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Hitman: Absolution uses Avatar mo-cap tech, snags Hollywood talent

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While the real details on Hitman: Absolution will have to wait until E3 following the release this week of the debut teaser, a little bit of information has slipped out on how the game is coming together. The planned 2012 release features a cast of “a dozen Hollywood actors” and it will use the same motion capture technology that powered James Cameron‘s 2009 sci-fi hit Avatar, The Hollywood Reporter reveals.

Only two cast members are revealed in the writeup: Keith Carradine (Cowboys & Aliens), who will play the game’s villain Blake Dexter, and Marsha Thomason (Naomi from Lost), as Agent 47’s handler and longtime confidante Diana Burnwood. Timothy Olyphant starred in the 2007 film adaptation directed by Xavier Gens and a follow-up is in development now, but there’s been no mention of the next movie’s cast. Producer Adrian Askarieh has seen the work being done on Absolution and intends to carry some of “the grit and texture and the character-driven context” into next year’s movie.

The use of Hollywood talent is a move in a different direction for the game side of the series. While there’s always been a story to follow, play basically boils down to guiding Agent 47 through a set of discrete assassination plots.

“There are more central characters in this game than we’ve ever dealt with before and they all have names and an important role in the story, so working with Hollywood talent was crucial to us,” the game’s director, Tore Blystad, said. “It’s important within the framework of the game for players to be able to connect with these characters.”

The motion picture-trained cast is right at home doing performance capture for the game, which is happening at Giant Studios, the same place Cameron used for Avatar. Some of the scenes shot for the game require up to seven actors on the set at one time, along with props and all of the other trappings of a typical film take. The performance capture, like the decision to hire Hollywood talent, will be used in the game to highlight the emotional human facets of the story.

Hitman has been absent for awhile, but it seems that IO Interactive is pulling out every trick it can dream up to ensure that the latest entry in the series lives up to the expectations placed on any other present-day blockbuster video game.

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