The Protagonist for the Hitman games is a man who we know only as “Agent 47” – an enigmatic and mysterious professional assassin who is in the employ of a shadowy strategic services company commonly called “The Agency” in shorthand, but whose proper name is the International Contract Agency (ICA) – a name that says a lot and at the same time says nothing at all about what the company actually does, which is manage the problems of its clients when those problems run towards dealing with troublesome human pests.
From a moral point-of-view when you review the many targets that were assigned to Agent 47 from the very first almost to the last, they consisted of people who needed killing and who were bad men in their own right, and so there should be no moral issues or bad feelings left over after each was dealt with. In fact thanks to a wide variety of special hit instructions for many of them, the act of taking them out could be considered legitimately entertaining both at the time and in retrospect.
Who is Agent 47?
As it turns out – and as we learn from almost the beginning of the story that is told across the five main titles in the series – that is a question that Agent 47 himself would like to know the answer to. What we do know, and we admit that this is really very little – is that he was born and spent most of his formative years in a genetics lab in Eastern Europe, and that his parental origins consist of a donor egg that was obtained from a woman who was selected based upon the broadest psychical health terms the criteria for which included longevity for both the paternal and maternal lines of her family, which required all of her ancestors to have age durations that exceeded 100 years, and a genetic health record that includes no dominant diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and the like.
The paternal genetics that were used to fertilize and tailor the zygote that became Agent 47 started with a contribution that was taken from Dr. Otto Ort-Meyer, who was previously an officer of the French Foreign Legion and later after leaving the Legion created a Genetics Experimentation Lab under the cover of a Psychological Treatment Facility in Eastern Europe.
Additional genetic material that was used to create 47 was drawn from the four partners of Ort-Meyer, all men who served in the same Legion unit with him, and all of whom are leading figures in organized crime in their home countries. In addition to providing genetic material for the clone program, each contributes funding to Ort-Meyer's labs which also provide them with replacement organs and other medical resources that they have used to extend the length of their natural lifespans considerably.
Agent 47 was born on 5 September 1964, and until he departed from the genetics lab under strained circumstances was referred to as Subject X when he was addressed personally at all, which was rarely. His names – Agent 47, 47, and Mister 47 – are derived from the last two digits from the inventory control barcode that is tattooed to the back of his head (640509-040147).
The “known” genetic material donors who contributed to Agent 47's unique makeup include (but may not be limited to):
Dr. Otto Ort-Meyer:
the human biologist and ex-Legionnaire who refined the genetic manipulation process that lead to the successful creation of cloned humans who were tailored to specific functions, in this case as assassins.*
Arkadij "Boris" Jegorov:
A Russian Gangster who is a self-professed hardline anti-communist and who became a successful arms dealer and large-scale smuggler following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Arkadij is the youngest brother of infamous Russian Mafia Boss Sergei Zavoratko. Arkadij was killed while attempting to broker a deal in which ex-Soviet nuclear warheads were being sold to a middleman who it is thought was representing either al-Qaeda, Hamas, FARC, the Taliban, or Al Shabaab, or possibly a combination of two or more of these.
The Chinese Crime Lord and legendary collector of rare Manga and Anime art, Hong began as a soldier in the Red Dragon Triad after completing a full contract term of service in the French Foreign Legion where he specialized in weapons training, Hong rose within the ranks of the Red Dragons until he eventually became its leader, and in the process eliminated the opposing organized crime groups operating in Hong Kong at the turn of the century, elevating himself – and the Red Dragon Triad – to the position of the most powerful non-governmental entity in Hong Kong. During Agent 47's pursuit of Lee Hong prior to assassinating him, 47 went out of his way to tear down the power-base that Hong had created.
A former member of the Jugendbund der NSDAP, before joining the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend), Fuchs served in the same unit as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, more commonly known today as Pope Benedict XVI, and was a confirmed and faithful fascist who strongly believed in and embraced the moral and philosophical views of the NSDAP and the smaller and more exclusive subgroup to which Hitler was a forming member during the historical events commonly referred to as the “Veteran's Protest of 1932” during which the plans to restructure the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei from a labor representation union to a political party were formalized.
Fuchs built his post-war career upon professional terrorism-for-hire, helping to better organize and fund operations for the G7, Movement 2 June, and to a lessor extent the Red Army Faction. Working closely with his brother and partner, Fritz Fuchs and their youngest brother Fabian Fuchs (all of whom were assassinated by 47). It is widely speculated that, in the Bruce Willis action-adventure series of films commonly called the “Die Hard” series, the character of Hans Gruber is based upon Fabian Fuchs, while the character of Simon Peter Gruber is loosely based upon Franz Fuchs, who was a real-world West German terrorist figure. Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay!
Pablo Belisario Ochoa:
A notorious Latin American Drug Dealer who, following a stintin the French Foreign Legion, formed his own Drug Cartel by violently eliminating his rivals, Ochoa earned himself considerable animosity from powerful figures in both law enforcement and government as a result (it seems that in that part of the world it was not uncommon for figures within the various Drug Cartel structures to be closely related either by blood or marriage to public and po;political figures), so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to contract to have Ochoa eliminated.
The character of Pablo Belisario Ochoa is thought to have been created as a fusion of the real-world criminal figures of Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria, Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno, and the fictional character Antonio Raimundo "Tony" Montana (Brian De Palma's Scarface, 1983). Ochoa's investment in Ort-Meyer's research and lab is thought to have been primarily focused upon the creation of clones to serve as organ insurance due to several past attempts on his life that resulted in significant damage to organs that would require replacement.
