During my eight month internship at IO-Interactive I worked on finishing up Hitman 2, the live content and the two expansion packs. On the live content I designed Challenge Packs, an Elusive Target and my own side-mission. I also worked on the upcoming expansion packs. These will be revealed when they are released.
Among the things I’ve worked on is the challenges of the first sniper map of the expansion pack - Hantu Port.
We wanted them to stand out and be fun to do, less so than busy-work that just cause frustration when trying to go for 100%. We had fun with the environment and utilized it to it’s fullest potential. There’s a couple of fun easter eggs tied to the challenges, the two mice having a date is my personal favorite.
It was very fun and interesting to work on a sniper map, because it is so different to the main missions of Hitman. During these missions the player isn’t discouraged to eliminate bodyguards, in fact it is required. As long as the one you shoot isn’t discovered it’s all fine, so there is a lot of room to experiment with fun ways to eliminte the NPCs on the map.
For the first expansion pack I got full reigns on making my own mission for the Santa Fortuna-map. I wanted to utilize the jungle area of the map both because it would fit the character and also because there wasn’t too much going on there on the main mission on that map.
I wanted to convey the feeling that the jungle was distrubed by the poacher, even going so far as having the shaman drinking his sorrows away in the pub. I designed a holy site for the jungle and a camp for the poacher. I also added coconut-traps the player could eliminate NPCs with.
Invading the jungle was supposed to be hard and you had to use pure stealth instead of just finding a disguise to blend in. Instead the player’s best friend was the high grass that they could hide in. I worked closely with the writer to come up with motivations behind the characters and we got in a lot of fun dialog for the player to evesdrop on.
I created three clear opportunities to eliminate the target with. One was to disguise themselves as the shaman and get the Target alone while blessing his hunt, another was to poison his lunch and the third was to rig explosives in his own traps he used to try to catch the serpent.
I think I succeded with making the mission feel unique and fresh.
I remastered and balanced a number of the Elusive Targets from Season 1, and one of those were “The Deceivers”, which originally were two seperate Elusive Targets.
I had to find two targets that would fit well together and discussed with the writer how to connect them. Later I modified their loops and rebalanced their patrols. One worry was that it would be too hard to complete for players, but the end result worked out quite nicely.
The level didn’t feel too cramped with two targets, and their areas felt natural to have in the same level without them feeling forced in.,
I got the opportunity to make my very own Elusive Target for Hitman 2. These are missions that are only available for a limited time and the player has one chance to complete the mission.
I chose from a list of concepts for targets, and I chose the serial killer. Together with a little brainstorming team, we came up with his motives and his M.O.
I wanted the elusive target to stand out with a twist, and not be just a simple straight forward elusive target. I wanted the killer to have a unknown identity, which the player has to figure out before settling on the best way to eliminate him. I figured the most likely place for him to blend in would be a crowded place. The mission takes place in the Whittleton Creek-map. A Idyllic suburbs straight from the American dream. In that map there’s a couple that has a neighborhood barbeque. This was the perfect place for the target to be, stalking for his next victim.
The idea with a hidden target was totally new to Hitman 2, with the Mumbai mission being the only one to use something similar, where the player first has to find out the target’s identity. To figure out his identity the player has to eavesdrop on the conversations between the guests. I also placed two FBI-agents in the empty house next to the barbeque, who has a suspect in mind. The player can get a photo from them if they feel lost.
The mission worked well, but I would’ve liked to make a red herring in the form of a burglar that stakes the place out, but sadly it didn’t work out. There was just too much going on, and players felt overwhelmed.
I had very fun making this new kind of Elusive Target, that has a fun twist on the normal formula.
Apart from these missions I worked on the UI for the mini maps on all the original missions for Hitman 2 and created a number of challenge packs. I remastered many of the Elusive Targets from Hitman 1, where I fixed paths and AI-behavior, as well as creating an alternative way to complete The Fugitive target, which many found too hard. I had a wonderful time working with the team at IO-Interactive, and I value the people I got to know and what they taught me.