Last year, Hitman developer Io Interactive announced that it would be going fully independent. Hitman publisher Square Enix had been looking to sell off the developer as it aimed to focus resources on key franchises and studios as well as player satisfaction. But in the process of these negotiations, Io was able to secure full control of the Hitman IP, meaning that the series would continue and that the developer would be free to do what it wants with it.
In a press release today, Io Interactive has now announced that it has entered a new agreement for the Hitman series with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, the publisher behind the Batman: Arkham and Mortal Kombat games. Warner Bros. is now the worldwide publishing and distribution partner for the Hitman games, explains the announcement. Hakan Abrak, CEO IO Interactive adds that "Working with a partner like WBIE means that the team at IOI can stay focused on what we’re good at, making games.”
Under this new deal, Io and Warner Bros. will also be releasing Hitman: Definitive Edition. Launching at retail on May 15 for PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox One and Xbox One X, Hitman: Definitive Edition includes the following:
- Hitman Season One (all seven locations including Paris and Marrakesh)
- The Io Interactive 20th Anniversary Outfit Bundle (outfits inspired by Kane & Lynch and more)
- The Summer Bonus episode (ICA missions in Sapienza and Marrakesh)
- The Blood Money Requiem pack (Requiem Suit, Pale Duck Explosive and ICA Chrome Pistol)
- Hitman Game of the Year Edition content (four missions from the Patient Zero campaign, three Escalation Contracts with three unique weapons, and three outfits for Agent 47)
Io Interactive has already tried out new ways to get players into the Hitman series under the new episodic structure, including making the first episode of the game available for free. The idea is that once players try out the game, they will get invested and will shell out money on additional episodes and that's how the developer will make its money back.
Admittedly, choosing to go down the episodic route was a huge risk for the developer and after it announced its independence some fans had huge concerns that the series was in jeopardy. The new Hitman game has already reached five million players but the Definitive Edition will help to increase this number any more, securing the series' future and that Io Interactive will have the resources to make more games in general.
Hitman is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.