Contracts mode allows 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 chooses to eliminate the marked targets determines several stipulations other players will have to achieve in order to receive maximum payout. The player is 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 earn in-game currency to spend on disguises, suits, weapons and weapon upgrades.
In order to create a Contract, the player plays through a mission segment, selecting up to three different NPCs as targets, eliminates 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, can then be saved (though they can be toggled off, allowing the player to kill the targets any way they like). The available conditions are:
Do not be spotted
Only kill targets
Hide all bodies
Do not change disguises
Do not miss any shots
Contracts mode also features a great deal of online connectivity, as players can upload their own Contracts. Each week, five user-made Contracts are added to the "Featured Contracts" folder for the online community to try and compete.
Access to Contracts Mode (outside of North America) requires 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 aren't allowed, such as profanity. Some have criticized this considering the amount of profanity in the game, stating that it limits players' capacity to create back stories on the targets. In addition, the word 'has' is also blocked for unknown reasons.
Contracts may be created for the following mission segments: