Licensed To Kill – An Interview With Hitman’s David Bateson

The iconic voice behind Agent 47

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Last year, IO Interactive and Square Enix released the sixth entry in their popular Hitman series digitally as 6 immersive episodes over the course of several months. This bold and smart move ultimately reinvigorated the franchise and is one of many reasons why this title made our top 10 best games of 2016 list.

Shortly after the release of the physical disc version of Hitman: The Complete First Season, I had the opportunity to sit down with Agent 47 himself David Bateson and got his insight on what it’s like to play such a badass character. Below is my in-depth interview along with a few showcase videos of David playing his role.

As the original voice behind Agent 47, how does it feel to make a return to the popular Hitman franchise?

David Bateson: Like coming home! Always comfortable and a pleasure to be a part of. Imagine you have a really good friend from high school and then you don’t see each other for a year or more, but when you do, it’s just like it was yesterday. That’s what it feels like.

Can you describe how you were first given the opportunity to play this iconic character? What were some of your sources of inspiration for getting prepared to take on the role?

David Bateson: By accident, really. I was in a studio doing another voiceover and the technicians asked me if I would be interested in voicing this character in an upcoming computer game in development. I asked to see some graphics and footage of the game and was immediately blown away by the whole look of the game. The rest is…well, history. I got lucky, haha!

David Bateson enjoys voicing Agent 47 and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Of all the Hitman games that you’ve worked on, which one would you say that you’ve enjoyed the most?

David Bateson: In a way, I’ve enjoyed the last one I did the most simply because it’s the freshest in my mind. Having said that, I particularly enjoyed Absolution’s recordings because of the emotional journey Agent 47 had to go through. But then again, the whole of this Season 1 journey was an amazing experience and thoroughly enjoyable, because the recording just kept going on. I liked the idea of not knowing what was going to happen next – I mean, from level to level as well as during each level. The other thing which was really fun about this last time around was getting to stay with Agent 47 basically, every second month – with even some pickup sessions in between. I feel I really know this guy after 16 years plus, but getting to “hang out with him” every second or so, made it feel even more familiar. I’d like to invite him over for a barbecue and a beer sometime!

Given the overall positive reception from Hitman: The Complete First Season, is it safe to say that you’ll be back for Season 2? Are you a fan of this new episodic approach to the series and how long do you think it will last?

David Bateson: I’m just not in a position to comment on Season 2, I’m afraid. I believe the response to Season 1 has been extraordinarily good, both in terms of gameplay and content, as well as positive with regard to the episodic release of the game. I truly believe it has enriched the overall experience. The fans’ experience and relationship to the franchise have intensified, in my opinion. It has brought the fans and the developers closer to each other.

Are you a gamer and if so which system or systems do you own or plan on buying down the road?

David Bateson: I would be hard pushed to call myself a gamer, anymore. I’m too busy doing voiceovers. I have PlayStations 2, 3 and 4 though. I’m quietly looking forward to spending some time working through all of Season 1 though. However, I follow the gaming industry in the media as much as I can. Technology seems to be moving even faster than game development.

Outside of Hitman, do you have any existing dream projects or franchises that you would love to be a part of one day?

David Bateson: The thing is, I am so connected to Agent 47 and the Hitman franchise, that I would find it weird to voice another character. I know that is a bit crazy, as I work in so many different kinds of areas of voice work, not to mention playing all sorts of roles in both theater and on occasion, in film and TV. However, a badass villain in Assassin’s Creed could be fun. Or a kind of a ghost figure in Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture 2. Haha! I like the idea of “just” the power of the voice of a character and not even his physical appearance, telling the story and describing events. I’m going to be voicing Deckard in a concert version of Blade Runner, among other sci-fi film soundtracks, at the DR concert hall in Copenhagen in late May/early June. Speaking of which, I wish I was in Blade Runner 2! Does that count?

What advice would you give to any aspiring actors/voice actors who are trying to catch their big break in the film or video game industry?

David Bateson: The bottom line is – someone, somewhere, someday (though not necessarily – and that’s the bitch!) needs to give you a break, in this business. Having said that so much more is possible these days with regards to film and recording technologies and the various social media platforms available to all, so putting a project/scene/showcase together is within reach for aspiring actors/voice actors like never before. Remain curious and keep trying. The phone will not ring if you lean back and stubbornly believe that talent alone will win the day. There is no justice in this business!

David Bateson voices Agent 47 in “Hitman: The Complete First Season” out now for PS4, Xbox One and PC: www.hitman.com

Official website: http://www.davidbateson.dk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImDavidBateson

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/imdavidbateson

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Richard Bailey Jr. Editor-In-Chief
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