Square Enix Will Sell Hitman Rights as IO Interactive Continues to Struggle

Square Enix Will Sell Hitman Rights as IO Interactive Continues to Struggle

IO Interactive's status still remains precarious.

As industry watchers still look at the unfolding events surrounding IO Interactive's sudden ejection from Square Enix, the Japanese video game company revealed in a financial statement that it is willing to sell the rights for Hitman along with IO so the studio can continue to work on its marquis franchise.

Hitman 2016

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"Because the firm is engaged in the development of Hitman and other renowned titles, we are negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring that these titles carry on," explained Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda in a statement to company investors.

It would be a devastating move if Square Enix kept the Hitman IP while trying to sell off IO Interactive, the company that developed the series. While USgamer previously reached out to the Danish video game company for updates regarding its sales, IO Interactive responded that it is unable to discuss ongoing negotiations.

The whole saga, from the surprise announcement that Square Enix will be selling off IO, to the round of layoffs last week—presumably in an effort to make the company more attractive for potential bidders—is all happening very quickly. Although there are plenty of onlookers hoping to get a glimpse at the internal discussions taking place.

There is still no word about which company might step in to purchase IO Interactive from Square Enix. The studio's last Hitman game, an episodic version of the famed assassination series, was a critical hit that breathed new life into the series from a gameplay perspective. Though it wasn't enough for IO Interactive to be retained by Square Enix.

More on the story as it develops.

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Matt Kim

News Editor

Matt Kim is a former freelance writer who's covered video games and digital media. He likes video games as spectacle and is easily distracted by bright lights or clever bits of dialogue. He also once wrote about personal finance, but that's neither here nor there.

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