IO Interactive has gone fully independent but company CEO Hakan Abrak says that the newfound independence means IO can grow the foundations its laid with 2016's Hitman Season One.
"Look, we feel like we're onto a good thing with our latest Hitman game," says Abrak in a new profile with gamesindustry.biz. "We've changed how we work, and as a studio we've never felt more confident and more in control of knowing what we're doing... We learned so much during the first season of this game, and by the end we felt like a well-oiled machine."
Earlier this year, Square Enix made public that the company intended to cut ties with IO Interactive, shopping the studio to buyers. Ultimately, IO Interactive opted for a management buyout but only after a wave of layoffs. The end result was that IO gained its independence and kept the rights to the Hitman IP.
Jumping off from the recent release of the Hitman: Game of the Year edition (which is self-published) Abrak reaffirmed the company's commitment to Hitman, specifically the live model of the game. Abrak stated that between the start of 2017 to recently, the amount of Hitman players jumped from two million to seven million. And that number is "rising daily," according to Abrak.
"The AAA digital era is where we all are right now and it made perfect sense for Hitman Season One. Being able to create that experience and then continue to add to it has been immensely rewarding for IO Interactive, and we hope for our players too," said Abrak. To help, Abrak said that IO is "in negotiations and discussions with potential partners."
Abrak says that independence "has been a genuine watershed moment" for the company. He adds that, "Being independent means we don't have to do things the way we've done them in the past. We can decide what's right for IO Interactive, for Hitman and for our players."