In a shocking turn of events, Square Enix will sell off Hitman creator IO Interactive, which could see the studio possibly close for good if a buyer isn’t found.
The news emerged after Square Enix released its financial report for the fiscal year 2017 ended March 31st, with the brief statement below:
“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.”
The publisher would go on to cite the “extraordinary loss” of 4,898 million yen as one of the primary reasons behind the decision to split from the Hitman creator.
It appears the ball is already moving quickly on this one with Square Enix having already begun discussions with potential new investors but that it can’t guarantee negotiations will be concluded successfully, a comment that worrying leaves IO Interactive’s future in serious doubt.
Furthermore, quite what this means for the Hitman IP is completely unclear. What is clear though, is that the episodic release of Hitman despite receiving positive reviews, ultimately failed to reach the sales figures expected by some margin, leaving Season 2 all but finished before it even begins.
Square Enix purchased IO Interactive back in 2009 when it bought Eidos Interactive who owned IO at that time. After the disappointment of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the publisher turned most of its attentions to a series of games based in Marvel’s superhero universe with Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal currently developing an Avengers game.