Last week, 20th Century Fox released Hitman: Agent 47, Michael Finch and Skip Woods‘ adaptation of the video game Hitman: Codename 47 (Peter Gjellerup Koch and Morten Iversen), which began the Hitman franchise, originating with video-games. They combined horror and noir, and followed the assignments of Codename 47, a clone of ambiguous religious beliefs, as he assassinates corrupt powerfuls who’ve committed acts even beyond their standards.
Hitman: Codename 47 was amongst the earliest video-games to employ rag-doll physics, as well as cloth simulation and foliage as further game engine elements. It introduced the audience to “Codename 47”, a cloned Hitman who escapes his facility and is recruited by the European “Agency”, which takes him on several missions to assassinate powerful targets. Its most-criticised aspect was the unfriendly nature of Codename 47, who’s trained in various murder methods explored by different levels.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (Morten Iversen) is the peak of the Hitman series, selling more than 3.7 million copies – the highest-selling instalment so far. This developed and advanced the considered potential of Hitman: Codename 47, by increasing and improving game-play elements and mechanics. Levels were smaller in scale, but more focused on problem-solving rather than experience, while the artificial intelligence became more intelligent still. Chloroform was added to merely knock-out opponents that aren’t targets, and a crossbow was now available to assassinate silently. All these additions were part of a story taking-place after the events of Hitman: Codename 47, in-which Codename 47 comes-out of retirement to rescue his mentor.
The series continued with Hitman: Contracts (Greg Nagan). Events occur concurrently with sequel Hitman: Blood Money (Greg Nagan), which is narrated by a former, wheelchair-bound FBI director to a journalist, describing the way the FBI tracked Codename 47 over two years, involving his arrival in the United States. While game-play elements remained largely unadvanced, decision-making was expanded, allowing the player to make assassinations appear as accidents, along with the additions of sniper rifles and scoping.
The next instalment, Hitman: Absolution (Greg Nagan, Tore Blystad, Michael Vogt, Lars Detlefsen, Kejeld Vejrup, Oliver Antonio Winding, Eskil M∅hl, Hans Lucht, William Stahl, Simon Unger, Tore Blystad, Martin Brennan, Michael Jackson), took Codename 47 to a low place which would conclude the plot at a point that would continue in the next game with him rebuilding himself. This was the most polarizing entry into the series, with some feeling the advancements and changes made resulting in a defining Hitman game or a noticeably unfamilar, generic game.
After the mobile game Hitman Go, the next entry in the series, simply titled Hitman, is scheduled for release in December.
But before then, the film Hitman: Agent 47 will have already been released as the directing debut of Aleksander Bach. Originally in the role of “Agent” 47 was Paul Walker, who was replaced with Rupert Friend after Walker’s death. It generated an opening weekend of $8.7 million, opening in fourth above The man From U.N.C.L.E., which was in its second week. This is the second Hitman feature adaptation, after the original Hitman (also by Skip Woods), which altered Codename 47’s origins to being a raised-from-birth assassin. A sequel was planned (with Kyle Ward attached), but the critical response was low, leading to the Agent 47 remake.