Square Enix and Hitman developer IO Interactive will soon part ways, with the publisher announcing plans to either sell or shutter the studio in the near-future, but the Hitman franchise could still live another day. Square Enix has revealed that it could also sell its rights to Hitman along with IO Interactive to ensure that the series — and its recent reboot — can continue as planned.
“Our decision to withdraw from the IO Interactive business was the result of a review of our portfolio that we conducted as part of our effort to concentrate our resources in order to strengthen our development capabilities,” said Square Enix presient Yosuke Matsuda in a financial briefing. “Because the firm is engaged in the development of Hitman and other renowned titles, we are negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring that these titles carry on.”
This would certainly be the best-case scenario, as it would allow IO to continue working on the second season of Hitman as originally planned, but should Square Enix fail to find a buyer for the studio, history shows us that there is still some hope. Following the liquidation of THQ, Darksiders developer Vigil Games was dissolved and several of its employees went on to form Gunfire Games. The studio then partnered with publisher Nordic Games to create Darksiders III, which was just announced earlier this month.
It would certainly be a shame for the Hitman series to come to an end. The games have helped to shape the stealth-action genre, with the most recent game offering unparalleled creative freedom and an online service structure that allows for continuous content updates. There isn’t another game on the market that lets you assassinate Gary Busey in cold blood.
Hitman is out now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. A complete first season physical set is also available.
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