Content of the article: "My rambling list of suggestions for Hitman 4. (Very long read)"
For context, I'm mostly looking at this from the perspective of a Master difficulty SASO player (classic lockpick gang), but it applies to everyone.
First off, I'd tweak the saving system. While there is currently a good balance between difficulty and playability, it's quite annoying only having one save on Master (if you use it too early). I've come up with two things which I call the 'Grace Period Save' and the 'Soft Save'.
Grace Saves are essentially a way of skipping a a few seconds of the sorts of things that get repetitive very quickly, like running from where you saved to where you actually need to be (especially if you're not in a restricted area and aren't sneaking past anyone). The idea is that if you use your one 'Hard Save' (read: regular normal save) you can save again up to sixty seconds later as long as you've not been spotted, changed disguise, killed/pacified anyone, and maybe a few other small caveats. It's purely intended for time saving when you're on a part of a run that you have to keep reloading. I obviously don't want people exploiting it to make the game really easy, so it would have to be pretty effectively kneecapped in that regard.
Soft Saves are the disposable plastic cutlery of the savegame world. You lay down your Hard Save, do some stuff, get to that hard bit where you keep failing because your solution's really janky and only works half the time – then you deploy your Soft Save. Much like the Hard Save, you only get one. The difference is that this is single use, it gives you a second chance but not a third. Again the intent is not to make the game easier, but rather to save time and avoid needless repetition. This might seem to clash with the Grace Save, but there should be a menu that tells you, when saving, whether or not you're within the window to use your Grace Save or if you have to use the Soft Save (also explain it like how the regular Hard Save is signposted as being a one-off single-use save).
I could see the Grace Save being used as a sort of autosave, so you don't have to redo the first minute over and over, and then again once you've used your Hard Save to save a little bit of time. NB: Grace Saves and Soft Saves should be able to be loaded independently – e.g. if the game automatically creates a Grace Save it should be on the bottom row with the autosaves so you aren't forced to use it. You can't make a second Soft Save, but that doesn't mean you must load from it (maybe split the 'load save' tile horizontally with the Soft Save on the top and the Hard Save at the bottom).
Another small thing I'd like is the ability to move saves around in the load menu. I keep overwriting the one in the first slot when there are some I wish I could keep but don't want to have to use the second/third slot as my default. The obvious solution is to start saving funny stuff in the latter slots, but I always forget to do it.
New/improved weapons. I really like the idea of the RFID triggered explosive. When I first saw it I thought 'Wow! What a great idea.', but was sorely disappointed when I realised that it doesn't work how I thought it would (at least not on that targets I tried). The explosive can be planted wherever the target is going to naturally go, and the coin should be attractive to targets and they should want to pick it up and walk off with it (leading to their doom when they get close enough to the bomb). I assumed this is how it would work and it doesn't seem to (I've only tried it on the legacy pack, so maybe this is just a bug), an explosive whose detonator is triggered by throwing something at it is completely useless. An emetic and tranquilliser version of the weapon I described (essentially a proximity triggered explosive, but only sensitive to a specific person) would be great for getting rid of guards who pick up the RFID coin instead of the target.
I like the idea of something like the Kalmer tranquilliser, but not as powerful (perhaps balanced by having more than two shots). I call it the 'Drowsiness gun' – doesn't knock NPCs out, just makes them a bit sleepy and lose concentration for fifteen seconds or so. Enough to slip past enforcers and guards and whomever else is likely to spot you. Another way to improve this gun would be if it were magazine-fed and had a higher repeat fire rate than the Kalmer.
If they wanted to add guard dogs that'd be a cool element, but you'd feel bad shooting/tranquillising them – the drowsiness gun is the kinder method (btw, killing a guard dog should absolutely carry the same penalty as killing a guard human).
It could be argued that a weapon like this is too-OP, because it would effectively render a door with a guard either side of it a trivial speedbump that can be instantly bypassed – but you can more-or-less already do this with the Kalmer or Sieker if you're careful.
Another new tool I'd love to see is a kind of 'dollar bill on a fishing rod' style device. You cast out the distraction from cover, a guard spots it, as they try to pick it up you reel it (and thus, them) in. Just to give you a way of breaking up two guards that isn't the typical 'throw something and they'll investigate the noise' kind of thing. Purely for fun this one, probably wouldn't even be effective on Master difficulty.
