Attack Of The Saints Reaction Changed Hitman: Absolution Development, Says IO Interactive

Nick Jones

‘The reaction came as a shock to us’ says IO’s Tore Blystad.

Published on Aug 15, 2012

Speaking at Gamescom, IO Interactive’s Tore Blystad has revealed that the reaction to the Hitman: Absolution trailer, Attack Of The Saints, changed the way they looked at the design of the game and one level in particular.

The trailer, if you remember, features a group of female assassins dressed in PVC nun’s habits attempting to kill Agent 47. Agent 47’s responds to this attempted hit by taking out the assassin’s in a graphically violent manner. The trailer brought condemnation from some parts of the games industry for its highly sexualised portrayal of women and the violence inflicted on them.

We asked if the reaction was what they expected, Blystad told us, “It was not. [The reaction] came as a shock to us.”

And did IO take offence to the reaction?

“We didn’t take offence, but we were taken aback by it. If you look at the Hitman games they’ve always been quite cartoony, it’s always been this mixture of reality with this surreal or more kind of dark humour… almost kind of slapstick. It’s that mixture that makes it kind of interesting. So with Attack Of The Saints, it is a level in the game that inspired the trailer where you have the Agency sending these crazy assassins after 47 and they made it into this trailer. And we didn’t expect it to have the kind of impact that it did, but what can you do?”

We asked Tore, did the reaction make you go back and have a look at that level and think ‘perhaps we’re doing something wrong here?’

“It did actually, what it did was make us realise that we really need to work on the back story of these characters to make people understand the context better. And we also had the ICA video coming out that was called ‘Contracts’ on The Saints, that explained where they came from and we took that into the game and built them much more up as characters so they’re more individuals now rather than being just this group.”

“We’re doing playtests weekly, you understand, to see how players are reacting to it and we saw that this changed a lot.”

“That level got special attention, we had our very best designer working on it and he turned into one of the most-liked levels in the game, so it’s going to be very interesting to see what the sceptical people say when they play it.”

“It has something very unique, which we cannot talk about yet, but it has something in it that stands out as a peak within the whole Hitman franchise.”

You can see the Attack Of The Saints trailer below.



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