IO Interactive has revealed at GamesCom that Hitman: Absolution will include an online competitive option entitled, Contracts. Such a mode will be a first for the twelve year old series, though certainly not for the Danish developer, who experimented with multiplayer in their previous titles: Freedom Fighters (2003), Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (2007) and Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days (2010).

However, to call Contracts a multiplayer mode would be a bit of a misnomer. Instead of cooperative killing or online battles between assassins, this mode will retain the series’ lone gunman gameplay, being essentially a competitive challenge mode, where players try to complete assassinations according to rules defined by the author of the scenario. Upon completion of the Contract, the player will be presented with an assessment of his performance, similar to how Hitman games rate the player in single player missions, and a reward in the form of Contract Dollars. This in-game currency can be then spent to unlock elements of an arsenal of weapons, disguises, upgrades, and techniques for use in challenges (though the player will also be able to gain access to them by completing the single player campaign).

Each Contract is created by choosing a level, a target and available weapons, as well as setting down rules for the player, which may include a time limit, style of assassination and allowed number witnesses. These custom missions are made with the use of an in-game editor, available to all players, who will also be able to share them openly with one another.

Christian Elverdam, gameplay director for Hitman: Absolution, credits the Hitman community as a source of inspiration for the Contracts mode, particularly the extreme creativity in finding new ways to take out assassination targets in previous games in the series. He states further that the mode is intended to allow players to fully realize their creativity and competitiveness.

Hitman: Absolution is the fifth instalment in the Hitman series, slated for release on November 20, 2012 on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.