IO Interactive is Now an Independent Studio with the Hitman IP

IO Interactive is Now an Independent Studio with the Hitman IP

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IO Interactive has completed a management buyout from Square Enix and is now an independent studio.

Back in early May, news broke that Square Enix was looking to sell off Hitman developer IO Interactive. As time passed, Sqaure said that would be willing to let the rights to Hitman go with the studio, and IO laid off some staff in preparation for whatever might come. But this morning, there's some good news: IO Interactive has announced that it is now an independent studio.

The announcement comes from IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak, who said,

"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."

There's been plenty of speculation as to what was going to happen with the hitman IP, but this is probably the one outcome I hadn't heard bandied about. We've already heard that the developer plans to ditch the episodic model for Hitman, and we'll likely hear more in the near future about its plans for the series going forward.

Here's the full statement from IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak:

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.

There are many tales of hope, dreams, hardship and joy within these walls. We have never strived for the expected or predictable. Instead, we are always in pursuit for what feels original and real. 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.

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.

I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks. I would also like to thank Square Enix; it has been a great family to be a part of and we are proud of what we have achieved together in the last eight years. IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team.

We are counting on the continued support of all our players; simply by having fun with everything we've released so far for HITMAN - and we want to encourage more of you to try our game. We have more details to come on our plans for that next week.

Thank you.

Hakan,

Io-Independent

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Well, that's a relief. It would be awful if they would not get to keep the Hitman rights.

I look forward to buying a Hitman game again one day then.

The next Hitman better be awesome because of this.

... Maybe they'll implement an offline mode now, assuming their contract for this game in particular runs out with the termination. And patch in the alusive targets as well. Then I'd even buy it.

This is great news. Hitman is finally out of corporate clutches. They should launch a Kickstarter!

Adam Jensen:
This is great news. Hitman is finally out of corporate clutches. They should launch a Kickstarter!

Seconded. They have not only a proof of concept, but people ready to see what they can really do with the reins taken off. They would have my money.

Start a kickstarter and take my fucking money pls.

Good for them. And good riddance, Squeenix.

Start a kickstarter and take my fucking money pls.

Sorry nope, Square has done too much damage to the Hitman rep, with Absolution being bad and the last Hitman being deliverd in a horrible fashion and being bland, boring and by the numbers at best.

The game may be out of Squares hands now but the only way it gets cash from me is if the new game releases to good reviews and looks like it is going back to the atmosphere and fun of Blood Money and Contracts.

Overjoyed!

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Laughing Man:

Start a kickstarter and take my fucking money pls.

Sorry nope, Square has done too much damage to the Hitman rep, with Absolution being bad and the last Hitman being deliverd in a horrible fashion and being bland, boring and by the numbers at best.

The game may be out of Squares hands now but the only way it gets cash from me is if the new game releases to good reviews and looks like it is going back to the atmosphere and fun of Blood Money and Contracts.

Part of me is glad to see square letting IO go and let them keep one of their best franchises.
But i am also concerned that IO isn't going to make it on its own, and is going to be bought up by a other publisher again.

If creative freedom was all that IO needed for a successful hitman game, Square could have given them that and still get the sales profit.
This has a "lets cut our losses" feel to it.

Jeroenr:
If creative freedom was all that IO needed for a successful hitman game, Square could have given them that and still get the sales profit.
This has a "lets cut our losses" feel to it.

There's a large difference between a successful game and a 'successful' game. The first means that it sold well enough to cover any/all costs, pay for the company's opportunity cost, and make some profit. The second one is game publisher speak for ensuring corporate shareholders are happy that the profit margin was high rather than just successful.

Also, one only has to take a look at how EA has absorbed various successful developers, forced their corporate practices down the devs' throats, and proceeded to drown the studios in a bathtub when they failed to be 'successful' with all of those new stipulations to know your statement isn't necessarily true.

So IO had enough of Square's blood money and seeks some absolution? Guess they dodged whatever silent assassin was sent their way. Now they need more contracts, and hope there's no enemy within.

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Nothing else to say.

So, as of yesterday the prologue Mission's (tutorial) are free to play on steam.
As they very well should have been from the start.
But glad to see them actively trying to repair their Brand and IP rep.

 

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