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Why the next Hitman should go open world

Ever since I was but a lad, the prospect of my first virtual hit a mere glimmer in my eye, I’ve had a dream. Oh, alright then, ever since I finished Blood Money. Anyhoo, that dream is of a world where Scotland always qualify for the World Cup. An existence where Back to the Future II's hoverboards are both affordable and in plentiful supply. And, most importantly, a world where the next Hitman is announced at this week’s E3 as an open world game.

Read below to find out why Agent 47 doing a Niko Bellic would be a murderously good idea. 


Let’s set the scene… then kill someone horribly in it

47 wakes up in a grotty hotel. Stepping out onto the balcony, he equips his binoculars and sees his target in an apartment across the street. The slaphead sociopath waits until the man finishes his breakfast, exits his building and starts driving to work. After hotwiring the most inconspicuous vehicle he can find, the assassin starts to tail him, keeping a safe distance until he gets to work. It’s a non descript office building, though handily, sits across from a nearby clock tower with a handy sniping spot.


Above: A sandbox-style Hitman would be all about watching and waiting

Trouble is, 47’s employer has specified the job needs to look like an accident. So he can’t just pop the poor chap from across the street as he checks his morning spreadsheets and struggles through a shitty vending machine coffee. It's then 47 realises he’s going to have to watch this guy's daily routine, waiting for an opportunity to make his death look like an accident.

Maybe this’ll take days. Perhaps he’ll strike on a Tuesday when Jimmy Office Drone decides to treat himself to a salmon and cream cheese bagel from the snack van in the car park. 47 could sneak in while nobody's looking and inject said cream cheese carton with Columbia’s finest neurotoxin.

Or maybe he waits until Thursday, when the hit does his weekly yoga in a secluded park during his lunchtime. It would be the perfect opportunity to syringe him full of drugs that’ll simulate a heart-attack.


Above: That's it, Jimmy. Enjoy your stretches while you can, chump

But it’s not just this hit you have to worry about. As 47 in this open world city, you’ll have to juggle your schedule. You might have three jobs you have to complete in a week. With the key to taking each one out successfully, managing your time and analysing their schedule, so you can murder each in the stealthiest fashion possible.

It would open the game up like never before, requiring the sort of patience that Hitman titles have always demanded, but over a much longer timescale. But c’mon, just imagine how rewarding the payoff of finally whacking someone would be if you’d been tracking their movements for a fortnight. Eat poison cream cheese, Jimmy!


Above: Next time you enjoy a bagel, best check it for poison syringes


The core of the game could stay the same

Right, my creative writing and… eh, slightly homicidal fantasies placed to one side, Hitman going open world wouldn’t mean the series would have to ditch the mechanics that have made it such a success. 47’s games have always centred around scripted environments, which are open enough to let you try multiple murdering tactics, but still focused so you don’t feel lost.

The key to making Hitman work in a sandbox world would be keeping pockets of the environment focused and full of semi scripted moments. Say you had to infiltrate a prison or a shopping mall. These locations could be every bit as tightly choreographed as the best levels in Blood Money. But driving to each when they both exist in a fully operating city would only make the experience that much more atmospheric.


Above: A shopping mall would be a great location for a hit

GTA IV showed glimpses of the formula during a couple of its better missions. The best example is probably when Niko enters a building, nabs a sniper rifle then shoots the poor bastard who’s in the adjacent building. Here, you could look through his window with the rifle as he watches TV, read the number off his phone and ring him so he stands up, making himself an easy target. Or you could simply shoot the satellite dish on his roof so he goes up on there to investigate, then BAM!

Now imagine this on a much grander scale where you might be juggling several of these jobs at once. Excited yet?

26 comments

  • smiley187 - November 13, 2010 2:25 p.m.

    making hitman an open world game would make things a bit more interesting, but I honestly liked the changes blood money brought. watching my targets for a week would probably cut into my girlfriend time, guess she will just have to wait.
  • DriveShaft - June 15, 2010 9:38 p.m.

    Could be good,but it's a thin line - either it'd be done perfect or complete shit.
  • FreekinIdiot - June 15, 2010 4:21 p.m.

    I don't even care if it's not a sand-box environment, just bring out another hitman game already!
  • philipshaw - June 15, 2010 11:38 a.m.

    Great idea and I hope to see this game at E3 with or without the open world
  • Rhymenocerous - June 15, 2010 9:09 a.m.

    I've been saying this for YEARS. Finally someone caught on to the idea. Yup, think I deserve all the credit for this. lol.
  • sean187 - June 15, 2010 6:40 a.m.

    i really love these ideas but it just doesn't seem like everyone would. and in this climate of video games, developers won't make a game unless it sells big to as many people as possible.
  • RedOutlive10 - June 15, 2010 3:06 a.m.

    You guys are right on the money. The game would greatly benefit from a free roaming approach. Maybe even taking "sides" that affect the outcome of the story and all depending on which contracts you take.
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - June 14, 2010 11:27 p.m.

