Report: Is Square Enix Dropping IO Interactive?

Even though the first season of the newest Hitman game seems to have performed well for the community, it may not have left the greatest financial mark for Square Enix. In fact, the company recently reported an “extraordinary loss”, and, as a result, it’s looking to “separate” its business from the development team at IO Interactive.

It made note that it was “withdrawing” from the Danish-based team. That said, it’s not closing the studio, but instead is talking with potential new investors to keep it alive. But something is definitely up, and it’s strange that the publisher isn’t saying just how below par the performance with Hitman: The Complete First Season was.

In the statement, Square Enix noted the following:

“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, [Square Enix] has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive A/S, a wholly‐owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017.

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.

As a result of this [Square Enix] 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.”

That much yen in a loss (reportedly around $43 million) is a noticeable issue, and you have to wonder where Hitman went wrong. A few gamers seemed to enjoy the episodic format, but it may not have been the most sound business decision for the publisher.

No word yet on who could potentially be picking up the company, but it ends a long-time partnership between the two. IO Interactive not only worked on the Hitman games for the publisher, but also the two Kane & Lynch releases. There's no word yet on whether Hitman will continue into a second season, but it's not looking likely.

Here’s hoping that IO Interactive survives, ahem, the hit.