IO Interactive, the Danish studio behind the Hitman franchise, will continue making Hitman games as an independent studio following Square Enix’s withdrawal from the developer last month.
IO Interactive’s CEO, Hakan Abrak, published a letter on IO’s website to fans of the Hitman franchise, explaining what this means for the franchise. Abrak confirmed that after finishing negotiations with Square Enix, the two companies agreed to a management buyout, allowing the development team to continue working on more Hitman games.
“Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP,” Abrak wrote. “This is a watershed moment for IOI. As of today, we have complete control over the direction for our studio and the Hitman IP — we’re about to forge our own future and it’s incredibly exciting.”
Abrak added that IO Interactive is “now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners” on the Hitman franchise. The CEO also took a moment to thank Sqaure Enix for its continued support over the years, but added it felt great to return to the independent roots IO Interactive started from.
“IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team,” Abrak wrote.
In May, Square Enix confirmed it was parting ways with IO Interactive. In a note published to its website, the publisher said it had to “regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive.” The decision followed a loss of approximately $43 million in costs related to divesting itself of IO Interactive. This included the “disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets.”
IO Interactive said it will have more information on its plans regarding the studio and the Hitman franchise sometime next week.