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Hitman: Blood Money is a 2006 stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released in May 2006 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360. It is the fourth installment in the Hitman video game series, and the sequel to 2004’s Hitman: Contracts. The single-player story follows cloned assassin Agent 47’s efforts to bring down the Franchise, a rival contract killing organization that is threatening his employers, the International Contract Agency (ICA), and seeking to obtain the same cloning technology that created 47. Meanwhile, a frame story presents 47’s life and various contracts he carried out, as narrated by a former FBI director to a journalist.

Blood Money was a critical and commercial success, selling more than 2.1 million copies. It has gained a cult following and is now considered by many publications and critics as one of the greatest video games ever made.[1][2][3] High-definition ports of Blood Money and two of its predecessors, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and Contracts, were released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in January 2013 as the Hitman HD Trilogy.[4] A sequel, Hitman: Absolution, was released in 2012, and 4K remastered ports of both Blood Money and Absolution were released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment in 2019 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as part of the Hitman HD Enhanced Collection.

As with previous installments, Hitman: Blood Money has the player control series protagonist Agent 47, who is assigned various targets to assassinate in order to complete missions. Armed guards, security checkpoints, witnesses and other obstacles attempt to prohibit Agent 47’s success. The player guides Agent 47 through the game’s levels from a third-person perspective. A map showing each topographical area and the location of targets and characters assists the player. To complete his mission, Agent 47 uses multiple methods to eliminate targets, regardless of witnesses or violence to bystanders. Blood Money penalizes players for making too much noise or being too violent.[5]

New features introduced in Blood Money included the ability to climb over obstacles, improved unarmed combat, the use of non-player characters (NPC) as shields, the ability to dispose of bodies, improved character animations, a new game engine, and the ability to upgrade weapons and equipment.[6] Seven of the featured weapons in the game, and some pieces of equipment, can be upgraded.[6]

Every level in Blood Money contains a method to make the target’s death look like an accident,[6] such as tampering with a grill to make it explode when it is turned on, rigging a chandelier to fall on a target or pushing a target off a balcony. Agent 47 can improvise weapons to complete missions, such as nail guns, toy air rifles, knives, screwdrivers, stilettos, cane swords, fire extinguishers, hammers, and hedge clippers.[5]

Blood Money introduced a notoriety system that rises and falls based upon Agent 47’s success. The higher Agent 47’s notoriety, the easier it is for NPCs to identify him. If Agent 47 is captured on camera surveillance or witnessed committing murder, the character’s notoriety will rise.[7] If the player executes a mission perfectly, Agent 47’s notoriety will be minimal. Blood Money provides players with methods to reduce Agent 47’s notoriety, including destroying surveillance equipment and bribery.[7] Notoriety gained in early missions will affect later missions. The player receives payment upon completion of a mission, which can be used to upgrade weapons, or bribe authorities to lower your notoriety score.[8] The amount of money the player receives depends on how cleanly the assassination is carried out, with silent killings with no witnesses receiving the highest payout.[9]

Upon completion of each mission, a newspaper article is displayed containing the mission’s results, Agent 47’s notoriety level, the weapon most frequently used and how accurately it was used, the number of police, security, and civilians killed or injured, and the existence of witnesses. Sketches of Agent 47’s face are displayed and become more accurate as the character’s notoriety grows. Players are awarded ratings based upon the success of the mission, such as a designation of “silent assassin” when the target was assassinated as cleanly and quietly as possible.[10]

Blood Money improved the melee weapons system from previous releases, allowing players to lethally throw weapons at NPCs. Unlike previous games, melee weapons cannot be transferred to the player’s inventory. Blood Money also introduces rival assassins.[11]