It looks like IO Interactive has managed to land safely on its feet following the studio’s split from Square Enix. Today, IO announced that it was now an independant studio and on top of that, the company will “keep all of the rights” to the Hitman franchise, meaning work on the next Hitman game can continue.
IO Interactive had previously confirmed that it was seeking investors but there was still the possibility that a publisher would swoop in and acquire the studio. Rather than doing that, IO will now be going forward as an indie studio.
Writing about the move over on IO’s website, CEO Hakan Abrak said: “Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell. Therefore 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.”
Abrak described this as “a watershed moment” for the studio, before expressing excitement over having complete control of the Hitman IP and its future. However, while IO is independant now, the company is “open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners”.
KitGuru Says: Square Enix dropping IO Interactive was a surprising move but fortunately, the studio will be able to keep going. I do wonder if Sony or Microsoft will swoop in at some point though with some form of timed exclusivity deal for the next Hitman console launch.