    Seems like an epic idea. I'd personally sabotage Jimmy's seatbelt and then "arrange" a traffic diversion so that he would have to drive down a river/seaside road, before he suddenly loses control of his car due to a mysteriously popped tyre or has to swerve to avoid an "elderly" man crossing the road... Straight through the windscreeen and into the watery depths... I thought that through way too much, didn't I?
  • Stabby_Joe - June 14, 2010 11:18 p.m.

    While these ideas are sound plausible, my major concern however is an open world game would be just one setting, thus lacking the variety in locations around the globe such as one mission in a snowy mountain, then a jungle, then a suburban neighborhood etc, it's what made each mission fresh.
  • MisterAdequate - June 14, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    I'd never even considered it. But you are absolutely right. That is a superb idea and frankly, if they're not already doing it, they should scrap development and do it this way. I also reckon this would be a prime game where you could have a more realistic and sensible wanted system. Rather than just getting the FBI ramming you off the road in the middle of a busy thoroughfare, it'd be quite a bit more nifty if they tried to track you down more in the way real cops do, so you could head home after a job and find that the cops are crawling all over your place, you've lost all the equipment etc. inside, and you have to find somewhere else to hide out with just the clothes on your back. Or you could end up so widely-recognized that you couldn't leave your abandoned slum home without a disguise. Oh, for a game with real consequences. That wouldn't dilute the Hitman experience, it would distil it! You would feel constant pressure to do it right, and to do it stealthily. A screwup which influences how you play the rest of the game seems to me to be a more interesting thing than a screwup which costs you a weapon upgrade because you have to spend the money on bribes instead.
  • Togala - June 14, 2010 7:31 p.m.

    I don't care what it is just have a new Hitman game. AHHH!
  • LIKEUCARE - June 14, 2010 7:30 p.m.

    I doubt an open-world Hitman game would work great as Hitman is all about being a PROFESSIONAL assassin... not some hired nobody to paint a few guys and take them down later. He cannot leave any traces behind. The crime has to be PERFECT, unlike what people think with Assassin's Creed franchise. AC is very good and fun, but its not a "realistically professional" assassin game. Completely different settings too. I'd prefer Hitman franchise to go back to its roots with all the customizations from Blood Money that provided so many gun types and accessories. I'd prefer a Hitman game that if you mess up slightly to truly bad, you can get jailed... heck, even your own organisation could track you down and eliminate your incompetence since you give a bad rep. Eliminating people is serious business after all isn't? 47 is a world class, heck, he's THE ULTIMATE assassin his organisation can offer to their clients.
  • ryno - June 14, 2010 4:40 p.m.

    rreallyyy AWSOM ideas id buy this
  • quicksilver_502 - June 14, 2010 4 p.m.

    while i do twitch a little at the idea of altering the hitman formula, i don't want to be one of those fans who gets upset when anything changes and frankly, hitman being open-world could be good. however, as long as they announce a new hitman i'll be happy.
  • Felixthecat - June 14, 2010 3:57 p.m.

    It would most likely be the shit. I love Hitman, and a GTA/Hitman would be amazing. A modern would Assassins Creed just without all the parkour and a lot more guns would be epic.
  • Cleanser247 - June 14, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    That would be very cool. I laughed at the bagel : D
  • Ridgley - June 14, 2010 3:38 p.m.

    I LOVE HITMAN!!!!
  • Gameguy94 - June 14, 2010 3:35 p.m.

    FINALLY!! Someone agrees with me about Assassin's Creed! Anyways... Dave are you sure you don't happen to work in crime ring? Cuz those ideas were awfully good to have been made up by a some vid.game reporter. Are you sharing personal experiences with us?
  • crumbdunky - June 14, 2010 3:13 p.m.

    But there's no need for it to be a sandbox on the scale of a GTA game, is there? I always think the weakest part of GTA is that it loses immersion when you get caught after blowing away 78 civvies and all you lost is your guns and ammo! How much less convincing in a game of REAL stealth would it be for Agent 47 to be capping people tag lag in real(ish) time in the same damn city? It would be beyond stupid and lose any semblance of credibility and I cannot believe you didn't think of that. It just wouldn't FEEL right as you'd be almost thumbing your nose at the authorities which is something a real assassin would NEVER do in the modern age of a million ways to get caught. No. Far better, imo, to have a series of vastly expanded mini open worlds where it's more WHAT you can notice than how large and detailed the world at large is. Make the smaller areas work properly with NPCs doing their thing but focus it mission style to streamline the experience while still upping your freedom. I always wanted to see 47 doing an Arctic/Antarctic explorer(maybe someone doing shady research?)off in the snows or the tundra as it would be a totally new Hitman experience and , also, because I detest the attention seeking buggers that cost a billion quid every time they, stupidly, fall in a ravine doing something no one needs them to effin do anyway. So, yeah, good ideas, but I really don't like the one big city idea at all. When it's about not leaving a trace how could you justify a GTA style set up? You'd be so notorious and bring yourself so on top that all cred would just be gone and it would, for me, involve way too much suspending of belief.
  • CurryIsGood - June 14, 2010 3:09 p.m.

    well in assasigns creed you only have close up weapons most of the time there were no snipers captcha:teethed as

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