline, unnecessary violence, and for the protagonist being worlds apart from the character in the game. In the game series the Hitman succeeds through stealth, cunning, strategy, and heightened abilities, he doesn’t needlessly find himself in uncontrollable fire fights. However, the film’s portrayal pulled in audiences and the 2007 film is a prime example of how the franchise has adapted and evolved to triumph in a variety of different media. The 2015 film, Hitman: Agent 47, was also viewed in low regard by the ruthless eyes of film critics but cashed in at the box office, grossing over $82million worldwide. These films attracted a whole new audience to the franchise, and have allowed the developers to break out into other gaming formats in the knowledge that there will always be people seeking ways to enjoy the brand.


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Next-Generation consoles

Hitman has proved to be at the cusp of gaming innovations once again with its new episodic release format. Taking inspiration from Telltale Gaming’s success with the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones series, IO Interactive now release an episode of the game every month, each one set in a different major city with unique missions and storylines. This could be the start of a common theme for PS4 and Xbox One games, as even though the likes of Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 received such high acclaim, a lot of players found that they were so huge, they had to take a break before completing them. Releasing the games in more manageable chunks may keep players interested for longer.

As the popularity of the Hitman franchise grows, there are sure to be more films, and even more unique and enjoyable games. Other developers should take note.

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