Hitman 3 launched worldwide this week, bringing about the conclusion of the World of Assassination trilogy. Agent 47 is certainly one of, if not the most iconic “hitman” in video games. With that thought in mind, we’d like to look back and discuss some of our favorite hitmen throughout video game history.
Question: Who is your favorite video game hitman?
Ezio Auditore da Firenze - Ozzie Mejia, Senior Fortune Teller
There's a good reason why Ezio is the only Assassin's Creed protagonist to receive a full trilogy. The Assassin's Creed 2 frontman was one of the most well-rounded characters of the entire series, as players watched him grow from an Italian playboy into the Assassin's ultimate hero. They saw his hero's journey from start to finish, culminating with his final adventure in Turkey.
But this Shack Chat entry isn't so much about the character. It's about the guy as a hitman. And yes, Ezio as a hitman is one of gaming's best. He hides in the shadows and strikes with his Hidden Blade. He can strike from above, from behind, or straight-up in your face. The manner in which he kills his targets can also vary beyond the Assassin's signature weapon of choice. Remember how cool it was the first time you saw Ezio unleash his hidden pistol?
The Assassin's Order isn't what it is today without Ezio. He's the prototypical hitman. He's still the best hitman.
The Dark Brotherhood of Assassins - Donovan Erskine, killer for hire
One of my favorite features in Skyrim, one of my favorite games of all time, was the ability to join the Dark Brotherhood of Assassins. Once in the group, you could request and execute contracts for random targets throughout the region. I loved just rolling up on unsuspecting characters, going about their daily lives, and offing them. It also helps that the Dark Brotherhood has one of the best storylines in Skyrim.
Leisure Suit Larry - Blake Morse, Reviews Editor
Seems like a pretty obvious choice. This man would hit on just about anything.
Duke Togo - Chris Jarrard, Has better options than other staff
While these other staffers will attempt to extol the virtues of losers like Sam Fisher or Agent 47, I’m here to let you know about the realest video game assassin of all time — Duke Togo aka Golgo 13. Togo starred in two NES action games that were based on some sort of Japanese picture books that I’m too cool to know much about. In the first game, Golgo 13: Top Secret Episode, Duke Togo is framed for a crime he did not commit and must travel the globe to clear his name and find the real conspirators. It featured side-scrolling action, first-person shooting, and helicopter sniping. Duke also replenishes his health bar by bonin’ up women in all the countries he travels through. As far as I know, this was the first Nintendo game to depict bonin’. That should be worth cool points in anyone’s book. A sequel, The Mafat Conspiracy, saw Togo return to killin’ and bonin’. What a legend.
Sam Fisher - Sam Chandler, Sams stick together
Sam Fisher would crush every other hitman or assassin on this list. The man has survived everything life has thrown at him, from managing political tensions between superpowers one hostage and bullet at a time, to going undercover in a criminal organization where his morals were tested, to the unfortunate death of his daughter. The man works best in the shadows and as a lone wolf. There’s no gimmick to what Fisher does. He’s in, he does the job, and he’s out.
Agent 47 - Bill Lavoy, Hitman in Training
It may be very unoriginal to choose Agent 47 as the answer to a question inspired by Agent 47, but I’m doing it. I’ve been deep into the Hitman games for a long time, and heavily over the last several weeks doing previews and reviews for Hitman 3. I’m all about Agent 47 these days, and I’d be lying if I said that he wasn’t my favorite video game hitman. The guy is just so versatile. In a single contract, he can be a tattoo artist, a drummer, and even a hippie. You can’t argue with that kind of talent.
Shadow (Final Fantasy 6) - TJ Denzer, Would write some news for a nickel
So here’s this stoic ninja man and his dog that you meet in a bar who has a tremendously bad rap. He owes allegiance to no one and his entire gig is taking your money in order for you to get him to join you in battle… after which he’s all too happy to leave when it suits him, even in the middle of a fight! Shadow’s all ice with no sign of a conscience until late into the game when you discover that there are reasons he is the way he is and that he wouldn’t wish the same circumstances on any other.
Then there’s his relationship with his good doggo Interceptor. No matter what, Interceptor is the one living thing Shadow always keeps track of. Little by little, as you peel back the onion on this nasty ninja, he becomes that more engaging to be around. Shadow may be as cold as he wants everyone to think and single-minded when it comes to dirty work, but underneath all that ice is a heart with a beat and loyalty to at least one good dog pal (which comes to mean so much more later).
Travis Touchdown-Steve Tyminski, Contributing Editor
Who are the idea hitmen in video games? There are some pretty good ones, but I think I would have to go with Travis Touchdown from the No More Heroes franchise. Attacking with a laser beam katana sounds pretty badass to me. Also, I can’t have a hitman discussion and not mention wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart.
The Spy - Team Fortress 2 - Bryan Lefler, Contributing Editor
As a stalwart Heavy Weapons Guy in my Team Fortress 2 heyday, the Spy should be on the bottom of my list. It’s the love/hate relationship between the two classes that garners a sort of admiration. The cloaking sound and butterfly knife animation are etched into my memory, countless moments of backstabbing, every one of them earned. The explicitly French Spy in TF2 requires real cunning and deception to outwit your human opponents, not just rote memorization of NPC behavior. Mimicking real people, infiltrating enemy lines, staying out of clear sight; these are skills that few could master during my most active years in the game. Those that did truly struck fear into the over-sized heart surely beating away in the chest of my Heavy Weapons Guy. The game might have more bots than people playing these days, but my nights on the Shacknews servers will never be forgotten.
Keeping my barrel in a prepared spin, I would check each corner of a room upon entering with a quick burst of gunfire. Satisfied with my thoroughness, my pocket medic would carefully follow, as we head to defend our objective. Suddenly, a cry in heavily accented German pierces the air. As I turn around, the healer I desperately depend on is nowhere to be found.
"I'm going to gut you like a Cornish game hen."
These are the last words I hear as the cold steel plunges into my back. RED team wins.
Copperhead (Batman Arkham Origins) - Greg Burke, Head of Video
I really love when lesser-known comic book characters get some time in the spotlight, and with Batman Arkham Origins we got to see a lot of unknowns. One of those unknowns was Copperhead who is normally a male but was switched for female in this universe, which worked better, in my opinion. I enjoy seeing this villain assassin move and use her genetically altered body to crawl, claw and dash around.
Sam Fisher - Josh Hawkins, Guides Editor
When it comes to video game hitmen, none stand taller than Sam Fisher of Ubisoft’s iconic Splinter Cell series. While Fisher’s job typically involves a bit more than just taking out a target, the character is by far one of the most renowned and respected in the business of spec ops missions. He’s seen it all and done it all and keeps coming back for more.
That’s going to do it for this week’s Shack Chat. Do you have a favorite video game hitman? Will you spend this weekend blowing people up with rubber ducks and strangling them with earbud cables? Let us know in the Chatty!
Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Shack Chat: Who is your favorite video game hitman?
How is it not Agent 47 for everyone. I love it when he takes the place of someone who looks nothing like him by putting on their jacket and everyone just buys it. Like I was playing Dubai last night this woman was talking directly to a dude, and he went for a smoke break and 47 came back in his clothes and she was "cool lets go"