Hitman Closed Alpha is a stealth video game series developed by the Danish developer IO Interactive, previously published by Eidos Interactive and Square Enix. IO Interactive remained a subsidiary of Square Enix until 2017, when Square Enix started seeking buyers for the studio, IO Interactive completed a management buyout, regaining their independent status and retaining the rights for Hitman, in June 2017. The games available for Microsoft Windows and multiple consoles, including the PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Stadia. The franchise also includes two novels and a graphic novel: Hitman: Enemy Within written by William C. Dietz, Hitman: Damnation written by Raymond Benson, and the prequel Agent 47: Birth Of A Hitman. Two films loosely based on the video game series were also made: Hitman in 2007, and Hitman: Agent 47 in 2015, both of which received mostly negative reviews.
The games revolve around Agent 47, a clone created to be the perfect assassin, apparently lacking any human emotions whatsoever. Enlisted as a contract killer by the fictional International Contract Agency, 47 is sent to various locations across the globe to kill targets in a silent fashion. His flawless record places him in high demand among the wealthy and elite. Each game presents their own story line that, for the most part, are not interconnected, but nonetheless occur in the same continuity.
The series began with 2000’s Hitman: Codename 47, which was written by Morten Iversen. It continued with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin in 2002, Hitman: Contracts in 2004, and Hitman: Blood Money in 2006, also written by Iversen. A fifth installment, Hitman: Absolution, was released on 20 November 2012, followed by a spin-off, Hitman: Sniper Challenge, released for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Two other spin-offs, Hitman Go and Hitman: Sniper, were released for mobile devices in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The sixth main game, titled simply Hitman, was released episodically, from March to December 2016. A sequel, Hitman 2, was released in November 2018, and an eighth game, Hitman 3, is set to be released in January 2021; these three games are collectively referred to as the World of Assassination trilogy.
The first game begins with 47 escaping from a sanitarium where he has seemingly been imprisoned, being guided by a mysterious overseer. A year later, he is shown to be working for the covert International Contract Agency (ICA) under his handler Diana Burnwood. He is sent on a mission to eliminate four crime bosses across the world, before being hired to kill a fifth target, Doctor Kovacs, at the same sanitarium where 47 was imprisoned. As events transpire, 47 finds out that all his targets were part of an advanced cloning experiment, with him as the result; the perfect assassin. Professor Ort-Meyer, himself the scientific head of the experiments, is revealed to be the client who ordered the hits and, to protect himself, sends a squad of docile, highly trained 48 clones against 47. With help from a fellow agent, 47 defeats the clones and kills Ort-Meyer.
In Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, 47 tries to leave his life as an assassin behind and seeks peace in a Sicilian monastery, but is forced out of retirement when his mentor and friend, Father Vittorio, is kidnapped. Getting back in contact with the ICA, he arranges with Diana to work for them again in exchange for assistance in tracking down Vittorio. 47 eventually learns that Vittorio’s kidnapping was orchestrated by Sergei Zavorotko, the brother of one of the men whose DNA helped create 47, to bring him out of retirement and kill everyone involved in a deal with Zavorotko to purchase a nuclear warhead. 47 successfully infiltrates Vittorio’s monastery, rescues him, and kills Zavorotko. Afterward, Vittorio tries to persuade 47 to return to a peaceful life, but the assassin returns to work for the ICA full-time, feeling that contract killing is his true call.
A few years later, 47’s reputation has spread far and wide, making him the most wanted assassin among the world’s wealthy and elite. In Hitman: Contracts, he receives a particularly difficult mission in Paris, which almost gets him killed. After assassinating his target, 47 returns to his hotel room, where he passes out due to his injuries and experiences flashbacks of previous missions.
In Hitman: Blood Money, the ICA comes under attack by a rival agency called the Franchise, who are planting incriminating evidence against 47 through one of their agents, Alexander Leland Cayne. Eventually, the agency is depleted to the point that Diana and 47 are the only ones left. 47 kills one of the two Franchise assassins and is given a final contract by Diana, who has dissolved the ICA, to take down the Franchise. Soon, an old acquaintance of 47, former CIA agent Carlton Smith, reveals that the Franchise is merely a puppet organization created by Alpha Xerox, a shadowy political organization who wish to monopolize the cloning techniques that created 47 and kill the US President before he can thwart their plans. 47 prevents the assassination, but is forced to go into hiding from the Franchise and the police. At his hideout, he is seemingly betrayed and poisoned by Diana, with the Franchise preparing to cremate the assassin so his DNA cannot be used for further cloning experiments. In reality, however, 47 and Diana faked the former’s death, allowing 47 to kill all the Franchise agents attending his funeral, including Cayne. His identity now a secret, 47 then goes into hiding, while Diana uses the remains of the Franchise to revive the ICA.
Years later, in Hitman: Absolution, Diana seemingly betrays the ICA, exposing it to the public. When the agency learns of this, they send operatives to eliminate her. During a mission, Diana is forced to suddenly abandon 47 when agency operatives attack her, which almost causes 47 to get killed. Following this, the assassin decides to cut contact with the ICA, though they are able to track him down. Benjamin Travis, Diana’s superior within the ICA, sends 47 to kill Diana and retrieve a girl she has in her care, Victoria. 47 seemingly kills Diana, but promises to keep Victoria safe from the ICA. Victoria is revealed to be a clone, much like 47, created in secret by Travis to become the ICA’s next top assassin; Diana betrayed the ICA upon learning of this, and tried to keep Victoria away from them, not wanting her to become like 47. The assassin finds himself forced to protect Victoria from both the ICA and Blake Dexter, the head of Dexter Industries and a top figure in the criminal underworld, who wishes to sell Victoria to the highest bidder. 47 eventually kills Dexter and his conspirators along with Travis and his lieutenants, saving Victoria. Afterward, it is revealed that 47 spared Diana, and both seemingly return to work for the ICA, now purged of corruption.
