Hitman’s fifth episode is larger than Sapienza, features gameplay changes and a scarecrow

Hitman

As revealed yesterday, the penultimate episode of this first Hitman series will see 47 head back stateside, with his mission taking him to a backwater part of middle America. Just like in everyone’s favourite game in the series, Absolution! Hmmm.

How will episode five improve one of the best PC games of 2016?

This time there are no less than four assassination targets, as our contract killer attempts to get to (or perhaps rip out) the heart of the shady organisation that – Bangkok spoiler alert – has been orchestrating all the hits up to this point. Set in a militia camp in rural Colorado that the group is using as its training base, IO Interactive are calling this “the most dangerous operation of 47’s career.”

“This is a level with no civilian space. There is literally no place here that 47 can be without them wanting to kill him,” lead online designer Torben Ellert recently explained when we were shown the level. “You must disguise, you must infiltrate. Players are going to need to draw on absolutely everything they’ve learned to date in the season about infiltration and elimination and how to go about that.”

The Colorado setting is also “absolutely comparable” in terms of size to the previous levels we’ve seen, and even “very slightly larger in square footage” than Sapienza, because more of the space can be navigated by the player.

The targets range from an environmental terrorist to a former assassin to an ex-Mossad interrogator, and each will come with their own bespoke opportunities. The only one we’ve seen in action so far involves sabotaging a training exercise – the group are preparing to kill a Mexican politician – so that some heavy machinery crushes one, or even two should you time it right, of your marks. There’s also an explosives testing range that can be made to go boom in all the wrong ways should you have a bit of a tinker.

Beyond all this there are a couple of gameplay changes that have been flagged up. One is that the ‘Area Being Investigated’ warning that pops up when someone’s noticed something fishy is now contextual. Rather than displaying permanently when an enemy is on the hunt, the text will disappear once you leave the area of investigation, meaning you can breathe than bit easier.

Then there are at least two new item unlocks. One of these is an emetic syringe, which will surely prove hugely useful for forcing people into those oh-so-deadly bathroom breaks. The other is a “silenced semi-automatic assault rifle”. Less subtle, equally lethal.

Disguise-wise, in addition to your standard grunt uniforms we’ve seen 47 rocking a very chilling scarecrow getup – Ellert says that he’s “looking forward to the first Silent Scarecrow Assassin playthroughs, and I bet you’re going to see this guy in some Escalations”. And in our nightmares, probably.

Colorado is due 27 September, but why not pass the time by watching us tackle a recent Elusive Target?