Contracts mode allowed the player to play through almost any mission segment of the game and select up to three NPCs in it to mark as targets. The method in which the player chose to eliminate the marked targets determines several stipulations other players would have to achieve in order to receive maximum payout. The player was allowed to pick any suit and starting gear to use in the mission. In order to save the challenge, the player has to clear it themselves. For completing Contracts, players earned in-game currency to spend on disguises, suits, weapons and weapon upgrades.
In order to create a Contract, the player played through a mission segment, selecting up to three different NPCs as targets, eliminated them in any way of their choosing and leaves the level through one of the possible exits (the exit will be also saved, meaning players has to use it as well). The Contract, along with the conditions under which the player completed it such as which disguises and weapons were used, could then be saved (though they could be toggled off, which allowed the player to kill the targets any way they like). The available conditions were:
Do not be spotted
Only kill targets
Hide all bodies
Do not change disguises
Do not miss any shots
Contracts mode also featured a great deal of online connectivity, as players could upload their own Contracts. Each week, five user-made Contracts were added to the "Featured Contracts" folder for the online community to try and compete.
Access to Contracts Mode (outside of North America) required the free downloading of a "Contracts Pass" and a pass code included with the copy of Absolution.
When giving a contract a description certain words weren't allowed, such as profanity. Some have criticized this considering the amount of profanity in the game, stating that it limited players' capacity to create back stories on the targets. In addition, the word 'has' was also blocked for unknown reasons.
Contracts could be created for the following mission segments: