It might surprise you to learn that Hitman — the eponymous game in the series — is not the first chronological Hitman game. Instead, it’s the start of the second storyline in the franchise. There are eight main Hitman games in total, so if you like to sneak around and find surprising ways to eliminate your foes, you have many options.
The Hitman Series
The hitman series follows a genetically modified assassin as he travels from place to place, completing agency contracts. He is known as the best assassin in the world, and his services are in high demand.
Overall, the Hitman series is more about gameplay than storyline. While there is an overall plot to the games, IO Studios chose to feature the locations and assassinations more than the story in the level design in most chapters.
Who is Hitman Agent 47
The main character in every major Hitman game is Agent 47. He was created to be a perfect assassin and is genetically superior to others. Both major Hitman storylines tell the story of his past and present.
Do I Have to Play All the Hitman Games in Order?
You don’t have to start at the beginning of the Hitman franchise. You can begin playing any Hitman game, and they will catch you up with the story. Some people recommend starting with Hitman 2 instead of one of the earlier games in the series.
However, Hitman takes place in a complicated world with a large backstory. It might be worth starting with Hitman 1 and playing the “World of Assassination” trilogy. If you’re very dedicated and enjoy older-style games, you could go back and start with Codename 47.
What is the Hitman Timeline?
The timeline of the plot in the games matches up with their release date. However, the major releases are broken into two separate story arcs.
Hitman Games in Order
The Hitman series is developed by IO Interactive, a Danish game design studio. The first five games tell one story and the second three games tell another story. The more modern trilogy is the “World of Assassination” trilogy.
Original Hitman Games
Hitman: Codename 47
IO Interactive released Codename 47 for Windows in 2000. It follows Agent 47 as he escapes a sanatorium and joins the International Contract Agency. This organization gives him a list of targets that he needs to eliminate.
Codename 47 has 13 missions in areas from Rotterdam to Hong Kong.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Silent Assassin was released in 2002 for PC, Xbox, PlayStation 2, and GameCube. The story starts directly after the end of the previous game. Agent 47, now retired, embarks on a series of Assassinations to attempt to save a friend.
Silent Assassin introduced the rating feature that gives the player a score for his skill with stealth and aggression at the end of the level. You can also see the NPC movements in real-time on the map.
Contracts came out in 2004 for PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. A high-definition remaster can also be played on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3. In the game, Agent 47 is injured. He relives a series of assassinations that took place earlier in his life while he attempts to recover.
Contracts improved the AI system for NPCs so that they’re more challenging to outwit. It also added new animations and an improved map.
Hitman: Blood Money
In Blood Money, Agent 47 has to fight against The Franchise. The competing assassination group wants to take down the International Contract Agency. IO Interactive released Blood Money in 2006, 2013, and 2019 in its original and remastered forms for PC, PlayStation 2, 3, and 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Blood Money brought many improvements to the game, including climbing, unarmed melee encounters, the ability to hide bodies, and a notoriety system. As your notoriety increases, it becomes more difficult to conceal yourself unless you take steps to lower it.
Absolution was released in 2012 and 2019 and can be played on PC, Mac, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It follows Agent 47 as he attempts to protect Victoria, another genetically engineered person he believes the ICA is planning to make into an assassin. The story has 20 missions and takes place in both Chicago and South Dakota.
Absolution offered some considerable changes in gameplay. Previous games were sandbox games where you could explore at your leisure. However, Absolution has levels that you progress through more linearly.
World of Assassination Series
Hitman is the beginning of a new trilogy and was released in late 2016. It’s playable on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Mac, PC, and Linux. In Hitman, Agent 47 and the ICA are hired by a Shadow Client to take down Providence. The game also teases more information about Agent 47’s background.
Hitman brought the game back to a sandbox mode instead of a linear level progression. It also featured the opportunities system where you can complete a series of tasks before your assassination.
Hitman 2 came out in 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Mac, PC, Stadia, and Linux. Agent 47 and the ICA work to determine the identity of the Shadow Client for Providence. He and his handler Diana do this to deal with the ramifications of the Shadow Client’s actions and get more information from Providence about Agent 47’s past.
Hitman 2 introduced online co-op missions into the series. In addition, progression is different because it’s tied to the locations where you commit assassinations. You have to gain control of each area to unlock more features.
Hitman 3 came out in 2021 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Stadia, Switch, and PC. The Switch version uses cloud streaming. The game introduces a camera you can use to hack or view certain electronics.
Hitman 3 is the last game in the “World of Assassination” trilogy. In it, Agent 47 and his team are focused on killing the leaders of Providence. IO Studios has said that they’re more focused on the story and the character of Agent 47 in this entry. So the story will have more of a spotlight than in earlier episodes.
Reviewers praised the maps in the game, which included Argentina, Germany, China, and Dubai. Core gameplay didn’t change — nor did the ability to plan and execute your assassinations in silly ways. It’s widely regarded as a positive entry into the series and lots of fun to boot.
The game became profitable for IO studios within a week of launching.
Hitman Side Games
Go is a turn-based tactical game. It was released in 2014 and is mainly playable on mobile devices.
Sniper was also released in 2014 and is a mobile game. It takes place in Montenegro and Death Valley.
Here’s the Hitman game in chronological order
- Hitman: Codename 47 – 2000
- Hitman: Silent Assassin – 2002
- Hitman: Contracts – 2004
- Hitman: Blood Money – 2006
- Hitman: Absolution – 2012
- Hitman: Go – 2014
- Hitman: Sniper – 2015
- Hitman – 2016
- Hitman II – 2018
- Hitman III – 2021
Which Hitman Should I Play First?
Once you’ve read through the basics of the different games, try to decide which aspect is most important to you. If you prefer more modern graphics, try starting with Hitman or Hitman 2. If you want to get the entire story of Agent 47 and the ICA, go back to the beginning.
If you’ve played through all the Hitman games and are still feeling the urge to be sneaky, don’t despair. The studio that makes Hitman is now working on a game based on James Bond. So you might be able to play that while you wait for them to come out with the next Hitman game.