What we want to see in Hitman 3

One of the most exciting announcements to come out of Sony’s recent PS5 showcase was the unveiling of Hitman 3, the third (and apparently final) entry in Io Interactive’s rebooted ‘World of Assassination’ Hitman series which began with 2016’s Hitman and continued in 2018’s Hitman 2.

As of this writing, we know little about Hitman 3 other than the scant details which could be gleaned from the brief story and gameplay trailers Io released. There will naturally be some as-yet-disclosed new gameplay features, a series of new levels (including one set in Dubai), and a continuation of the story established in the two previous games. And speaking of the first two games, much as Io did with the shift from Hitman to Hitman 2, all previous content from the first two games (levels, progression, unlocks, etc.) will carry over to Hitman 3.

It’s certainly good to know that Hitman 3 will allow us to become reacquainted with our favorite locations and unlocks from the first two games, but we’re also hopeful that Io Interactive has plans to push the envelope a bit. This is, after all, the ultimate crescendo of the World of Assassination trilogy, and thus, despite protagonist Agent 47’s proclivity for subtle eliminations, it should most definitely go out with a bang. Below, we’ve listed some of the ways in which we hope Hitman 3 not only refines what the first two games offer but also expand upon it.

More Indirect Multiplayer

Hitman 2’s ‘Ghost Mode’ multiplayer experience was an interesting experiment which, unfortunately, never really got much traction amongst the game’s player community. The 1v1 competitive mode dropped two players into a level simultaneously and tasked them with eliminating the same exact targets in any manner they saw fit. While the two players couldn’t directly attack each other, they could manipulate each others’ respective world instances using unique ‘Ghost Items’ which affected conditions in both world instances regardless of which player used the item.

There’s a good chance Ghost Mode will return in Hitman 3, but we’re hoping Io has been brainstorming other unique multiplayer modes as well. We’d love to see something like a cooperative experience where two or more players must sync up their actions and eliminate a series of multiple targets in quick succession. Another idea might be a competitive mode where one player must kill a certain NPC and the other player has to defend that same NPC, either by helping them escape or maybe by discovering and killing the other player (who’d probably be disguised). For an added twist, each match could begin with neither player knowing what the NPC looks like, forcing them to track down clues and act with haste while also maintaining their cover.

If Io was curious about what sorts of reward incentives it could offer for such multiplayer modes, we’ve got an idea for that as well….

Additional Outfit Unlock Methods

Some of the most coveted rewards players could unlock in the first two World of Assassination Hitman games were new outfits for Agent 47. Unfortunately, with only a few notable exceptions, the majority of outfits players could obtain in the first two games had to either be unlocked by eliminating Elusive Targets or purchased through paid DLC.

The thrill of successfully completing an Elusive Target mission (where players only have one shot at killing the target and escaping) certainly made the associated outfit unlocks feel like worthwhile prizes. However, many Hitman players didn’t feel such rewards were worth dealing with such stringent high-stress conditions, and those who did were more likely to just follow a walkthrough anyways, dampening the thrill in the process.

Io Interactive later made some concessions by including new outfits in the mastery reward tracks for Hitman 2’s DLC levels and adding in new contract events which came with associated outfit unlocks (though said events were also oftentimes temporary additions). We’re hoping that for Hitman 3 Io tosses more casual players a bone by offering additional avenues for new outfit unlocks, ones which don’t require an overtly high degree of skill to successfully complete.

Earning new outfits by completing specific criteria or eliminating unique NPCs is certainly not a bad thing, but not every objective needs to be tied to a limited-time event, and not every unique NPC needs to be an Elusive Target.  

More Robust Contract Creation

The ability for players to create their own custom missions, or “contracts,” technically pre-dates the World of Assassination trilogy, having first been introduced in 2012’s Hitman: Absolution. And while it was nice to see the eponymously named ‘Contracts Mode’ return in the World of Assassination games, it always felt overshadowed by more flashy modes like the previously mentioned Elusive Targets and Ghost Mode.

Given the proper care, Hitman 3’s Contracts Mode could finally find a foothold of its own, and a big part of that proper care would be expanding what players can accomplish when designing their own contract missions. It would admittedly be a bit hard to balance in certain cases, but we’re guessing that players who prefer acting as creator rather than killer would appreciate the following Contracts Mode extensions:

  • Being able to insert custom NPC’s into levels and maybe even give them unique backgrounds and behavior patterns
  • Manipulating level parameters such as crowd density, placement of specific items and weapons, and weather/time of day
  • Attaching unique challenges and rewards to a contract by meeting certain Io-specified criteria (to avoid cheesing)
  • Allowing players to control characters other than Agent 47 (even if the change was purely cosmetic like a simple NPC model swap)

Such extensions would not only make Contracts Mode a more enticing prospect for Hitman 3 players, it would also ensure the game’s longevity by giving those same players the tools to create fun custom scenarios and maybe even opportunities for in-universe roleplaying. At the very least, getting to play as characters other than Agent 47 would help build up the image of a global network of player-controlled assassins, and there’s actually another way Io Interactive could help make that world a true reality as well…

Custom Hitman Sniper Avatars

Assuming the Hitman Sniper sub-mode from Hitman 2 also returns in Hitman 3, it would give Io another opportunity to expand players’ horizons beyond the capabilities of Agent 47 (as incredibly badass as those capabilities maybe). The full breadth of the World of Assassination that Agent 47 inhabits was hinted at in Hitman Sniper’s co-op variant which cast players as a pair of other pre-made assassins, and we’d be all for Io taking that idea and running with it.

Giving players a roster of pre-made snipers to choose from, each with their own backgrounds, personalities, and maybe even unique weaponry/sniper ammunition, would give Hitman Sniper some much needed depth and replay value. Allowing players to create their own custom Hitman Sniper avatars and equip them with unique weapons and gadgets would achieve the same results, but we acknowledge that would be a much bigger undertaking on Io’s part.

Still, as we mentioned at the top of this article, Hitman 3 might just be Io’s last chance to pull new fans into the World of Assassination series as well as secure the trilogy’s legacy for existing fans. Our dreams for what Hitman 3 could be might err a bit strongly on the side of wishful thinking, but Io has already proved once before that it’s willing to significantly up its game for the sake of its fanbase. Here’s hoping the studio plans on making an equally strong first impression with Agent 47’s final adventure in the World of Assassination.

Hitman 3 is currently slated to launch for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC in January 2021.