Square Enix severs ties with Hitman, announcing plans to sell its developer

Leading video game publisher, Square Enix, has announced its plans to sell creator and developer of the Hitman series, IO Interactive. Announced as a part of the company's financial results, this puts the future of both the studio and series in jeopardy.

Initially revealed to investors after booking an "extraordinary loss" of 4,898 million yen (approximately 42.8 million USD) last financial year, Square Enix attributed this loss to parting ways with the developer.

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. This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise, following the recent successes made in the Hitman franchise. Last year's move to an episodic model made for one of the best Hitman games to date, with a strong flow of content and limited time events in the months that followed. IO Interactive has even confirmed a follow-up is currently in the pipeline, in response to the positive reception of the first season of Hitman content.

For now, the future of the Hitman series is somewhat undecided. Square Enix first jumped onto the Hitman series in 2009, following the takeover of series' previous publisher, Eidos Interactive. The publisher has announced it's currently seeking companies willing to invest in the franchise going forward but has no announcements to make at this time. We'll make sure to update this article if the story progresses in the coming days.

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Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.