Hitman’s best levels were designed to be “Swiss Cheese”, which will all make sense in context

By Brenna Hillier
4 January 2017 01:04 GMT

Hitman takes inspiration from food.


Hitman has won a lot of praise over the course of its first season, with many longterm fans hailing a return to form for the sandbox series after Hitman: Absolution went off the rails a bit.

Most of its environments have been well received, but the Sapienza episode in particular is highly regarded. In a fascinating making-of feature on PC Gamer, Hitman creative director Christian Elverdam said one of the levels strengths is an emphasis on “Swiss Cheese design”.

“We used this feeling that we built a volume filled with connections, and these connections mean that you will never get lost,” he said.

“You don’t have to backtrack necessarily, if you don’t want to.”

So the environment is riddled with tunnels in all directions, like a lump of Swiss cheese, see? Many if not all of Hitman’s levels embrace this design approach to some degree, and it allowed IO Interactive to reuse the settings for bonus episodes, escalations and time-limited elusive targets – even though the team doesn’t consider these possibilities when it builds the initial missions.

“Elusive Targets are not thought of as part of how we build the levels,” Elverdam said, “Because the complexity of the sandbox really should dictate that if we build a swiss cheese from the get go, and on an organic level where you can move around, then there should be room for an Elusive Target.”

Elverdam said the team responsible for elusive targets uses Hitman player metrics, in the form of heatmaps, to see which areas of a sandbox are being under-used, and plans accordingly – hence the garden party in Paris, for example.

The full article cover a great deal more than just this one topic; hit the link above if you have any interest in how Hitman is built into such a replayable and endlessly fascinating pasttime.

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