Hitman studio IO Interactive is now independent again, after thirteen years of being owned by Eidos then Square Enix, and they’re getting to keep Hitman. The fate of both the Danish studio and their flagship series has been in question since May, when Square Enix announced they were cutting IO loose. While we’d heard that IO might be able to continue Hitman, things looked a bit grim when they laid off some staff shortly after. Now it’s a bit more sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows.
“We have successfully concluded our negotiations with Square Enix and have agreed to a management buyout,” IO CEO Hakan Abrak said in today’s announcement. “Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP.” He calls this “a watershed moment” for the studio.
“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. We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community.”
Abrak thanks players for their support, and thanks Square Enix for the time they had together. “It has been a great family to be a part of and we are proud of what we have achieved together in the last eight years,” he said.
He also drops a cheeky tease that “we want to encourage more of you to try our game” and says a plan is in motion. Demo? Discount? Free chapter? Dunno.
IO still have a lot of work ahead of them, as running an independent studio is no small task — especially when you’re built around big-budget games — but this is great news. After some bumps, the recent episodic Hitman turned out dandy.
I’ve dropped ’em a line asking what will happen with Kane & Lynch because hey, I really dig K&L 2.