2016’s Hitman for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One was an episodic affair that took awhile to find its bearings. But it appears that it did not do well enough for its publisher, Square Enix to continue owning IO Interactive — the studio responsible for it.
In a statement released by Square Enix, it seems that the publisher is calling time on its relationship with the Danish studio and is looking for a buyer.
“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,” Square Enix’s statement reads, adding that this “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. “
Now, Square Enix is on the look out for new investors and is in negotiations to secure this. At the moment, things are unclear for IO — which was also responsible for Kane and Lynch as well as Mini Ninjas. Thought it does imply that Square Enix is looking to sell the studio. This could mean the end of the Hitman series altogether. Considering that a second season was teased and that it’s transition from a fully-fledged AAA single-player experience to an online-dependent episodic affair was perceived to be successful, this is a strange twist.
But with previous entry Hitman Absolution selling around three million units on Steam (along with shipping 3.6 million in the first few months) and 2016’s Hitman having sold close to 6,30,000 units on Steam, it doesn’t seem to have gotten remotely close to its predecessor. A telling concern, more so when you include Square Enix’s overambitious projections in the past such as that for 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot.
This comes on the same day Square Enix announced record profits across the company and while it has been mum on what to exactly expect, IO Interactive took to Twitter to respond to queries from fans and the media alike.
“There's a lot going on right now and we'll have more to say at a later point. For now, back to making games,” tweeted IO Interactive.