Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hitman (2016) - Episode 11 - Room Service Revenge

Welcome to Bangkok,

Hotel missions have always had their place in the Hitman games. As far as I can remember, every single Hitman game has had a mission in a hotel. And it's not hard to see why something so innocuous would become a bit of a staple in IO Interactive's repertoire.

As levels, hotels tend to have most of the makings for plausible Hitman play. You have a ton of disguises for all of the staffers, from the cooks to the staff, and even security if the hotel is classy enough (and Hitman does usually have classy hotels, Absolution not-withstanding). Further, most of the people with disguises tend to be out and about, either moving through hallways filled with bystanders, or cleaning rooms with the doors locked behind them. This makes the act of getting a disguise an interesting puzzle to start out with.

Further, most hotels have keycard systems to prevent guests from entering the wrong room. Since odds are the target will be a fellow guest in his room, this gives them a "safe" zone, where it will be difficult for the player to get to them. Again, this inherently poses a challenge. As the Hitman, will you attempt to break into their room or obtain the keycard to just waltz in, and rob them of their safety and their life? Or, will you find another solution? Possibly wait for them to take advantage of some the hotel's facilities like maybe a pool or a spa or the restaurant, and take advantage of some other opportunity.

On top of that, most luxury hotels tend to be very large buildings with comparatively simple layouts and assets than are very easy to plausibly re-use between rooms and floors. This makes it relatively straightforward to make a large play area quickly.

But most importantly, most people have an intrinsic understanding of all of these various components and how they work. Even if you, like me, have never been to a particularly luxurious hotel, you do know how hotels operate in the general sense. No doubt you've been to a few. Designers can use that knowledge, take advantage of that, to make the level a lot easier to understand at a glance.

This probably isn't necessarily something that designers are necessarily thinking of, but it is something that they understand on a base level. And they know you do too.

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