Watch the best Hitmen on YouTube and you'll see them sneak complex areas without even grabbing a disguise. It's possible to play Blood Money like Splinter Cell if you try hard, but it's an emergency solution rather than a first port of call. In Absolution, the very best Silent Assassins keep their heads down and lurk in shadow.
"The cover system is built specifically for a smooth stealth experience." says Blystad. "If it's used in conjunction with Instinct it lets you navigate complex rooms like the library with a large number of NPCs.
"There are agility paths for players looking for alternative routes. This adds some verticality to the levels and for the exploring player may lead to otherwise unavailable areas. There are also vents and air ducts that can reveal some unseen areas.
We've added a number of body containers to help cover your tracks
"You can distract NPCs by taking out lights with a silent gun, using interactive objects like the fuse box in our E3 demo, or throwing found items, but they'll get smart if you do it too often. We've added a number of inventive 'body containers' to help cover your tracks, and it would be a good idea to collect the security tapes.
"There's a large number of stealthy takedowns, from bare hands to improvised weapons to various firearms. And of course the classic fibrewire, which has been given a mechanics overhaul to be a real potent stealth weapon."
The fibrewire takedown is now a single button press behind an enemy's back. Blood Money veterans will hate that. They'll hate the scripted action sequences that punctuate the levels, the new musicians replacing usual composer Jesper Kyd, and the new checkpoint system which replaces the old quicksaves, too.
They're the players who remember the pillow kill in Beldingford Manor and the shark tank in A Dance With the Devil, the ghost in Traditions of the Trade and the prop gun in Curtains Down. But so do IO, and they're trying to recreate those moments.
"I'm probably the worst judge of Blood Money," says Blystad, when asked what was so wrong with it.
"I know every little corner of it and I know all the dreams and ideas we had that didn't get fulfilled, as well as all the bugs and design flaws. We often boot it up to check on the old ideas and what always stands out to me is the strength of the fantasies and the concepts which are still pretty unique even today.
"But... the presentation is quite archaic and there are a lot of mechanics that are hard to understand - especially if you were new to Hitman games. We've really investigated all the components in Blood Money and rebuilt the mechanics to fit a more empowered experience.
You shouldn't be fighting the game mechanics or struggling to understand the layout of the level, but focusing on your strategy, containing situations, exploring the environment and deciding what kind of Hitman you want to be.
"We've made Absolution the hardest Hitman game when it comes to purist, hardcore play style. We're planning some fiendishly hard challenges for them with rewards that'll match the effort. This is Hitman. Silent Assassin is still the most sought after rating you can get as a hardcore Hitman player, and the perfect playthrough is when nobody even knew you were there."
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