Life for the rebooted Hitman series wasn't always a smooth ride, being delayed multiple times, and eventually moving to a somewhat controversial episodic release structure. To many fans, however, the newest game in the series was also the best the series has seen, with consistent updates of new content and things to do as well.
It is a surprise, then, that Square Enix just announced to investors that the company is looking to sell off Hitman developer, IO Interactive, taking a $42 million dollar loss for the March 31, 2017 fiscal year in the process.
In a note to investors, the Japanese company confirmed that it's trying to reorganize and prioritize around certain franchises and studios. While reviews have been really good for the new Hitman title and IO continues to support the game with new updates like its upcoming one year anniversary, the news seems to indicate that the episodic structure may not have been as appealing.
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.
IO Interactive hasn't shied away from the recent news on Twitter, responding to nearly every person who has reached out to provide well wishes to the studio.
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
In short, this news places not only the future of the Hitman series in jeopardy, but the studio as well. Considering that Square Enix has already written off the $42 million dollars, likely from the cancellation of a second season of content, it appears the publisher has already planned on not keeping the studio around no matter what. The press release did confirm that Square Enix is in negotiations with other potential investors, but if one cannot be brought in, it's likely that IO Interactive will be shut down for good.
Sadly, this news follows in the footsteps of the company reportedly placing the Deus Ex franchise on hiatus in favor of commitments made by Square Enix to other IPs like Tomb Raider and the recently announced Marvel partnership. While the Deus Ex series planned to cover a global conspiracy over multiple connected games following last year's Mankind Divided, it seems fans will now be waiting much longer to see those events play out than originally thought.
Are you disappointed to see IO Interactive put up on the chopping block after a well made release? Who would you like to see pick up the studio?
Hitman is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Source: Square Enix