Square Enix announced a couple of weeks ago that it was withdrawing its investment in IO Interactive. This meant that the developer of the popular Hitman series was without a home. Square Enix didn’t rule out the possibility of selling the studio but it has gone a different way, for now. IO Interactive has announced that it has reached an agreement with Square Enix and is once again an independent studio. Moreover, it has retained the rights to the long-running Hitman franchise.
This was confirmed by Hakan Abrak, the studio head at IO Interactive, on the studio’s website.
“I am proud to announce today that IOI is now officially an independent studio,” he wrote, adding that negotiations with Square Enix have been concluded and that the company has agreed to a management buyout. “Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP,” he confirmed.
This deal means that IO Interactive now has complete control over its direction for the studio and the Hitman franchise. “We’re about to forge our own future and it’s incredibly exciting,” he adds.
IO Interactive started out as an independent studio before its affiliation with Square Enix and it’s back to those roots once again. Square Enix had purchased IO Interactive back in 2009.
Previous reports have suggested that work on IO Interactive’s Hitman Season Two is at the halfway point and that it would be released either in late 2017 or early 2018, however, this hasn’t been confirmed by the studio just yet.