Interviews

Looking Back... Hitman: Blood Money

We inflitrate IO HQ to put designer Rasmus Hojengaard under the spotlight to learn more about Agent 47's origins

He might have been last in the queue when god was dishing out hair, but Hitman's Agent 47 is one of the most ruthless assassins around - and after his fourth (and best) outing, we decided to find out more about him. After taking out a security guard and making our way into Io Interactive's offices, we cornered game designer Rasmus Hojengaard (right), held a syringe to his neck and threatened to steal his clothes to get him to explain some of the finer points behind Hitman: Blood Money. He took it surprisingly well...

1) GENESIS:
Initially, we just wanted to create a character that had a little more grittiness and edge than most of the characters you see in computer games. Then came the thought-provoking idea of trying to fulfil the fantasy of being an assassin which was a really cool thing, but on top of that it's something that's hard to admit that you think is cool because it's basically about being evil. The inspiration was from a lot of things - Hong Kong movies, comic books and all kinds of stuff.

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We decided to make him a clone early on. I guess there was just something cool about him not having any roots, so by being a clone, he can be shaped into any form by the people who made him; they decide everything about his future fate, so making an assassin a clone would seem like the ultimate way to make the ultimate assassin. It evolved with the character before the first Hitman was even done.

2) GET THE PRESIDENT:
We included the White House because it hadn't been done before and it's a little unorthodox. It's something we have to be careful with because there are certain boundaries that you shouldn't cross, and also it's one of those locations that everybody has seen-but-not-seen, if you know what I mean. You've seen it 10,000 times in movies and stuff like that, but you still haven't really seen it because that's now a staging as well; it's just a set that resembles the real thing. We can build something and make people believe it and still morph it to fit into the game without anybody really noticing. So it's a really cool thing, because we can make it feel totally real, make the gameplay fun and provoke people a little with a location like that. What's more, most of the game was in the States, so doing the White House was a no-brainer.

3) THINKING OF DEATH:
When we have to think up accidental deaths, I guess we just squeeze our sick little brains and then the ideas just pop out. The people
who work on these games are very visually creative people, so when you put a bunch of people like that together, you're just going to have ideas like this swilling around; it's inevitable. The only difference between us and other people is that we can actually use these ideas. If you put a bunch of 50-year-olds together and ask them to brainstorm on crazy stuff, they're going to come up with the same things but they just don't have any concrete use for it, so it just becomes these thoughts. We can actually put it into a product and sell it, so I guess that makes the situation different more than the ideas.

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4) AGENT SMITH:
It seems like we've been building up CIA Agent Smith (who you've just saved so many times that he owes you big time), so if at some point
we need somebody to help you in the game, we have this character who hasn't played a big role but who has a lot of goodwill in him, so maybe you can use him later on.

As far as I can remember, he wasn't really planned to be in the game at all because everybody hates him a little bit because he's just so lame, but he pops in there anyway. I think if we're going to use him again, we'll probably use him in a more serious way - if he's going to pop in, he'll need more gravity next time.

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