Things have been quite messy between Square Enix and the development team at IO Interactive as of late. Earlier this month, the publisher confirmed it was parting ways with the team, and since that time, we've heard conflictive reports on what will happen with the franchise – something that was cast into doubt following the developer's recent layoffs of staff.
So what will become of Agent 47 from hereon in? Well, it appears that Square Enix may have other plans, though that doesn't necessarily mean we'll be seeing Hitman: The Second Season anytime soon.
During a sales briefing earlier this month, Square Enix made note that, following its desire to sell IO Interactive, that it will more than likely keep the Hitman franchise. In fact, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda noted that the company is currently "negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring that these titles carry on."
So either an outer developer will be taking over the franchise, or someone else could be buying it entirely. That doesn't entirely leave IO Interactive out of the picture, as it could purchase the rights and continue to make games. However, considering its current financial woes with laid-off team members, that may not likely be happening any time soon.
The company still hasn't made note as to how much sales of the Hitman's first season has affected them, since it went with a more episodic approach instead of releasing the full game all at once – a strategy that fans have been crying foul over. (Just look at the complaints that stemmed from what Square Enix planned to do the same thing with its Final Fantasy VII remake.) But it appears that, after so many years in production, the publisher may have just lost faith in the developer and the franchise, looking to move on to greener pastures – namely Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts.
We'll see what happens to the Hitman franchise in the months ahead, but hopefully it'll land in the hands of a publisher that will push it in the right direction – and, hopefully, with the original developers on board.