After you've played enough Hitman 3, it's hard to look at any location and not wonder how it could support Agent 47's murderous shenanigans. My flat, for instance, would be rubbish. All my wardrobes are jam-packed with clothes and board games, so there aren't many places to hide a body. Some homes are better suited, however, like Vladimir Putin's Black Sea palace.
Disclaimer: PC Gamer does not endorse assassinating world leaders.
The gargantuan residence near Gelendzhik on the Black Sea coast is 17,691 square metres in size, apparently making it the largest home in Russia. Since 2010, Putin and the Russian government have denied that it belongs to the president, though reports from a whistleblower, journalists and most recently an investigation by opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Anti-Corruption Foundation say otherwise.
It's a fascinating place, mired in controversies and allegations of corruption and cover-ups. Its brief history—construction began in 2005—is exactly the right level of shady for a Hitman level, but that's far from the only reason it's perfect. A YouTube video from Navalny, published a couple of days after he was detained by Russian authorities, breaks down what's contained within Putin's getaway pad, and there's a lot to unpack.
The Italianate-style palace is drowning in gold and art and Italian affectations, and is littered with fancy Italian furniture with price tags that will make you throw up and then die. It is simultaneously stunning and hideous, a gaudy monstrosity that's so extra that it's hard to believe it's real.
But who among us hasn't looked at our homes and thought, "You know what this needs? A proper theatre, complete with a bar, backstage area and two levels of seating." And after an evening entertaining oligarchs with theatrical diversions, it's only natural that you'd want to cap off the night with a DDR session in your gaming room, which for some reason gives off serious 'airport arcade' vibes.
Already Agent 47 has so many opportunities! He could become an actor, giving the performance of a lifetime and getting a private meeting with his target as a result; a bartender with a penchant for poison, a Hitman classic; or a pro-gamer come to challenge the target to a killer dance-off. And that's just the house.
The compound also contains a church, a massive garage complex, staff residences, helipads and, to top it all off, a huge underground hockey rink that, from the outside, also looks like a supervillain's base. This wouldn't just be perfect for one Hitman map, but a whole Hitman game, especially when you throw the winery into the mix. Yep, there's one of them, too. It's not actually in the compound, instead found 10km down the road.
Putin's secret winery definitely deserves a level all to itself, even if we've already played one of them before. It's a big 'un, has its own helipad and plays classical music all day long, which apparently improves the grapes. There's even another residence, a modern one, also pretty big. Again, plenty of opportunities. Stalking targets through the vineyard, chucking them in massive vats of wine, a fatal wine tasting session—it couldn't be more perfect if IO designed the place.
I'm getting dizzy thinking about all the disguises and potential for mayhem. Switching the classical music to Pussy Riot, maybe? Tossing an explosive duck into the artificial pond also sounds like a lark. The winery and palace have it all: grand architecture, goofy surprises, and probably loads and loads of wardrobes.