The last time we hunted down Agent 47, at PAX EAST, the perversely pious protagonist of Hitman: Absolution was donning the collar as he ransacked an enemy infested orphanage. Like a finely graded garrote wire, we couldn’t help but wrap ourselves around IO Interactive’s demonstration to try and squeeze out every last ounce of detail on the game’s multifaceted, highly stylized combat.

Even though our preview concluded with an uncertain smell — the kind of smell we can never seem to Lysol out of our trunk after disposing an expired target — lingering over Hitman: Absolution’s enemy AI and the viability of Agent 47’s tactics, we sauntered away from the scene in quiet confidence, optimistic that the game would deliver on its lofty aspirations. If only we had a way to keep track of 47’s movements until Absolution releases late this year…

Fortunately, the intrepid reporters of the Hope News Times are on the beat. Set within the Hitman universe, the town of Hope, South Dakota has been swept up in a recent wave of randomly violent crime. Square Enix has been releasing weekly editions of the town paper – the third of which is now available – giving us screenshots and insight on the town, its politics, and the grizzly products of what can only be one man’s handiwork.

Hope News times 3 Hitman Absolution

As depicted in the macabre scene, a routine smoke break didn’t end well for Gavin LeBlond, leukemia survivor as a child and upstanding Hopeian. The town sheriff suspects it was a fun prank gone wrong, but after seeing the image of the mysterious, bald-headed culprit who wired this fence for death, we have reason to believe Agent 47 is on the prowl.

Similar to yesterday’s Hitman: Absolution gameplay teaser trailer, the Hope News Times reports from Square Enix merely dabble in the wide array of lethal concoctions Agent 47 has at his disposal. They do, however, add an interesting potential story arch by snapshotting the life of primary antagonist Blake Dexter. A town mainstay, Dexter’s work, his motives, and his beef with Agent 47 are all key parts of the game. We still don’t know much about why the two are compelled to go against each other — or why the citizens of Hope are seemingly caught up in the mix — but we’re certain Gavin LeBlond won’t be the last to meet an untimely end.

Ranters, how do feel about the way Hitman: Absolution is shaping up? Are the recent teases of a small town setting a good balance to confirmed locations like Chicago?

Hitman: Absolution is slated for a Q4 2012 release on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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