Some good-ish news has come out today for Hitman fans. Early news that longtime Agent 47 voice actor David Bateson would not be returning made for a lot of bad blood between fans and developer IO. They wouldn’t say who exactly would be replacing him in the role, or why, but the mere fact that they intended to was enough to piss a lot of people off.
But now it looks like Bateson will be returning after all. In the words of an official press release sent out this morning:
“After a long search, IO Interactive are pleased to unveil that the voice of Agent 47 will once again be acted by David Bateson who has been the voice of Hitman since the year 2000 with the seminal PC release of Codename 47. Alongside Bateson, William Mapother (star of hit TV series LOST) has performed the motion capture work for Agent 47 which was recorded at Giant Studios.
Speaking about the decision to return to Bateson after the studio earlier declared he wouldn’t be the voice of 47 in HITMAN: ABSOLUTION, Brand Director Jon Brooke said, ‘IO and Bateson have been bed fellows for over a decade and like all long running relationships sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder. Looking back I think we were just playing hard to get.’”
Yeah, change is good every now and then, but you don’t just replace the guy who made your star character who he is for no good reason. It’s a smart move on IO’s part and an important step toward mending their image with fans, which has taken quite a hit ever since early details started coming out about the upcoming Hitman: Absolution, which many fear has been overly simplified to accommodate a wider audience. It wouldn’t be surprising if the fan backlash wasn’t a big factor in the decision to cast Bateson again. While some of the complaints regarding the gameplay of Absolution may still be valid, at least now fans can be sure that the game will be Hitman in substance, if not style.