Square Enix Looks to Sell IO Interactive, Future of Hitman Series Uncertain

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.

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Matthew Sigler

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Currently interning at Niche Gamer. I've been playing video games since I was three years old.



  • Mr0303

    That’s sad to hear. If Square didn’t have a bleeding fetish for episodic games the new Hitman could’ve been more successful.

  • goodbyejojo

    The word goes that the Western end of things is horrifically mismanaged
    and bad communication is rife. As I remember, Thief changed
    director/producers several times and its development got dragged out to
    several years. Add onto this a management that seems intent on really,
    really obviously bad ideas (the online connection in Just Cause 3,
    Hitman being made episodic, a really blatant microtransaction mill in
    Deus Ex) and it’s just a disaster.

  • DrearierSpider

    F*ck Squeenix, Thief lost its one chance at making a true comeback and Deus Ex has been killed off again due to their ridiculous corporate meddling. They should just sell all of Eidos’ properties and focus on pimping out Final Fantasy til the end of time.

  • DrearierSpider

    Its more the always online bullshit that bothers me with Hitman. Only reason I haven’t bought the game since the full season got released.

  • ProxyDoug

    Sounds believable. Just because Square has their own fuck ups on their end, doesn’t mean that a company that ruined their IPs by themselves before the acquisition should be excused.
    We should calm our Squeenix hate boner for now.

  • totenglocke

    That, plus the always online DRM, kept me from buying it.

  • Malcolm_Ecks

    I put this on Square Enix Europe. Worst portion of the company imo.

  • Mr0303

    Kind of ironic given that the Eidos properties is what made them tons of cash and now they are intent to bury them.

  • Kiryu

    Let’s not forget they also killed Star Ocean.I always said SE is the japanese EA and i’m proven right here.

  • No_Good_Names_Ever

    I hope Crystal Dynamics is next so that I don’t have to worry about a new Gex being made.

  • Fandangle

    I’d still say Squeenix is slightly better. EA would just shut down the studio and hoard the IPs only to resurrect them five years from now as shitty P2W mobile games. Squeenix is at least giving a company that actually respects the developer and their IPs a chance to let them flourish.

  • Makoto

    I would’ve prefered them to kill the Star Ocean franchise than releasing the massacre that was Star Ocean 5.

  • Joe

    Squeenix vomits out more shitty mobile games than EA does.

  • Joe

    But most of their Japanese products are blatant microtransaction mills as well (and plagued by 10 year long delays), so their eastern arm is arguably just as horribly managed.

  • porkbun

    yeah most people don’t know about them cause they are japan exclusive.

  • 2501

    Eidos Montreal is to blame for that horrible Thief reboot, that development team had no idea what makes a Thief game. When you take your main inspiration from Guy Rictchie’s Sherlock – you just know that you’re getting a piece of shit.

  • NuclearKangaroo

    so what you are saying is

    SE’s western studios manage to pull out decent game DESPITE SE’s management, not thanks to it

  • sanic

    Well I mean they did even have mass effect costume DLC in final fantasy…

  • Neojames82

    So Square Enix decided to force these guys to adopt a stupid; episodic structure for the game, knowing it probably was a horrible idea.

    Gamers and most likely even journalists were probably stating this was a horrible idea.

    Game tanks do to horrible episodic idea and now Square Enix is giving them the boot because of set failure.

    Boy, makes you REALLY want to work with Square Enix doesn’t it?! Fucking assholes…

  • Kiryu

    Well noticed.

  • Kiryu

    SE probably wanted to jump on the Telltale episodic train and the funny thing is they are gona to implement this model on FFVII remake.

  • Michael Richardson

    That’s too bad. Aside from the episodic release schedule and always-online bullshit, I heard it was a real return to form for the series. And now it’s dead again. Thanks, Squeenix.

  • AnarKreig

    Question are; who would be a good match for IO Interactive, and how much of their crew is abandoning the workplace in search of green pastures now, and already has? And how much of the team will remain once IO is acquired by a greater entity. So many uncertainties.

    They could also turn to Crowdfunding, I suppose, if the team is small enough.

  • Fandangle

    still, mobile games are ignorable plus most squeenix mobile games are just ports of old console games, nothing as offensive as dungeon keeper.

  • SevTheBear

    Sony or MS could buy them

  • Neojames82

    I’m actually curious, does IO Interactive own the rights to Hitman still or did SE take those rights when they bought out Eidos?