Hitman Agent 47 (or simply 47 or Mr 47) is the codename of the protagonist and antihero of the Hitman video game franchise developed by Danish developer IO Interactive (IOI). He appears in all games in the series, as well as comics published by Dynamite Entertainment and two live action films. He first appeared in Hitman: Codename 47 (2000) and most recently in Hitman 2 (2018) and will appear in Hitman 3 (2021).

Hitman Agent 47 is a paid assassin and a clone. He gets his name from being the 47th clone created from the DNA of five different men, made to be perfect assassins who could easily maintain peak physicality and intelligence while easily being controlled by whoever they were devoted to, usually a handler. As Hitman Agent 47, the player travels the world and executes hits on individuals while trying to be as stealthy as possible. This includes taking disguises, using aliases, and using suppressed weaponry.

The character of Agent 47 has been well received by critics and has become a well known video game character.

Concept and creation

According to Jacob Andersen, lead designer of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman Agent 47 went from being “a mean old hairy guy” to having “hi-tech glasses” before getting to his current design. More inspiration came from “comic books, Hong Kong movies” and other similar media. According to game director Rasmus Højengaard, the idea of a clone whose future is decided by the people that created him intrigued the Hitman team. He felt that the idea of creating the “ultimate assassin” by cloning evolved with the character before the first game was done. The character of Hitman Agent 47 is voiced in the video game series by David Bateson, who was also the basis for 47’s appearance.

Hitman Agent 47 Biography

Appearance

Hitman Agent 47’s barcode as based on images from Dr. Ort-Meyer’s journal

Hitman Agent 47’s typical attire consists of a black suit, black leather gloves and shoes, white dress shirt, and a burgundy tie. As the Hitman series allows players the option of engaging in stealth-based strategy to avoid conflict, Hitman Agent 47 has the ability to exchange his stock costume (assigned to 47 at the beginning of a level or displayed in a cut scene) with various characters in the game to avoid detection. There are a wide variety of costumes to choose from including police, military, medical, and culinary uniforms that are all made available by incapacitating or killing non-player characters and stealing their clothing.

Alternative stock costumes are occasionally provided. In Codename 47, he is seen wearing a guerrilla camouflage in the jungle, while in Silent Assassin Agent 47 wears a protective anorak in the Japanese mountains and a blue turban in Afghanistan. At the end of Blood Money, Hitman Agent 47 wears a white suit and white gloves while he is placed into a coffin during his funeral. In addition to clothing, Agent 47’s distinctive choice of weaponry plays an important role in his appearance.

He prefers to use a pair of silver customized AMT Hardballers, a M1911 clone, nicknamed “Silverballers”. Following Hitman: Contracts, the Hitman symbol replaces the Silverballer logos that are typically printed on the side of the pistol’s slide. Throughout the franchise, the Silverballers serve as Agent 47’s signature weapon, along with his fiber wire black garrote, appearing in every game of the series.

47 is completely bald with pale skin and blue eyes with dark eyebrows. His International Contract Agency (ICA) file from Hitman: Absolution states his height as 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in). In Hitman: Enemy Within, his weight is given as 85 kg (187 lb). It is apparent that 47 grows older, evident by the added wrinkles through the course of the first four games. He significantly aged in Absolution, with many wrinkles on his face, him performing certain actions slower, and other reduced abilities. This is retconned in the 2016 game as 47 appears much younger, with him looking exactly the same in the game’s main sections and prologue which takes place 20 years before, when he was inducted into the ICA.

A medical report on 47 in-game states that although 47 is in his 50s, his body is still in peak condition as if he is in his 20s, and he is completely immune to disease. Since players of the video game series control the character from a third person perspective, the barcode that is tattooed on the back of his head is starkly prominent, although he has his head covered by a bandage for most of Hitman: Absolution after he removes it in an attempt to disguise himself.

47’s barcode acts as a security key to access areas of the facility where he was created and trained. His barcode is implied to be in Code 39; according to Dr. Ort-Meyer’s journal, the barcode was added to the tattoo in 1975, one year after the code was developed. Curiously, other characters in the games appear oblivious to the conspicuous tattoo; a newspaper’s description of 47 in Hitman: Blood Money fails to mention the barcode as a notable characteristic when 47 has numerous witnesses in the aftermath of a mission.

The barcode is referenced in Hitman: Absolution as the only distinguishing feature 47 has, and it is stated that while others do notice it, the description of a bald man in a suit with a neck tattoo is simply too vague to be useful to law enforcement.

Reception

In 2012, GamesRadar+ ranked Agent 47 as 47th “most memorable, influential, and badass” protagonist in video games. He is regarded by GamesRadar+, FHM, The Telegraph, Play, and G4 as one of the best assassins in video games. IGN ranked him as gaming’s fourth “most notorious” anti-hero, while The Telegraph ranked him third on their list of top 10 video game anti-heroes. Complex ranked him as the 5th “best assassin and hitman in video games”, noting him as the “original contract killer”, while also praising his outfit as “stylish”. Empire ranked him as the 21st “greatest video game character”, stating that his design was “striking”. WhatCulture ranked Agent 47 as the 19th sexiest male video game character of all time.

Appearances

Video games

  • Hitman: Codename 47 (2000)
  • Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002)
  • Hitman: Contracts (2004)
  • Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
  • Hitman: Absolution (2012)
  • Hitman (2016)
  • Hitman 2 (2018)
  • Hitman 3 (2021)

Films

Comics

  • Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman series
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