Square Enix has announced that it’s severing ties with Hitman developer (and fully owned subsidiary) IO Interactive.
Alongside the release of the company’s financial results for last year, Square Enix announced their intent to sell IO Interactive, saying:
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. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017. As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.
In normal person talk, Square Enix is done with IO Interactive. They’re looking for someone else to buy the company, however if this does not come to fruition the studio will be closed. Because of this, Square Enix is expecting to lose about forty-two million dollars attempting to sell the studio.
This of course leaves the future of the Hitman series in the balance. While Square Enix owns the Hitman IP, IO Interactive has been developer of the series ever since the first title, Hitman: Codename 47, released back in 2000. Even if the studio does find a new owner, it remains to be seen if Square Enix will continue the franchise after last year’s episodic reboot.