In Hitman, the game’s prologue reveals 47’s recruitment into the ICA and his first meeting with Diana. While Diana is impressed with 47’s skills as a silent assassin, training director Erich Soders believes that 47 is too dangerous as they could find nothing on his background check that gives the ICA any leverage over him. Soders rigs 47’s final test so that it would be impossible to complete on his own, although Diana learns of Soders plot and in turn assists 47 in completing the test. Though angered by Diana’s actions, Soders reluctantly makes 47 an agent and assigns Diana as his handler. Twenty years later, following the events of the previous game, 47 is sent to Paris to eliminate fashion mogul Viktor Novikov and his partner Dalia Margolis, who are secretly the ring leaders of the international spy ring IAGO. After completing the contract he is sent to Sapienza, Italy to eliminate the wealthy bioengineer Silvio Caruso and his Head of Lab Francesca DeSantis who both work for the Ether Bio Corporation and to destroy a genetically engineered virus that targets an individual unique DNA signature. Later, 47 is sent to Marrakesh, Morocco to eliminate Claus Strandberg and General Zeydan, who are planning to overthrow the Moroccan government. A contract is then issued on an assumed murderer, Jordan Cross and his family’s lawyer Ken Morgan in Bangkok. Diana then reveals that there’s been a “shadow client” the entire time, operating out of Colorado. 47 proceeds to eliminate the lieutenants of the shadow client and discovers evidence that he has been using 47 to hunt members of Providence, a group of global elites who rule the world in secret. 47 also discovers that Erich Soders is a Providence double agent. Realizing his betrayal, 47 is sent to Hokkaido to eliminate Soders and another Providence operative, Yuki Yamazaki. The final cutscene of season 1 shows a Providence operative discussing a partnership with the ICA to track down the shadow client.
In Hitman 2, 47 is sent to New Zealand to kill Alma Reynard, one of the Shadow Client’s lieutenants, and search her house for information on the Shadow Client. 47 receives information connecting CEO of Kronstadt Industries, Robert Knox, and his daughter, Sierra Knox, to the Shadow Client, and Providence, impressed with their work, authorizes them to eliminate the rest of the Shadow Client’s militia, as their attacks on CEOs are causing a global panic. 47 is then sent to Miami to kill the Knoxes, who defected from Providence to the Shadow Client after becoming paranoid about the attacks. After they have been eliminated, the Shadow Client is revealed as Lucas Grey, who attempts to fulfill his own plans along with hacktivist Olivia Hall and insists that they need 47’s help to take down Providence. 47 is then sent to Colombia to assassinate drug kingpin Rico Delgado and two other members of the infamous Delgado cartel. After the mission, Diana has flashbacks of her parents being killed in a car bombing. It is revealed that the cartel had been creating fake IDs for the Shadow Client’s militia, and 47 is sent to Mumbai to find and eliminate The Maelstrom, the Shadow Client’s second lieutenant, as well as two other sea pirates that killed a Providence operative. Grey’s location is traced to Romania at the facility where 47 was created. 47 encounters Grey, who reveals himself as Subject 6. As children, he and 47 had attempted to escape Dr. Ort-Meyer’s facility, but only Grey succeeded, and 47 had his memory wiped. 47 then remembers that he and 6 made a pact that they would take revenge on whoever made them into assassins, and this prompts a meeting between 47, Grey, Diana, and Hall in Berlin. Grey reveals that Ort-Meyer was a member of Providence which is controlled by “The Constant” and three families known as “The Partners”. Grey’s only lead on the Constant is that 47 knows the identity of the Constant. After being injected with the antidote to the memory wiping drug, 47 reveals that the first Constant is an ex-KGB spy named Janus who currently resides in a quiet Vermont suburb. Diana then files a false ICA report claiming Janus is the Shadow Client and that Grey is just a subordinate, giving 47 permission to infiltrate the suburban town and kill Janus and his top bodyguard, Nolan Cassidy, and to search for clues about the Constant’s whereabouts. While in Vermont, 47 finds evidence Janus and the Constant were planning to meet at an annual gathering held by a group of the global elite known as “The Ark Society” that has ties to Providence. Hall reveals that the gathering is being held on the Isle of Sgail in the North Atlantic, but the Constant, revealed as the man who hired Diana at the end of Hitman, has implanted himself with a suicide chip that releases lethal poison into his body if he is compromised. 47 is then tasked to eliminate Zoe and Sophia Washington, the chairwomen of The Ark Society who hold the kill-switches for the poison chip, and to assist Grey in extracting the Constant from the island. The game leaves off with the Constant revealing the names of the Partner families and by taunting Diana about what she does not know. In a cutscene, it is revealed that 47 was the one contracted with killing Diana’s parents.
In two later released bonus episodes for Hitman 2, he is tasked with recovering the identities of the Partners. In the first, he infiltrates the Milton-Fitzpatrick bank’s New York City branch to retrieve data of the Partners’ new identities after they fake their death. In the second, he infiltrates a tropical resort in the Maldives owned by HAVEN, a company that the Partners have hired to create new identities for them. A cutscene after this mission shows the Constant has escaped from Grey’s boat and has used Providence money to go into hiding.