In an unexpected move, Square-Enix will be selling off Hitman developer, IO Interactive, or shut down if a buyer can not be found.
In a note that comes out of the Square Enix quarterly financial report, Square has announced that they are looking to sell off IO Interactive, the danish studio behind Hitman, Kayne and Lynch, and one off title Freedom Fighters.
“To maximise 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 separation, that is outlined in the quarterly report, will cost Square-Enix 4,898 million yen, that breaks down to around 14% of the Square Enix operating income in the Digital Entertainment of 33,310 million yen. With operating income showing an increase of 21.3% and showing an increase in sales year over year, helped due to the release of Final Fantasy XV, it is a curious move for Square Enix. One potential issue could be the overall sales of Hitman, and them not hitting the numbers needed to continue with the franchise, although no statement to that matter has been issued.
At this time Square Enix have “started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment.” While there is no word if this will include all properties the studio worked on, such as Hitman, Square did note that they are going to focus on “key franchises and studios,” witch suggests they may be pulling back from these titles.
IO-interactive have been working hard on the critically acclaimed Hitman since it launched in 2016. With a steady stream of new content and new elusive targets the studio has ensured people that love the game would have plenty of things to do when they take control of Agent 47. It is hard to say if this news will change the release schedule of future content, but IO Interactive only recently released their schedule for May content. Hitman originally launched on the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with the Paris level in March 2016. IO-Interactive released an additional seven levels from that point, building a robust and full featured experience.