Square Enix is selling Hitman development studio IO Interactive. The surprising news out of the Japanese publisher has raised concerns over the Hitman franchise’s future.
The news of Square Enix’s planned sale of IO Interactive came in a note to investors, in which the firm specified a potential £33m loss in its financial results for its financial year ending 31st March 2017.
Square Enix’s statement on the sale of IO Interactive:
"To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO INTERACTIVE A/S, a wholly‐owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017."
Talks with investors over the potential sale of IO Interactive are already underway, but Square Enix can’t guarantee a successful outcome. Hitman, an IP owned by Square Enix, acquired during the Purchase of of Eidos back in 2009, seems unlikely to be included in any sale.
IO Interactive responded to a Tweet to say it’s still making games and will have more to say at a later point:
@NEOkeitaro Thanks for tweeting us. There's a lot going on right now and we'll have more to say at a later point. For now, back to making games.— Io-Interactive (@IOInteractive) May 11, 2017
IO’s latest Hitman game, released on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, initially caused outrage amongst fans due to its episodic release and always-online requirement. A confusing marketing campaign didn’t help matters, but with each episode the game gained support and critical success. IO has delivered regular content updates, with players getting something new every month since the game’s initial release in March 2016. A complete set of episodes launched on disc early in 2017.