A Handoff refers to a specific event that occurs, multiple times, in each Criminal Plot. In this event, one Participant in the plot transfers an Item to another Participant during the course of a Meeting.
Handoffs occur during a Meeting between two Participants. One of the Participants, who is currently in posession of an Item related to the current Criminal Plot, hands the item to the other Participant. The Item will now be in the receiver's location.
There are also less "standard" forms of this event, where the same result is achieved in a different (sometimes downright bizarre) manner. These are called "Abnormal Handoffs", and they are all described later in this article.
Detecting a HandoffEdit
Handoffs are extremely low-profile events. You will not receive notification that a Handoff has occured.
However, since Handoffs usually occur during a Meeting, that event can be detected using the normal means (see the article for more details). If you can acquire the content of the meeting in any method, it will usually discuss the item being Handed Off (for instance, "Here are the Blueprints...").
It is more common to actually discover that an Agent is currently in posession of an Item.
In several plots, the script calls for an unconventional Handoff that does not obey the rules outlined above.
There are several different kinds of Abnormal Handoffs:
- A "Pseudo-Handoff", where an item is created during a Meeting rather than beforehand. This is more common than other Abnormal Handoffs, and occurs in several Plots.
- A "Double Handoff" where the Participants exchange items with each other during a Meeting. This occurs only during the Forgery Plot.
- "Package Traffic", where instead of a Meeting the first agent sends a Message to the other one, and the item exchanges hands during that message traffic. This occurs only during the Drug Trafficking Plot.
- A "Glitched Handoff", referring to a completely inexplicable event in which an item is created or moved between participants without any explanation or logical circumstance. This occurs in no less than two different plots, and is assumed to be a design error (a harmless bug).
In a Pseudo-Handoff, also known as an "Item Reveal", a Meeting takes place as normal. However, unlike in a "normal" Handoff, the item does not exchange hands - it doesn't even exist before the meeting takes place! Instead, it is created during the meeting, in the hands of the Recipient. In other words the Item does not exist before the meeting takes place, but does exist afterwards.
This kind of Handoff is tricky, because it means that the Handoff cannot be prevented before the meeting occurs. The Item may only be Confiscated once the Pseudo-Handoff has been completed, and never in the hands of the agent who "delivers" that item, only in the hands of the agent who "received" it.
A good example of this occurs during the Bombing Plot. A Bomb Specialist commits a Minor Crime that is described via Bulletin as being an acquisition of some specialized electronic equipment used to construct a detonator. However, no Item actually appears in posession of the Bomb Specialist. However, during a Meeting between the Bomb Specialist and the Bomber, a Bomb Item suddenly appears in possession of the Bomber! That item did not exist prior to the meeting, and now exists in the hands of the Bomber. It cannot be Confiscated before this meeting occurs.
In a Double Handoff, also called an "Item Exchange", Agent A gives an item to Agent B, and Agent B gives an item to Agent A. This occurs during the same meeting.
A Double Handoff occurs during the Forgery Plot, where a Bag Man delivers a bag of coins to the Forger and receives the Forgery item in exchange.
Note that this is a little weird-looking in the After-Action Report at the end of the mission: The first Handoff is shown before the Meeting details, while the second Handoff is shown after the meeting details as normal.
Functionally this is no different than a normal Handoff, other than the fact that detecting Message Traffic is different than detecting a Meeting. For one, CIA Airport Surveillance doesn't get to generate a Bulletin since neither of the agents have moved during this event. On the other hand, detecting a Message is more likely to occur automatically thanks to CIA Satellite Surveillance, not to mention any Wiretaps installed at either the sender's or recipient's Hideout.
Package Traffic occurs only during the Drug Trafficking Plot: The Middleman sends $1,000,000 to the Drug Supplier accompanied with a message.
- In this plot, the Extractor makes a conventional Handoff of the Escapee Item (the person rescued from prison) to a Travel Agent. The Travel Agent is now in possession of the Escapee Item as normal.
- However, in the next and final step, the Extractor Visits the Mastermind and conducts a Handoff - despite no longer having the Escapee Item! In fact, the item is transferred during this meeting from the Travel Agent to the Mastermind, despite them not meeting at all!
- In this plot, the Procurer makes a completely unconventional Handoff of the Equipment Item to the Manufacturer.
- First, the Procurer commits a Minor Crime, supposedly acquiring the Equipment Item. However, the Equipment Item does not appear in his possession!
- Instead, it is the Manufacturer who acquires the item! In other words, as soon as the Procurer commits this Minor Crime, the item appears in the possession of the Manufacturer!
- This means that the delivery of the item from the Procurer to the Manufacturer occurs instantly, without any accompanying Message Traffic or Meeting whatsoever. This makes the progress of the plot very confusing, and prevents Max from discovering the location of either Participants through detection of a message or meeting between the two agents, since there is none.
- This may or may not have been an intentional decision by the programmers. After all, the Ultimate Plot appears to be geared just to make life hard for Max - and it indeed manages to do just that.