It’s early days now, but we have reports that the long-running Hitman franchise might be making its way to portable devices courtesy of Eidos Montreal. A single demo level has been spotted and played, featuring intense sniping action in an ice-covered city environment, as the player provides escort duty for a nervous defector. It’s unclear whether the main character is the series’ usual Agent 47 or where the game fits in to the established timeline but expect simpler missions, less focused on stealth and the planning of assassinations and more on sniping, with some inventive environment kills thrown in to keep things interesting. Little more can be said at this time, but early impressions are that this will honor the spirit of the series, although perhaps not to the depth to which fans are accustomed, and which has the edge over the rash of recent sniping games.  It is certainly one to keep your eyes out for.

The Hitman franchise follows the exploits of Agent 47, a cloned assassin whose brutal but effective methods have placed him in high demand amongst the rich and powerful, and the five games in the series have crossed generations and platforms, including Xbox, Gamecube and most recently Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 with Hitman: Absolution. The series is notable for the varied and inventive ways in which missions can be carried out, and for its innovative approach to stealth, where it encourages players to hide in plain sight rather than sneaking around as is usual.

This new version will be the first time Hitman has been seen on portable devices, although PSP and DS versions were once planned but unfortunately never released. The complex storylines have also been explored in novel form and on the big screen, with Timothy Olyphant (Die Hard 4.0, The Crazies, and TV’s Justified) stepping into the role of Agent 47, in a film which was financially, but not critically, successful.