Square Enix could shutter IO Interactive, future of Hitman franchise in doubt

IO Interactive lays off staff as Square Enix moves to sell or shutter studio

io interactive independent keeps hitman rights featured
Though IO Interactive’s episodic Hitman reboot was lauded by players for its creativity and was, at least according to the studio, commercially successful, publisher and IO Interactive parent company Square Enix appears to have been dissatisfied with the game’s performance. Square Enix announced plans on May 11 to “withdraw from business” with IO Interactive, leaving the future of the Hitman series and a potential second season of the current game up in the air.

In the announcement, Square Enix said it plans to focus its resources on “key franchises and studios,” of which it apparently doesn’t consider Hitman to be one. Other Square Enix-owned franchises include Tomb Raider from Crystal Dynamics, Deus Ex from Eidos Montreal, and the long-running Final Fantasy series. The publisher also recently released NieR: Automata, developed by acclaimed action studio PlatinumGames.

“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,” Square Enix said in the announcement. Converted to dollars, the loss stands at about $43 million. The publisher’s financial results have otherwise been quite impressive, with record-high net sales and operating income during the same fiscal year due to the success of its other AAA franchises and growth in digital sales.

IO Interactive announced via a Twitter post on May 23 that it had laid off some of its staff, adding that the studio is “doing everything possible to look after everyone affected” and that the change “will allow [it] to be better equipped for [its] future adventures.”

IO Interactive isn’t defunct yet, as Square Enix plans to attract “potential new investors” for the studio, but it’s unclear exactly what this means for the future of Hitman. The game’s physical version was released earlier this year as the “first season” and updates have continued to roll out since the first episode launched in 2016. IO has worked on a number of different projects in the past, as well, including the Kane & Lynch series and cult-hit shooter Freedom Fighters.

Updated on 5-23-2017 by Gabe Gurwin: Updated with announcement of layoffs at the studio

Movies & TV

Disney completes its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox

Now that Walt Disney Company has closed its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's movie and television assets, what does this future hold for franchises like X-Men, the Fantastic Four, The Simpsons, and the rest?
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

Stranger Things season 3 is coming! Here’s everything we know so far

With a sophomore season as strong as its first, Stranger Things is now moving on to season 3. Here's everything we've learned so far about the Netflix series' upcoming third season, premiering in July 2019.
Gaming

Sony to launch State of Play videos for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR

Sony will debut a new video program named State of Play on March 25. The first episode will focus on new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games, and it remains to be seen if Sony will tease the PlayStation 5.
Gaming

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild bug lets Link ignore temperature effects

A newly discovered bug in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of Wild allows players to max out both hearts and stamina. The glitch also disables temperature effects such as the heat of Death Mountain and the cold of Hebra.
Gaming

Report: Nintendo will release two new Switch models in 2019

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo will unveil two new Switch models at E3 and release them this year. One of the models will target hardcore gamers, while the other will be budget friendly.
Gaming

Twitch streamer somehow beats Bloodborne, all the souls games without getting hit

A Twitch streamer named The Happy Hob has managed to play through all Dark Souls games, Demon's Souls, and Bloodborne in a row without getting hit a single time. He has been attempting the feat for months.
Gaming

Here are the best items a Shinobi should buy in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is a brutally challenging game that requires persistent focus and a lot close calls with death. You can make things a bit easier on yourself with by purchasing important items from vendors.
Gaming

Here’s everything you need to know about MLB The Show 19

MLB The Show 19 launches on PlayStation 4 on March 26. If you're interested in finding out what's new in the latest iteration of the annual baseball sim, we've got all the details, from new gameplay mechanics to Road to the Show changes.
Gaming

Newegg slashes prices on PS4 accessories and AAA games like Anthem

Newegg is currently offering big savings on a number of games for PS4 and Xbox One, including Anthem, Metro Exodus, The Division 2, and Kingdom Hearts 3. Accessories including headsets are also on sale.
Gaming

Apple Arcade might be the new game subscription service worth signing up for

Apple Arcade will launch this fall bringing a new game-subscription service with cross-platform support for iOS, Mac, and Apple TV. At launch, the service will feature more than 100 exclusive games, with more added to the service regularly.
Gaming

Fortnite World Cup kicks off April 13 with $1 million in weekly prizes

The Fortnite World Cup kicks off on April 13 with the start of Online Opens for solo play. $1 million in weekly prizes will be awarded during the Online Open Finals, so get practicing!
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC