IO Interactive Goes Independent And Keeps Hitman Franchise

This past May, Square Enix announced it was parting ways with IO Interactive. Today, that studio says it's now officially independent and will keep the rights to the Hitman series.

[Image: IO Interactive]

Below is a statement from IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak:

In its 19 years of history, Io-Interactive has brought you original and exciting entertainment; from Mini Ninjas and Freedom Fighters to gaming's most notorious criminals Kane & Lynch and of course our beloved Agent 47. With our latest game, we have not only transformed Hitman, but also moved our entire studio into the AAA digital era. Our live product has disrupted the video game business and has received recognition and praise from press, community and our fans.

There are many tales of hope, dreams, hardship and joy within these walls. We have never strived for the expected or predictable. Instead, we are always in pursuit for what feels original and real. Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell.

Therefore I am proud to announce today that IOI is now officially an independent studio. We have successfully concluded our negotiations with Square Enix and have agreed to a management buyout. Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP.

This is a watershed moment for IOI. 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.

I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks. I would also like to thank Square Enix; 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. IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team.

We are counting on the continued support of all our players; simply by having fun with everything we've released so far for HITMAN — and we want to encourage more of you to try our game. We have more details to come on our plans for that next week.

Thank you.




    Congrats to them. Heartily enjoy and loved the Hitman rollout method. Well done.

    Never would have thought it possible to escape a merger with a huge publisher instead of just being shut down. Huh.

    Good on 'em.

      I don't understand why it doesn't happen more often. I mean, at least this way Square get SOMETHING out of it, compared to just shutting it down in which case they get nothing (and potentially even costs them money if there are redundancies or other types of severance to be paid out).

      Meanwhile, IO stays mostly intact, most people probably keep their jobs (although they already laid some off while looking for a buyer) and they can keep making a game that a lot of people seem to love.

      Seems like a win-win to me. Should happen more often rather than just shutting dev studios down.

        Obviously depends on the studio though and how tied in they are to the parent company. IO might be the outlier in that they have kept separate enough to be able to afford the management buyout and stay relatively stable. Remember that if IO become independant, they need to either do their own publishing or outsource to another company, whereby before they would rely on square to do this part of the job for them. So it's not just the initial capital outlay, but it's also effectively moving out of your parent's house. All power to them and any others who try and can succeed in doing this, but it doesnt mean this is a good move for other developers.

        I can understand a number of developers not being able to do this as they rely so heavily on their parent company. Especially small team developers who concentrate their workforce into the development and dont really take part in publishing/marketing/distribution etc.

    This is great news for the team, and i wish all the luck.

    Great news. I will be supporting them going forward as I really enjoyed the latest Hitman. It also now gives them some license to do things that may not have eventuated under the Square enix banner...

    Great news. Hopefully this gives them more creative freedom since they dont have a publisher breathing down their necks.

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