Interview with Hitman Speedrunner and Mechanic Master, GuLe

Think you’re good at this year's Hitman? Think again.

Hitman is one of my favorite games of 2016. Yes, the Hitman that was panned for its episodic release, which turned out to be an effective way of delivering content that kept the game relevant long after most games would have been forgotten. It’s also a game that I thought I was good at, until I started visiting the Hitman subreddit and bumping into some pretty crazy videos.

At first I didn’t think too much of these videos beyond, “Wow, that’s cool.” The more that I watched, however, the more I recognized the play style before even looking to see who the player was. That player was GuLe, a Hitman speedrunner and mechanic master, and it got to the point where I started looking to see what he’d posted each time I logged on to get my Hitman information.

Eventually, it occurred to me that I should combine my ability to post content to a video game website with my love for Hitman, and crank out a cool feature that focuses on one of its best players. GuLe was nice enough to agree, and so here we are.

Two notes before we begin. First, GuLe insisted that his subreddit trademark, huehuehuehue, be left in (like I’d remove it), and there are a few minor story spoilers in the interview, but nothing too crazy.

Q) Hello, GuLe, and thank you for doing this interview. For anyone that has spent time on the Hitman subreddit, your videos are well known. How did you first get into Hitman, and what made you decide to take a crack at speedrunning?

A) I've been playing hitman games way before Hitman 2016 came out. I played them in order (C47, SA, Contracts, Blood Money, Absolution), and even though I played a lot, I didn't make videos of them like I do now (although you can find two SA videos and a BM video on my channel, huehuehuehue).

I used to watch a lot of taishon3946 videos. I think he was my main inspiration and what got me into speedrunning. You can see that I use the same title format as him on my videos as a tribute, huehuehuehue.

To be honest though, I don't just focus hard on speedrunning the game, it just happens to be that most of my runs are fast, but I always prefer style points over speed, like on my Colorado SA/SO/Accidents run. Not the fastest, but I thought it was cool.

Q) The Freedom Fighters video where you go Suit Only and kill all four targets by accident is what motivated me to reach out to you, so I'm glad you brought it up. Help those who watch your videos understand what goes into a run like that. How many attempts does it take to perfect that? How many hours went into just that one run?

A) Most runs take a couple of tries before getting it right. This specific one was the only one that took me more than a day. I had the plan the day before, tried a couple of times, couldn't do it, but next day I got it. On most runs, what makes you fail is some inconsistent mechanic, like a guard having his head turned to the other side next time you try, but for this one it was just how hard it was to pull off. The timing for Penelope's kill had to be just right or you'd also kill one of her guards, and most of the time even hitting the part of the ground were the oil was from that distance was difficult. There's also the between-the-legs shot to a Fire Extinguisher to kill Sean, and the kill for Ezra afterwards, which can be complicated by not hitting the right spot or killing non-targets. I'd say this one took me about 40 tries, huehuehuehue, but most of them take under 10.

Q) That's impressive. It took me 10 tries to finish Hokkaido trying the Silent Assassin, Suit Only method, and I was taking hints from a video! What inspires you perfect these runs? Is it wanting to grow your audience on YouTube, or are you just motivated by the idea of mastering a game mechanic?

A) It's just something I enjoy. I don't care much about growing my channel. I used to play League of Legends and make videos of it, and you can see on my channel that LoL videos did very well in terms of views, but when this game came out it became my main and I stopped making LoL videos, even though I know they'd get me a lot more views than Hitman.

And yeah, whenever I play a game I try my best to understand its mechanics and mess around with them. I guess that's why I found a lot of "tricks" for Hitman, like the instant-detonation trick, the dropdown glitch for Sapienza, the instant-throw, the fetch trick, etc. A lot of players are using those tricks now. I also love reading the comments on my videos and seeing the reactions. Most of my videos have no dislikes at all, and they always say nice things in the comments, which makes me feel great for doing them.

Q) Yeah, I've seen you do some things in Hitman where I had to back the video up and take a second look. The drop-down glitch in Sapienza comes to mind. What video or run that you've completed are you most proud of? Is there one that stands out more than the rest?

A) My favorite is World of Tomorrow SA/SO with the SMG. I made it when everyone was complaining about how useless the weapons in this game were. I found that you can do the entire level with only the SMG, and that it’s useful! It's the best weapon in the game to take down 3 people at once, unnoticed and at close range (2:26 - I leg shot three of them with its rapid fire, knocking out two and killing one). It's funny how I spent the entire level with the weapon in hand, too. I didn't even holster it, huehuehuehue.

Q) Wow, that's crazy. I'm sure a lot of players look at an SMG as a weapon for a chaotic play through. That video shows what's possible when you think outside the box. As we wind down here, I’d like to ask you about your favorites and least favorites from Season 1. What is your favorite destination and why?

A) My favorite must be Sapienza. I think most of my videos are there as well. I just like the aesthetics, the main mission, and the huge potential for contracts. Sapienza has 10 unique disguises, the most unique weapons of any map (Katana, Battle Axe, Hatchet, Saber, Old Axe, etc.), and even the plot for the main story is the best in my opinion. Paris and Hokkaido are close, but I’m going with Sapienza as my favorite.

Q) Paris for me. Sapienza is a close second, but destroying the virus breaks the fluidity I feel. Is there one map that you just don't like? Anything that stands out as your least favorite?

A) That was my opinion about the virus as well, until I found out that you can shoot it from the rock ledge, then it stopped being a problem huehuehuehue.

There isn't a map that I don't like, but my least favorite is Marrakesh. The school doesn't feel Hitman-ish with all the open windows and having to depend on the cover system so much. Plus, the insane number of Enforcers in the consulate limits your disguise options too much.

Q) I know you've played a lot of contracts, but what are your favorite and least favorite targets from the main story? Are there any assassination challenges that stand out?

A) Favorite is Silvio Caruso, huehuehuehue. Plenty of ways to kill him, great story and cool opportunities.

As for assassination challenges, the ones in Bangkok were the coolest in my opinion. The one where you wait for Jordan while sitting on a chair pointing your gun at him, and the one where you make him kill Ken Morgan. Those are the ones I remember the most.

Least favorite would be Ken Morgan, by far, huehuehuehue. He just feels like he was put in there to have a second target, and his kill opportunities are either extremely easy and non-satisfactory (poison his food, shoot the hanging lights), or extremely tedious (all his kill opportunities).

Q) You're changing lives right now. I haven't had as much time with Bangkok as most of the others, and didn't realize you could kill Jordan Cross in those ways. Now I know what I'm doing tonight. But, we should probably wrap this up and let you get back to creating incredible content. Before we do, though, where can your viewers find you?

A) Mainly on my YouTube channel. I have a Twitch channel as well, but I usually stick to YouTube since I don't speak English very well. I stream with my mic muted, which isn't very entertaining, huehuehuehue.

Check out Mendie instead! He's more entertaining than me and promised a 24 hour Hitman Stream at 100 Twitch followers!
Also, a shout out to FortheSeven. He makes great hitman content and is one of the most dedicated Hitman players, huehuehuehue. 

I can’t thank GuLe enough for taking the time to sit down and talk with me about Hitman. Not only is he helping to bring attention to a game that isn’t getting enough, but he’s teaching me (and many others) new ways to think about its mechanics. Not to get too carried away, but the way that GuLe sees Hitman is, in some small way, comparable to how Jordan saw basketball, or how Gretzky saw hockey.

Bill Lavoy

If I'm not playing or writing about video games, I'm probably watching hockey. Stereotypical Canadian who loves his poutine.

Read My Stories