You'll want that SWAT uniform if you're going to war with the Chicago PD. Hitman's last title, Blood Money, was filled with guns, but even the most ardent assassin will concede gunplay was never 47's strong suit.
Playing for Silent Assassin was the best way to play because it drew the least attention; extended shootouts looked silly, played sloppy, and were easily exploitable. In Absolution, for the first time, guns are a viable option if you'd rather make some noise on your way to the contract.
In Hitman the highest honour is still Silent Assassin
"The firearms were never given much love in the previous games," says Blystad, "And the fibrewire was really hard to use as the sneaking speed was slower than the NPCs' walking speed, and it only worked at a very short distance. This led to what I believe the Hitman forum calls the 'dance of shame' with a combination of sneak/run/fibrewire attempts."
So, you wake up and decide to be the most prolific cop killer digital Chicago has ever faced. What happens now? "Getting a gun is easy - just find that lone cop you would otherwise steal the uniform from and break his neck," Blystad says.
"From there on it's lock and load; the NPCs are ready for a fight from any direction. Believability is closely linked with the NPC behaviour and reactions to the player, so we added a 'reasoning grid' that allows them to have awareness of the world they inhabit."
An invisible mesh covers every level, highlighting places where players might hide, might fight, and might set traps. It also highlights valuable cover and advantageous positions for the cops.
"If the player wants to be efficient it's best to start in a corner and quickly get through the enemies before the alert can spread too far. Worst case - everyone is alerted and SWAT are called in with even bigger guns and Kevlar vests. The combat AI works in groups, so using the new cover system would be a safer solution than going head-on.
"If it's too tough you can always retreat and find a hiding place, which will send the AI into hunt mode. Depending on the damage you've caused they will, over time, stand down to an alert state that matches the damage.
If Agent 47 simply fired a couple of shots they might continue talking about the weather, but if their friends are killed they will continue being on the lookout. For the player just wanting to let off some steam, playing through guns blazing is a fully viable - though messy - solution now."