After almost ten years, Square Enix has decided to “withdraw from the business of IO Interactive”. Despite Square reporting record sales and profits for the past fiscal year, it seems that they still have to let go of the subsidiary they acquired almost ten years ago. The future of both the studio and the Hitman franchise remain unknown.
Way back in 2009, Square Enix bought Eidos Interactive. IO Interactive, the Danish studio behind the Hitman series, was at the time a subsidiary of Eidos. Since 2009, Square Enix had been the parent company of IO. However, the time has come for the two companies to go their separate ways.
This decision comes as a bit of a surprise to many. Square Enix announced that, in the past fiscal year, the whole company experienced record profits and sales. Despite this, they’ve “regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive”, in order to “maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward”.
The potential reason behind this move by Square is pretty simple. IO Interactive has two major franchises: Kane & Lynch and Hitman. Neither franchise has had the best of times lately; not even the seasonal model of the latest Hitman managed to make a substantial difference. That’s just speculation, though.
The statement then continues to say:
As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.
The statement seems to suggest that Square will sell the studio. Whether that ends up being true or not, this move essentially leaves IO Interactive out in the cold, as well as the Hitman franchise. We’ll just have to wait and see what the future will bring.