Hitman: 10 Things Players Need To Know About The International Contract Agency

Fans of IO Interactive‘s Hitman admire the series for its massively-interactive take on the open-world stealth genre. However, they also love it for IO Interactive’s immersive take on the “hired assassin” trope that makes players themselves believe that their operations as Agent 47 seem to have the backing of a massively-powerful criminal entity. Thanks to Hitman 3, players can get a better insight into Agent 47’s recent exploits. However, something about his life remains as elusive as ever: the true nature of the International Contract Agency, the group he works for.

RELATED: 10 Great Stealth Games To Play That Aren’t Hitman

Previous Hitman games did shed some light on the ICA’s involvement with Agent 47’s past. However, it seems ICA has more to hide than meets the eye. Just what is going on inside the ICA?

10 Pairs Of Assets And Controllers

To help foster a culture of privacy and anonymity, the ICA has “handlers” or controllers tasked to aid on-site assets and operatives during missions. In Hitman games, these come in the form of pairs such as Diana Burnwood who serves as Agent 47’s handler. Most of the time, Diana and other controllers provide mission briefings and electronic correspondents to their agents.

Despite Diana and Agent 47’s actions, controllers should never liaise with their agents in person. However, due to security risks and extraneous circumstances, Diana and Agent 47 have made a few encounters in real life to help protect their lives.

9 Connected To A Healthy Network

Fans might wonder how the ICA gets to fulfill its contracts without any sanctions or penalties. However, the games answer this question by elaborating just how the Agency has connections to various domestic and international factions around the world. Aside from being a multinational neutral organization, the Agency has ties to various individuals and groups, which in turn have ties to various affiliates. In turn, the ICA has agents and elements with organizations such as the FBI, CSIS, and the United Nations. They even have ties to intelligence organizations such as the NSA, CIA, MI6, and Interpol.

In fact, the games sometimes make these connections quite apparent. For instance, Agent 47 infiltrated and stopped a terror attack at a 2000 United Nations summit. Two years later, Agent 47 received instructions not to harm any UN soldiers in a 2002 Afghanistan mission.

8 The Board Often Got Personal

At some point in the series, Hitman did reveal some of the “head honchos” within the Agency. Known as the board of directors, the ICA found power within various individuals. These directors include ministers, high-ranking government officials, moguls, terrorists, and even leaders of black-market networks. The games would reveal that some members of the board often leveraged their power to request assassinations against more personal targets.

For instance, Joe Sosa, the Venezuelan oil minister at the time, had a habit of making his rivals die in car accidents. Meanwhile, Greek shipping mogul Aristotle Thorakis ordered several strikes on various vendettas – from journalists to people who insult him and his family.

7 Owns Exclusive Weapon Variants

As Agent 47 would show, the ICA has its own extensive arsenal of exclusive weaponry for its agents. For instance, Agent 47 himself has his trademark ICA Silverballers as his handguns of choice. Other operatives use ICA-exclusive weapons, from the Agency Tanto Knife as melee weapons to snipers as precise as the Agency ARZ-160.

RELATED: 5 Things That Make Hitman The Best Stealth Game (& 5 Why It’s Splinter Cell)

The ICA’s expansive weaponry does help elaborate on the Agency’s wide reach, especially in terms of equipment. The Agency spares no expense for the mission budget, especially for operatives such as Agent 47.

6 Opposite The Franchise

Fans of Hitman might remember that the ICA serves as only one of many black-ops groups within the game’s universe. Aside from Agent 47 and his fellow operatives in the Agency, the ICA does have rivals in the form of the Franchise. In previous games, the Franchise also serves as a black-ops unit that utilizes assassins to carry out hits. Despite its leader Alexander Cayne frowning upon cloning, the Franchise did at some point secretly used two clones to carry out assassinations.

The Franchise has at some point tactically tried ruining the ICA’s reputation to its peers. Additionally, the Franchise also made an active mode to eliminate most of the ICA’s existing operatives. Thanks to Agent 47, the ICA managed to eliminate the Franchise and restore the Agency back to the status quo.

5 Has Internal Projects, Departments

As evidenced by some plot points in the games, the ICA seems to have its fair share of agency-exclusive units aside from its assets in other factions. For instance, the Agency employs various units of its own to protect its valuable members and VIPs. These special ICA troops include heavy troopers, soldiers, grunts, and even forensic and technical experts.

However, the Agency seems to have its own special “initiatives” and projects as well. For instance, the ICA has Initiative 424 as its experimental wetwork unit. Unlike other projects, the ICA designed Initiative 424 – or the Saints – to be able to eliminate targets under the guise of nine nuns. Moreover, these female operatives received special training to deceive and operate within the confines of religious organizations to feign innocence.

4 Agent 47 Is An Expensive Urban Legend

Agent 47’s notoriety within the ICA has its reasons. Despite his assignments taking into account only 3-percent of the Agency’s targets, Agent 47’s payments account for 37-percent of the ICA’s income per annum. In turn, Agent 47 is essentially one of the most – if not the most – expensive operatives to date. Due to his skill, Agent 47 is most commonly referred to as the “scalpel” of the Agency. In short, Agent 47 serves as its most precise and subtle assassin.

RELATED: Skyrim: 10 Must-Try Perks For Stealth Builds

As per the games, the Agency can charge assignments that need Agent 47 for as low as USD 100,000 for low-rate cases to as high as USD 600,000. Agent 47 himself barely shows interest in much of the money he receives. However, he does “splurge” a bit on some of his hobbies such as expensive suits.

3 Not Beyond Hiring Freelancers

Despite the ICA’s specialization in making contract kills, it appears the Agency isn’t beyond hiring freelancers to do some of the heavy lifting on its behalf. For instance, former ICA handler Benjamin Travis hired the Praetorians to protect him from Agent 47. Unlike other units, the Praetorians actually serve as a freelancing private protection detail and, in turn, one of the strongest teams of antagonists that Agent 47 has to face in Absolution.

To add more mystery to their origins, eagle-eyed fans might notice that the three of them have almost identical appearances, with features similar to Mark Parchezzi III and Mark Purayah II. Interestingly, the latter are clones previously sent to kill Agent 47. As such, some fans speculate that the Praetorians might be products of a cloning experiment from the Franchise. This organization rivaled the Agency prior to the former’s shutdown.

2 A Fondness For Birds

A trailer actually divulges some trivia regarding the inner workings of the ICA. As per the Saints ICA File trailer, the Agency uses the names of birds to classify operatives according to rank. Some members of ICA Initiative 424 (The Saints) possess the “Eagle” ranking. Moreover, it’s hinted that Saint Heather McCarthy should have the “Sparrow” classification instead.

Unfortunately, the games didn’t elaborate much about this ranking system. One might note that Sparrow can be considered a lesser rank compared to Eagle. After all, McCarthy served as the second Saint to die by Agent 47’s hands in the trailer.

1 A Logo With References

Eagle-eyed fans who love their spy-fi will notice some references within the ICA logo as well. For instance, the ICA logo seems to be based on the original emblem that the MI5 used. However, the Agency’s logo does replace the actual images alongside the characters in the triangle’s three corners. Instead of “MI5,” the characters now read “IOI” – referring to IO Interactive.

The Agency’s “Merces Letifer” motto serves as Latin for “Lethal Trade,” reflecting its tradecraft. Lastly, the Agency alludes to its secretive nature courtesy of the all-seeing eye in its logo, commonly associated with conspiracies.

NEXT: Ranking Every Hitman Game From Worst To Best

By