Through the Wire: Hitman Turns 15
It's been fifteen years since we first wrapped up that iconic garrote wire and choked someone out as Agent 47 in his first stealth adventure, Hitman: Codename 47. In order to celebrate Hitman hitting the mid-teens, it's time we look back at one of our favorite stealth/assassination franchises. While Thief, Splinter Cell, Assassin's Creed, Metal Gear Solid and the Batman: Arkham series have all gone toe-to-toe with Agent 47, we still prefer Hitman when it comes to good old fashioned wetwork.
Hitman: Codename 47 was released on the PC format in 2000, and it utilized some unique mechanics that were unlike what we had grown accustomed to in the stealth-action genre. Instead of hiding in the shadows, boxes or bushes, Agent 47 would hide in plain sight most of the time. Starting off in his trademark suit, Agent 47 could utilize the disguises of the adversaries he disposed. This would help you gain access to typically restricted, guarded areas that you wouldn't be able to enter otherwise. Of course, your disguise would be compromised if your corpses were discovered, so you were best off hiding the bodies in an inconspicuous location.
We've seen Agent 47 go from the sanitarium to the ICA, a Sicilian monastery, a rival Franchise agency, Alpha Xerox, the White house and all kinds of international locations in between. Throughout the globe, most of 47's missions involve doing reconnaissance in order to find a safe, inconspicuous way into the building where his assassination target is located. The tension meter helped establish how much attention you were getting while in the public eye or under the watch of a facility's guards. Obviously, walking around with your gun drawn while wearing an orderly's outfit is going to get you noticed, whereas walking around in a security guard uniform while carrying their specific gun-type is going to be considered normal.
The Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie studio at Zyrinx was first founded in 1992. Comprised of Amiga vets, the small-time studio would go on to release Sub-Terrania for the Sega Genesis as its debut title, followed by Red Zone for the Genesis and Scorcher for the Sega Saturn. Unfortunately, the studio went kaput in 1998 after its publisher, Scavenger, went bankrupt. Luckily, the studio's former members bounced back as Reto-Moto. The Reto-Moto company would establish IO Interactive, whose first game, Hitman: Codename 47, was released in 2000. Hitman was met with an overall positive reception from both critics and fans, leading to a sequel, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, launching in 2002. After being purchased by their publisher, Eidos Interactive, IO Interactive would go on to release Hitman games in 2002, 2004 and 2006. After that, the company put Agent 47 on the backburner for a few years, experimenting with the Kane & Lynch series.
The popularity of the Hitman series resulted in 47 getting the Tomb Raider treatment in the form of two feature films. The first Hitman film of 2007 featured Timothy Olyphant in the lead role. Unfortunately, it was met with an overall negative response, despite grossing almost $100 million. A second movie, Hitman: Agent 47, launched this past August, featuring its title character being played by Rupert Friend (Paul Walker was originally slated to play the assassin, but died in a car accident prior to the movie's filming). Again, Hitman perpetuated the video game-based movie curse, averaging to an abysmal 8 percent rating (out of 100) on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2012, 47 returned to gaming consoles with Hitman: Absolution, which again was another hit of the franchise. Unfortunately, it failed to reach its sales targets, which lead to 47 returning to the shadows once again. Now, 47 is restringing his garrote wire in anticipation for hit next big return in Hitman, which is expected to launch in 2016. No matter where Agent 47 goes, he'll always be remembered for his elaborate plots of betrayal and espionage. More importantly, he'll be remembered for being one of the coolest assassins in video game history. Whether he's in his iconic suit or wearing a janitor's jumpsuit, it'll always be a delight to be taking out targets with the Silverballer pistols, sniper rifle and garrote wire as Agent 47.