In late April, Square Enix filed a trademark application for the term "Hitman Absolution," reigniting rumors of a new entry in the long-dormant stealth action series. Those rumors were initially confirmed by a teaser video and brief description that appeared on YouTube this morning.
Shortly after launching the trailer, developer Io Interactive and Square Enix Europe officially announced that Hitman Absolution is indeed in development for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The announcement did not offer a release window for the title but did say it had been built from the ground up using Io's proprietary Glacier 2 engine. The game will be shown off behind closed doors at next month's Electronic Entertainment Expo.
The trailer, which also surfaced on the official Hitman.com website, shows series protagonist Agent 47 screwing a silencer onto the end of a pistol. The scene then fades into a shot of one of his trademark Silverballer .45 pistols with a rattlesnake curled around it. The shot then fades to a UPC barcode with the numbers "110706" and "47" highlighted in red. The former is likely a reference to June 7, 2011--the first day of E3.
Both the YouTube page and the official announcement offered a brief synopsis of Hitman Absolution's plot: "Hitman Absolution follows Agent 47, a cold blooded assassin, who takes on his most dangerous contract to date. Betrayed by those he trusted and hunted by the police, he finds himself at the centre of a dark conspiracy and must embark on a personal journey through a corrupt and twisted world, in his search for the truth."
Hitman Absolution will be the first entry in the series since 2006's Hitman: Blood Money, which saw 47 bring silent death to locales ranging from mid-Mardi Gras New Orleans to the White House. The series follows the murderous exploits of Agent 47, a bald killer genetically engineered to be the perfect assassin. Hitman: Codename 47 (2000) told the tale of how the protagonist found work with the International Contract Agency (ICA) whacking high-profile criminals. In Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002), 47 is pulled out of retirement after his priest friend is kidnapped by the Sicilian Mafia. In Hitman: Contracts (2004), he revisits many missions from the original game, albeit in reverse.