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The illusion of choice in video games vs Hitman Absolution

Giving players the freedom to make meaningful choices is like pursuing the holy grail of gaming. Many seek it, some claim to have found it, but very few achieve it. Most games only offer an illusion of choice, or superficial choices that hardly affect the outcome of the story. Role-playing games (RPG’s) allow for choice in the form of character creation, this is one of the reasons the genre is so popular. RPG’s also aim to incorporate story driven choices, but these are mostly quest or companion driven options. The hard truth is the player is confined to the game parameters running the environment, gameplay and overall mechanics.

The choice is a lie.

IO Interactive is aiming at delivering a head shot to that illusion with Hitman Absolution and prove that Agent 47 can make meaningful choices that impact the game environment.

Hitman ABsolution.jpg

In an interview with Gamasutra, Tore Blystad, director of Hitman Absolution said the following about the relationship between the player and the game, “It's very much about the player pushing the game, and the game pushing back, instead of just using a sledgehammer and just killing you instantly, and then restarting.”

He continued that with Absolution, IO wants players to not follow a linear route, the game is designed to encourage player choice.

“And this is something that is also... it's quite difficult, actually, to educate players that this is what the game is trying to serve you, because people are increasingly used to games where you're told to do one thing, and if you stray from this line, there will be nothing else around. It's like, you have this experience, and that's it. So we're telling people, actually, "No, no, no. You choose by yourself. If you want to go in here, or here, or if you want to kill them or not, it actually changes the way you play the game -- when you understand that you have the choice.”

Agent 47 is a man known for his actions, not his words, this makes character immersion and choices even more difficult. The player will never get into conversations where he has to make complicated decisions. Agent 47’s power of choice will have to be found elsewhere, Blystad explains.

"We have this almost mute character that is completely mechanical, so he will never express himself like Nathan Drake would, or like Kane & Lynch would, always telling you what they're feeling, and how they're doing in the game. So the only thing we can hope for is that people can then at least live themselves more into our main character, because he is such a non-described character, and because there is so much freedom of choice put in the world. There are these opportunities, and you always have them available, and you should find out for yourself which one is the best one."

Content Source: Gamasutra

Image source: Hitman: Absolution Facebook

I'm sticking to my guns, it can only be an illusion of choice, but I will admit that Hitman Absolution is going to deliver a game environment that will broaden my options and therefore my choices on how I want to navigate through the world. It seems Absolution will also have a lot more interaction between the player and the non-player characters than what we are used to with the franchise. Which is more than anyone can expect from a first-person shooter.

Hitman: Absolution is scheduled for release across North America and Europe November 20 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

To close off, check out this absolutely thrilling trailer, Hitman: Absolution - Living Breathing World. A world filled with incredibly intelligent characters all displaying richly detailed synthetic life, where everyone you meet may well have a bigger part to play. The video captures the heart of what Blystad explained in the interview.

Han’s Twitter | Blog / MWEB Gamezone Twitter | Facebook

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