Hitman 2 sends Agent 47 to Aotearoa New Zealand

Aotearoa New Zealand, a small island nation that’s often left off maps of the world and that most Americans think is somewhere in Europe, will get a spot in the limelight next month, at least for people who pick up Hitman 2. Developer IO Interactive released a new trailer for the game today, prompting a chorus of “chur bro!”s up and down the country when we learnt that the Hawke’s Bay would be one of the locations featured in game.

Per the official description, “Your mission brings you to the moonlit beaches and roaring waves off the coast of Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. Enjoy a moonlit stroll and retire for the evening on the deck of a highly secured luxury beach house.” It’s not clear yet what is meant by “luxury beach house”, but given the country’s housing prices, I assume it’s a one-bedroom bach with a leaky roof and dodgy plumbing. Still, at least they didn’t pick Hamilton.

Hawke’s Bay joins the likes of Miami, Colombia, Mumbai, Austria, a “quintessential American suburb”, and a secret island in the North Atlantic. What you do in these locations looks like the usual Hitman fare, but that’s no bad thing. Unlike the usual hit-and-run style of stealth games, Hitman is all about concocting elaborate plans to assassinate very deserving targets, usually involving numerous disguises and plenty of creative problem solving.

Today’s news comes hot on the heels of an announcement last week that Sean Bean would feature in the game, as a parody of himself. The actor is famed for dying in almost every film he’s in, but in Hitman 2 he plays “The Undying”, a former MI5 agent turned rogue assassin with “a reputation as a master of faking his own death”. That news was enough to convince Matt Sainsbury, editor of DigitallyDownloaded.net (and a personal friend of mine) that Hitman 2 is worth paying attention to. With the Hawke’s Bay stuff, I think I’m finally on the same page.

By the accounts of the people who actually played it, last year’s Hitman reboot was a very good return to form for the series, yet it flew under most people’s radar—perhaps because of the initial episodic release. Hitman 2 looks set to make a much bigger splash when it releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 15.

Matthew Codd

Matthew is a writer based in Wellington. He loves all things pop culture, and is fascinated by its place in history and the wider social context.