I'd also expand on the 'Versatile Assassin' challenge, as it's usually the first thing I do on a new map for some easy mastery XP. Adding things like 'Cloak and Dagger', 'Explosive Ending' and 'Full-frontal Assault' would encourage people to actually use bladed weapons, explosives and assault rifles respectively (I made up those names and I'm far too pleased with myself). These extra challenges might only give 1000XP each, but it would be nice to actually be rewarded for using what are otherwise mostly unnecessary weapons.
Similarly, and I've posted about this before, they should bring back the 'Standard Equipment' from Hitman Blood Money. Coins, fiberwire, and most importantly a lockpick should always be on your person – they're all so small that they could easily occupy the same pocket and you'd still have space for a keycard hacker or syringe or something. The fiberwire is probably the most iconic Hitman weapon of all and it's silly to not have it on you when it really is tiny – if you can keep a machine pistol in your pocket you've got space for the fiberwire. This can be countered by missions like Hokkaido where you aren't allowed a loadout until a certain mastery level.
We're now in the quickfire round of this essay I'm apparently writing – it honestly wasn't meant to be this long so well done if you're this far in.
Change briefcases so they can hold illegal items (namely pistols and knives) in a secret compartment that won't be found in a visual search – guards will have to use a metal detector or hint hint an airport x-ray scanner.
While the look of dual-wielding Silverballers is cool, I don't really care if they bring it back. The accuracy will be worse and I'm not sure if you'd retain the hair trigger. Also iconic though.
You should be able to unscrew the suppressor from your Silverballers. Sometimes you want to make a big noise (sometimes you just want the extra range).
The ability to actually look down your iron sights (I'm not bothered about full-on first person, just while aiming it might be nice).
Unlock the starting disguise for each map in which you complete SASO as a suit for any map, and a better variant for completing it on Master.
If you've done all levels SASO on Master difficulty you deserve at least something tangible.The classic lockpick should be a little bit quicker, and the classic briefcase should carry something extra inside, and the classic coins…erm…more coins?
4K60 is plenty, but I'd happily play at 1440p if I can have really nice ray tracing and extra-fancy HDR lighting effects (maybe don't lock it at 60fps though).
To finish up I've got two completely game-breaking ideas that will no doubt be incredibly hard to implement: Protect Missions and a Map Editor.
Protect Mission 'targets' would work in a similar way to how the Constant does in Sgàil, but with another NPC (like the assassin in Mumbai, but actually competent) trying to kill them. They would appear green in instinct mode, the assassin would not show up. You can either follow the 'non-target target' and wait for the would-be assassin to strike, with 47 acting like a regular bodyguard, or you can follow clues (a bit like Mumbai's Maelstrom) which Diana will hint at to indicate the method the assassin will use – and thus their location.
The Protect Missions would be randomly generated based on two or three methods – a sniper, a bomb and a psycho with a knife (maybe more going forward). All with clues as to which has been generated (can be reselected by backing out to the menu and restarting, as regular restarting will keep the same method). 47 will have to either apprehend the sniper in their nest, disarm the explosive, or stop the psycho from ever leaving their house – all before it's too late. Similar to overhearing mission stories revealing, all the information needed to locate the killer would be readily available in a general area around them, and that area will be hinted to by something at your starting location.
The Map Editor wouldn't have to be much different to contract mode in its functionality, but would allow you to noclip around the map and set a specific route for the target NPCs (maybe set this by having you play as the target while you're in the creator, and then save what you did – there may need to be a six or seven minute time limit on these things to stop the routes getting too complicated).
Basic functions would be 'assign a bodyguard' to automatically follow the target around, 'interact' to make the target have a conversation with someone, eat/drink something, or closely look at something etc., and 'panic room' – just pick a spot on the map they'll run to if the alarms start going off. The editor would really just be the next level of contracts, and would simply serve to enhance the depth of what already exists.
There's probably plenty more things I've not included, but overall Hitman 2 is a fantastic game and all of the stuff I've mentioned amounts to minor tweaks rather than significant fixes. I can only see good things for Hitman III. Good hunting.
- One thing I really hope is changed for III: difficulty
- Contract modifiers
- Hitman on Stadia – Hitman 1 and Hitman 2 launch tomorrow September 1st
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