Months ago we had to report some dreadful news. Square Enix was done with IO Interactive, and was attempting to sell off the studio. This, right after the first season of the best Hitman game ever developed wrapped up and we were eagerly awaiting news of additional seasons. Would we ever seen Hitman again? Would we have to suffer from an anemic version of Hitman from a different Square Enix studio who has no history with the franchise? Today, IO Interactive put all of those fears to rest with the best news possible.
They've gone indie, and they fully own their studio. What's more, following the split with Square Enix, they've retained the rights to Hitman. They released a full statement on their website this morning, minutes ago in fact, and we're delighted share a few excerpts from their statement with you right here:
"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.
"...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."
The message concludes with a heartfelt thanks to all of IO's fans and partners who have supported them over these weeks of uncertainty. It also mentioned that, next week, we'll get to hear more about the future of Hitman, and we're just so excited to see what IO has up its sleeves. The note was signed "IO-Independent," and with no shortage of pride, as assume.
Congratulations to everyone at IO, and we can't wait to hear more about the future of Hitman.