Answering reader questions at the PlayStation Blog, Hitman: Absolution lead producer, Hakan Abrak, says that the game isn’t set in any specific Hitman timeline. At the same time, however, it isn’t a reboot of the series either.
“It’s not set in a specific Hitman timeline,” Abrak shares, when asked if the game is a follow-up to Hitman: Blood Money. “The setting is a bit different and we’re taking the story somewhere else — you start the game by killing Diana, the only truly human connection Agent 47 has ever had.”
“And that changes the stakes immensely. In earlier games, Diana’s contracts set the tone and direction of the story. This time, Agent 47 is on his own. He must choose his next steps on his own.”
At the end of Hitman: Blood Money — spoiler alert — Diana Burnwood, who’s one of the agency’s handlers and also a friend of Agent 47’s, saves the agency from shutting down. However, since Absolution isn’t connected to that game, the end of Blood Money presumably has no bearing on its story.
“I don’t want to go into too many details, but something’s happening at the agency,” Abrak elaborates a little further. “Agent 47 suddenly receives a contract to kill Diana, and…well, he’s very professional! He kills her.”
He continues: “Diana has been Agent 47’s connection for a long, long time, so when she makes a dying wish for him to seek out a girl named Victoria, he takes it on as a personal mission. There’s a strong connection to the the title of the game, Absolution. He’s seeking absolution for…something.”
When asked if Absolution is a reboot, Abrak replies: “I don’t know that I’d go that far, but we are exploring different aspects of Agent 47. The story is darker, more personal. You get to experience Agent 47 being placed in an unusual situation. He’s not just taking on contracts; he’s being hunted and he’s hunting for personal reasons. If you’re a longtime series fan, you know that’s very unusual for the cold, calculating Agent 47.”
Hitman: Absolution is only one of two Hitman games in development. While Absolution is being developed at IO Interactive, Square Enix Montréal are developing their own separate Hitman title as well.