The good news is that IO Interactive is hard at work on a new “triple-A” Hitman game. The bad news? The Square Enix-owned Denmark studio just laid off half its staff and cancelled all its other projects. Hitman is all the team working on.
“We are making significant changes at IO Interactive as we align our business against a changing and challenging market,” according to a statement published by Develop. “The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new triple-A Hitman project. However, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today’s market.”
What the studio was working on besides the new Hitman remains a mystery. IO developed Kane and Lynch, Freedom Fighters, and Mini Ninjas games in the past; its in-progress titles could have been further entries in those franchises or something else entirely. We’ll likely never know now, at least not until someone leaks out pre-production materials.
Square Enix says it is relocating staff to other studios “where it’s possible,” with former production director Hannes Seifert now in charge of IO. “Meanwhile, if you are part of a company that is looking for additional development talent, please contact us directly at email@example.com,” the statement says. Square Enix expressed gratitude and well wishes to those who are affected by these layoffs, and we’d like to echo that sentiment here.