Last month, Square Enix announced that they would be selling IO Interactive, developers of the first season of Hitman, released in March of 2016. Since then, there’s been a lot of speculation about what the fate of the developer would be, as well as the fate of the long-running franchise that tells the story of Agent 47. Now we have an answer.
On Friday, IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak announced that the company completed negotiations with Square Enix and agreed to a management buyout. The result is that IO Interactive is now completely independent with full control over their studio. As part of the agreement, the company was able to retain full rights to the Hitman IP. Keeping the rights to Hitman is a big victory for the company, as it is easily their most valuable IP.
In the statement released on the company’s site, Abrak said “…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.”
While nothing official was said in the statement, it’s been rumored that a second season of Hitman is already in the works and could already be as far as about halfway done. If those rumors are true, we could see the future of Agent 47 and the first fully independent game from the company since they were purchased by Eidos Interactive in 2004.
The last month was interesting for gamers, as no one knew who would buy IO Interactive or where the company’s IP would wind up. It’s great to see that what could have been a sad day for gaming instead wound up being the spark of a bright future for a deserving studio.