Toke Krainert

Designer & Educator

The Vector

The Vector is the third mission of the Patient Zero bonus campaign for HITMAN: Game of the Year Edition (2017), built atop our story mission in Colorado, USA. The mission has the player identify militia members infected with a virus based on clues delivered gradually by the handler and eliminating them discreetly with a sniper rifle. The player must also eliminate the doctor responsible for the infection, and if any of the targets becomes suspicious, they will flee toward one of two exit points, causing the mission to fail if they reach it.

Responsibilities

I was the track lead on The Vector, taking the mission through all stages of development. As such, my responsibilities were:

Particularly, I designed and implemented the clue mechanic and responsive handler as well as the specific clues. I also designed and implemented all NPC behaviors and requested, implemented, and iterated on all speech in the mission with the writer. Additionally, I worked with a programmer to design the necessary underlying code for queuing of messages from the handler.

Playthrough

Here's a PC playthrough, including the briefing video:

Gameplay

At the beginning of the mission, the protagonist enters a tower overlooking the level. The handler briefs him, explaining that the doctor as well as everyone he has infected must be eliminated, and that intel on the targets will be delivered in pieces. Pools of targets are chosen at random, just as targets within each pool are chosen randomly, resulting in a high combination of scenarios and making the clue mechanic meaningful even on repeated play.

For each target, the handler first explains his whereabouts and profession, letting the player know where to look, and then goes on to deliver two additional clues, one after the other. Each clue applies to two out of four candidates in the area so that having both allows the player to determine the correct target by the process of elimination. As clues are revealed, they appear also in a condensed form in the user interface to ensure that players do not forget previous leads. Whenever the player aims at a character matching the last clue, the handler proceeds to her next comment, and if the player doesn't manage to do this after a while, she proceeds on her own. After the first three clues, the player is given time to determine and find a way to quietly eliminate the target, and if they still have not after a grace period, the handler will point to a concrete activity they are doing right at that point, granting instant identification for any players having trouble with the deduction. When all infected parties are eliminated, the handler instructs the player to eliminate the doctor, and when all targets are down, the mission is completed, and the protagonist can leave the area.

The handler is highly responsive, acknowledging the player's actions and reporting any state changes in the level. When a target becomes spooked and attempts to flee the level, for example, she will interrupt herself and alert the player, and if the player manages to eliminate the target as he flees, the handler will acknowledge it and resume her hints. If the player eliminates a target before clues have been given, she will acknowledge this with some surprise, just as shooting civilians is met with critique.

The nice folks at Outside Xbox explained it as "Guess Who?, Where's Wally?, all that stuff at once, but with snipers and explosions" (YouTube) – which was exactly what I was going for with this mission.