Escalation Contracts (also known as "Escalations") are a new form of gameplay in HITMAN™.
Escalation Contracts require the player to kill certain targets, while giving them a side objective along the levels as the difficulty ramps up. They are meant to be challenging, so certain requisites will change the number of guards, add security cameras, or make a person or group see through all or certain disguises, artificially affecting normal gameplay.
Just like a normal contract, an Escalation contract requires the player to kill one to several targets, with added requisites like using a certain weapon for the kill or killing the target while wearing a certain disguise. However, as a the contract is completed, the contract level will increase, which makes the player get an added challenge to their main task, whether it may be more targets, or certain conditions like using a disguise only once or avoid any subduing whatsoever.
Escalation contracts generally have five levels, but some have only three. Once the player advances an escalation contract level, it is not possible to go back and play a specific level. The player may, however, reset the contract level to one for an escalation contract from the menu.
Completing the last level of an Escalation Contract will award the player with the feat of the same title, and five thousand mastery points in that destination.
Planning and execution
When planning, the available locations and weapons are the ones unlocked by mastery level. It is therefore recommended to finish the story mission before attempting Escalation Contracts for that location, as some contracts can be very difficult. As an example, if a contract does not allow the player to pacify anybody, it would be wise to start the contract with a disguise. The same thing happens with certain kill conditions, as if the contract requires the target to be killed with an explosive, it would be better if the player can plan ahead and bring a remote explosive.
With that said, every contract is playable regardless of the player's mastery level or unlocked content. In the previous example of having the requirement of not pacifying anybody, if a kill requires a certain disguise, it will be obtainable without the need of subduing anybody.
As with normal contracts, killing the target without following the contract rules will automatically fail the mission, but also there may be requirements that may make the player fail the mission immediately and that will be specified on the briefing. In addition, certain conditions may make the player fail the contract even if the mission does not stop, such as subduing a target that needs to be killed with a melee weapon or poison, or disposing of a body in a way that the disguise is not reachable while being one of the contract rules.
There is one escalation that take place within the Freeform Training
The Final Test
There is one escalation that take place within The Final Test
There are seventeen escalations within The Showstopper.
World of Tomorrow
There are eleven escalations within World of Tomorrow.
There is one escalation for the bonus episode The Icon.
There is one escalation for the bonus episode Landslide.
A Gilded Cage
There are eight escalations available for A Gilded Cage.
A House Built On Sand
There is one escalation for the bonus episode A House Built on Sand.
There are four escalations within Club 27.
There are three escalations within Freedom Fighters
There are three escalations within Situs Inversus.