Hitman Absolution “had regenerating health at one point”. How IO updated 47′s game

Hitman Absolution E3 screens

Hitman Absolution’s director Tore Blystad has been talking about updating Hitman for the modern gaming palette, including how, for a brief stint in development, 47 had magic healing health. [Shudder.]

Updating Hitman Absolution

According to Tore the goal with Absolution was, “to create something for everyone. To make the game as broad as possible”. The idea was to appeal to both the casual and hardcore. That’s why the game has five different difficultly levels, from super easy baby mode up to a terrifying Purist mode (no help, no hints, no anything). “In our opinion [Purist mode is] even harder than Hitman 1″, says Tore.

But creating a perfect balance took time to find a middle ground between the challenge that made the old Hitman games, and the easier, more forgiving difficulty the average modern gamer is used to, explains Blystad. “We tried most things. We had regenerating health at one point,” but the shortcomings that brought with it quickly became obvious: “You have to think more if you want to play this as a true Hitman game. If you can constantly assault and then hang back and regenerate the challenge gets lost.” The solution then was a mix of old and new. “We actually opted for a hybrid system. You regenerate some then we have health stations around the game if you want to use them.”

Hitman Absolution preview screens PS3

The important thing for IO was to update elements in a way that suited the material. For example, the new checkpoints might seem incongruous with older Hitman games that forced you to memorise and perfect large levels. In practice, though, they make the task more manageable without completely removing the challenge.

“With all the mechanics within the game we tried to apply them in a way that fits the game that we are making”, says Tore. “We have some checkpoints to make it slightly easier to get an overview over a section of the game. So you don’t have to worry about the entire massive levels – they’re very, very huge.” Checkpointing also helps contain any… incidents. “In the old games you had this kind of butterfly effect where you could be doing something in this corner of the level and it could spread out and it just messed up everything that you did. You could spend three hours getting to a point and in three seconds you’d destroyed everything you did. We wanted to make sure the player had more freedom to push the game, and the game would push back, but it wouldn’t demolish you immediately.”