A few years ago, Hitman gave players a chance to either kill Gary Busey or Gary Cole — a strange war of the Garys. But with Hitman 2, players are given the opportunity to take on film’s greatest English corpse: Sean Bean. In the Hitman universe, Sean Bean’s character isn’t an actor known for his doomed characters, he’s a evil agent whose been killed every which way and still manages to come back alive. The entire Sean Bean Elusive Target is a meme of the actors illustrious career, and it’s all the better for it.
Despite starring in Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and countless other projects, one of the first things that pops up when you Google Bean’s name is “Sean Bean deaths” — although maybe Google just knows how much Hitman I’ve been playing. Bean is well known for his untimely demise in high frequency of roles: Boromir, Lord Eddard Stark, and if you by chance remember the film Equilibrium, his character Partridge dies in that too. Now he can add Hitman 2 to that list.
The goofs on Bean’s career start the moment the briefing video is played for Agent 47. 47’s handler explains that this disgraced British secret service agent, Mark Faba, has survived countless assassination attempts, despite supposedly confirmed kills. 47 is sent in to finish the job once and for all, and bring Faba down. They even nickname Faba “the Undying,” in case you’re really missing out on the joke.
But things start to get really good once you get into Miami and the tech show that Faba is visiting. Faba is moving about upstairs in the tech halls, taking meetings everywhere he goes. If you follow him around, he has all sorts of evil plans with bombs and waxes philosophic about life versus androids.
At one point, you can follow Faba into a large meeting room. If you’re not dressed conspicuously — basically if you fit in as a scientist or whatever — you can take a seat in the mission and listen in as Bean controls the room with his lovely Yorkshire accent. Part way through the meeting, he’ll stop and look toward you.
This starts a rare moment of Agent 47 engaging in conversation, with Faba chatting up the assassin in a way that lines up with his interests. Faba suggests a thought experiment, and asks 47 — seemingly not knowing he’s a hitman — how he would kill him in the room they’re in. 47 drops face entirely and starts shooting the shit with Faba about murder. After Faba refutes a few attempts that 47 suggests (poisoning his coffee, throwing him off the roof, etc.), the two finally agree a that kitchen knife thrown through the skull would be a surefire way to go.
After that, Faba returns to the meetings and everything else is normal from then on. He makes a few remarks about being unkillable — which is made all the sweeter sitting next time, waiting for the perfect moment — but then returns to his routine of inspecting various bad guy gadgets. It’s the perfect moment of Hitman strangeness. Nobody thinks this interaction is unusual except for the player.
In the end, I wanted to get my Sean Bean kill without failing, so I threw an exploding pen through a doorway and into his face. Not quite a kitchen knife, but hey, the explosion after it was implanted ensured that he won’t be getting up next time.
From start to finish, the entire “kill Sean Bean” scenario is perfectly staged for the actor. This isn’t Sean Bean, it’s Mark Faba. And yet, Faba seems to mirror the exact opposite reputation of the beloved actor in our world. Io Interactive, the makers of Hitman 2, not only know this but revel it in.
As far as the characters in Hitman know, this is the unkillable Mark Faba. But when we see Bean show up in a movie, we start wondering how and when his character will die. It makes being put in a room with him as the world’s greatest Hitman all the more satisfying, where every blunt object or worldly possession is your murder weapon.
This first Elusive Target is Hitman at its finest. I’m not the first one to say that Hitman works because it knows it’s a video game, but the attack on Sean Bean really sells that view. Every piece of dialogue, every smirk from Faba is a wink from Io Interactive. He thinks he’s the Undying, but we know the truth: He’s Sean Bean and this ain’t National Treasure.