Hitman is a series of third-person stealth games by Danish developer IO Interactive, a former division of Eidos which was later a part of Square Enix. As of June 2017, they are now an independent company.
Each title follows the career of Mr. 47 (David Bateson), a genetically-engineered super assassin. Accompanied by his handler, Diana, he works for a clandestine "Agency" while avoiding the law and rival hitmen. It plays like a pastiche of spy/crime thrillers, blowing kisses at Ian Fleming and John Woo in particular.
Players are scored on stealth, so ideally, you should only kill your targets and leave without alerting anyone, like a real assassin. That said, if (hah! when) you are discovered, or if you become addicted to the Ragdoll Physics, you can Rambo your way through everything in your path—but you won't escape the consequences if you leave a trail of bodies behind you. The missions aren't really designed for cover-based shooting, and you'll soon find that stealth is far more fun and rewarding. Or you can just cave their heads in with a fire extinguisher, that works too.
The games are well known for their replayability and emphasis on variation. Most every level across each game is designed to be replayed multiple times as their are multiple solutions to each kill. Sure, you can just shoot that target, but it feels a lot more gratifying to kill them by poisoning their food, dropping them off of a high place, or perhaps something more unique for the given situation. While certain methods must be used in certain levels to reach the highest ranking, there is nothing in place to discourage experimenting, and the astute, intelligent or observant player may find a solution to a problem they thought impossible.
Either way, tighten those leather gloves and straighten that red silk tie, because it's time to make a killing
To date, there are seven games in the main series:
- Hitman: Codename 47 (2000)
- Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002)
- Hitman: Contracts (2004)
- Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
- Hitman: Absolution (2012)
- Hitman (2016)
- Hitman 2 (2018)
- Hitman Trilogy (2007) - A box set that includes the PS2 versions of Silent Assassin, Contracts and Blood Money.
- Hitman HD Trilogy (2013) - A compilation of the same games as above, but remastered on PS3 and Xbox 360. A digital bundle was also released for the 360, titled the Hitman HD Pack, containing just Silent Assassin and Contracts, aimed at players who already owned the stand-alone 360 version of Blood Money.
- Hitman HD Enhanced Collection (2019) - A compilation of Blood Money and Absolution for the 8th generation consoles, enhanced with 4K graphics.
- Hitman GO (2014), a turn-based puzzle game.
- Hitman Sniper (2015), a mobile game similar to the Sniper Challenge included with Absolution.
- Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman (2017- )
- Hitman: Enemy Within (2007), written by Raymond Bensen.
- Hitman: Damnation (2012), written by William C. Dietz
If you're looking for the trope for the hitman character type, see Professional Killer. If you're looking for the comic book by Garth Ennis that Crosses The Line several billion times, look no further! And if you're looking for the short-lived, rather confusing Game Show, see here.