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Square Enix to sell IO, developers of Hitman

Square Enix has announced their intentions to sell development studio IO Interactive, putting the future of the Hitman series in jeopardy. The decision comes as a surprise after the steady popularity of the series' episodically released content over the last year.

Just as Square Enix has announced a year of record sales, so too has it announced its decision to sell Danish studio IO Interactive, developers of everyone's favourite creative assassination game Hitman. The decision can be seen clearly in a note to investors warning of an upcoming extraordinary loss, shown 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.

More worrying still however, is the Square Enix's following statement:

As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.

The future of IO and the continuation of its popular Hitman or Kane and Lynch games seems very much in doubt then, with the developer presumably facing a shutdown if Square Enix fails to find a buyer. Further information about the future of the episodically released Hitman game has not been provided as ownership of the IP is currently unknown.

Despite initially receiving flak for being released in small packages rather than as a full game, the latest Hitman game has been very positively received with monthly additions of engaging content and stands as one of the strongest entries in the much-loved series. How that translates to company profits is unsure, however.

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