Snapping necks and killing crooked cops in 'Hitman: Absolution's' 'Contracts' mode

Hands-on with Hitman: Absolution's new "Contracts" mode, the create-an-assassination feature.

Agent 47's going to be a busy man when Hitman: Absolution is released later this year. Because with "Contracts" mode, the hits just keep on coming, as players have been given the power to design the assassinations that keep Mr. 47 in business.

At PAX Prime, we got the chance to sample the type of jobs we can expect in "Contracts," returning to a familiar level, Chinatown, in a contract designed by developer IO Interactive. We chose the harder of the two available options, which involved taking out two police officers and a seedy mobster. To collect a bonus, Agent 47 had to take them all out, hurt no one else, hide every dead body, and not miss a single shot.

All we had at our disposal was a garrote wire and a silenced pistol. We'd have to find additional killing tools throughout the level.

Turns out, taking out one of those police officers — the one who was all alone, guarding a sports car — wasn't too hard. 47 just needed to keep an eye on him and, when his back was turned, subdue him, snap a vertebra or two, and dump the remains in a nearby Dumpster.

Killing the mobster was also a waiting game. At one point, the target left the safety of his crooked cop bodyguards, venturing to a lower level to recover something. A quiet approach, another broken neck, another conveniently placed trash bin, and we were onto the next one.

Eliminating that last target was a puzzle, however. He just stood there, smoking, surrounding by his fellow police officers and Chinatown residents milling about. Sniping him from a second level apartment only drew more cops who opened fire on Agent 47. Tossing a flaming gas can at him wasn't going to work either. We weren't allowed to hurt bystanders, if we wanted that bonus cash. And shooting him in the back with a silenced pistol wasn't as effective as it might seem. People noticed.

We were stumped.

Fortunately, we had a little help from Hitman: Absolution game director Tore Blystad, who informed us that we probably should've disguised ourselves as a police officer and led our final target to a more secluded spot. Afterward, Blystad told us much more about IO Interactive's new "Contracts" mode and what the developer hopes players will create with its tools.

For more on Hitman: Absolution and it's new "Contracts" mode, don't miss the original announcement and Polygon's coverage from Gamescom.

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