Agent 47's preferred sartorial style consists of a distinctive black suit, black leather gloves, white striped dress shirt, and blood-red tie, black patent leather custom made shoes, and a set of accessories and kit including a branded ICA brief case that contain most of the tools of his trade. In addition to the above, 47 also routinely wears a custom-made Bianchi cut-away dual shoulder holster in which he carries his matched pair of .45 ACP Silverballer automatic pistols, which are custom modified versions of the AMT Hardballer .45 that he has made for him by Master Gunsmith in Italy.
The Job and the ICA
If Agent 47 was filling out a survey that asked questions about his employment, he could easily list his occupation as a combination of analyst and pest-control and almost – but not quite – a government services contract position. The reason for that is largely due to the semi-official status of the ICA, which being realistic in this modern era of computer-based information management, you have to admit that a company like the ICA simply could not exist without the willing cooperation of national authorities on each continent.
As it turns out that is an accurate assessment of the situation, because while the ICA is employed by individual and corporate clients, its largest accounts are with agencies like the CIA, FBI, MI6, CSIS, NSA, Russian Internal Security, the Australian Security Service, and a very wide selection of governments and agencies whose interests include representation at the United Nations (UN).
If you pay attention to the conversations that have taken place in the games as well as the written records and files that have variously appeared on screen over the decade plus of the games you will note that the many and varied services that the ICA provides includes clandestine and overt intelligence gathering, direct facilities-based safety and security services, resource delivery services, security management consulting, security training for staff, risk assessment/threat analysis information services, standby security and mobile escorts (armed), and rapid-response personal protection services. Those are what are called the “white services” which means the services that the ICA can safely put on its full-color brochures and in its private advertising. The gray services that it provides includes (but is not limited to) selling special military hardware and training, difficult to find and rare resources of a military nature, and a number of ala cart services that include large-scale pest control services.
And then there are the “black services” that the ICA provides, services of custom and personal nature that are delivered by the department for which Agent 47 works. That side of the business includes a massive intelligence support network, an R&D lab that will create (including inventing) the kit that is required for each contract, on an as-needed, where-needed basis, and the special operators like Agent 47 who do the boots-on-the-ground fieldwork that the clients pay for, and pay large.
As Agent 47's employer for the first four games in the series, the ICA used its worldwide contacts to smooth the way for its Agents and, when it was required, assist them in dealing with official and semi-official “bumps” in the road, but considering that it is a well-funded clandestine operations organization with underlying connections and contacts throughout the world intelligence and law enforcement communities – not to mention the national military agencies for most of the western powers as well as the Foreign Legion, you should be able to see how Agent 47 rightly considered himself to be at the top of the pile in his industry and profession.
If you still cannot wrap your mind around the concept behind the ICA, try thinking of it as a combination of Blackwater, Intelligence Group International (IGI), Westell Private Defense Services, Watan Risk Services, BlueSky, Australia's Unity Resource Group, and Nittoh Kensetsu Co., LTD. With a healthy dose of Aegis Defence Services, GK Sierra, and Raytheon. That should make it crystal clear.
Now that you have a more refined notion of what the ICA is and what Agent 47 did for them, consider this: the events that take place in the current title begin with Agent 47 going off-book on an assignment and choosing a moral high ground that, sadly, causes the ICA to re-designate Agent 47 as an enemy. As a result of that, the massive resources that it previously had used to help him have now been turned against him, and that process begins with “outing” Agent 47 and his identity and photo to every law enforcement and security agency in the world, from the secret intelligence services all the way down to the local cop shop!
Hitman: The Movie
As is almost always the case when a video game spawns a film treatment, the movie takes considerable literary license in order to make the “story” more interesting, with the predictable consequences being turning Agent 47 into a cartoon-like character who while he has specific personality markers is, nevertheless, something less than what the fans of the game series have come to know, respect, and even love...
Hitman (November 2007/ Action-Crime-Drama)
- Director: Xavier Gens
- Writer: Skip Woods
- Agent 47 – Timothy Olyphant
- Mike Whittier – Dougray Scott
- Nika Boronina – Olga Kurylenko
- Mikhail Belicoff – Ulrich Thomsen
- Yuri Marklov – Robert Knepper
A professional assassin who is known only as “Agent 47” is hired by a group known only as 'The Organization' is defuse a political conspiracy and finds himself betrayed and being pursued by both Interpol and the Russian military police as he treks across Russia and Eastern Europe. As you might expect gamers who are familiar with the story of Agent 47 are going to fully appreciate both the humor and the Easter Eggs that are part of the film (at one point as he is on the run and moving through the hotel Agent 47 passes through a room via the window and balcony in which a pair of teens are playing a video game, and visible on the screen is Agent 47 in Hitman: Blood Money - which causes both teens to do a double-take), while the average viewer unfamiliar with the game series will still find it an enjoyable if entertaining 89 minutes.
It is not clear whether the events in the movie should be considered to be part of the series canon?
* A developer on the creative team behind the story and the adaption of real-world science for the Hitman series has allegedly admitted that while the basic story and plot were created as a team effort, certain well-known science fiction and fantasy stories contributed to the basic legend, among which one of the most formative was the story “Friday” by sci-fi author Robert H. Heinlein, which they admit deals with some of the very issues that contribute to the formation of Agent 47's unique personality and inner-demons. The character from the Heinlein book Firday – one Friday Jones – is a human clone who was created to be the perfect unarmed combat courier and secret agent, and the book largely deals with a large set of personal insecurities and her inner struggle with coming to terms with the reality of being what society in her world refers to as “manufactured humans” which are considered to be something less valuable than a human created from the traditional biological process.
Depending upon who you ask, the Hitman series of video games from IO Interactive is either a classic shooter with action-adventure elements, or it is a stealth-action game with shooter elements. The reality is that the Hitman series qualifies as a fusion of both of those definitions, and a third, which is one of the most popular long-running story-based games in the action-adventure stealth-shooter genres.