The future of the Hitman franchise could be in jeopardy, as Square Enix announced today that they will sell developer IO Interactive.
In a note to investors, the publisher reported an “extraordinary” $42 million USD loss for the financial year ending March 31, 2017. The company attributes this loss to the planned sale of the Danish studio.
"To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios," Square Enix said in the statement. "As a result, the company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of [IO Interactive], 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."
The statement seems to imply that the studio also has had to halt production on more Hitman content. In August last year, IO said they had plans for three seasons.
Square Enix said it has started discussions with potential new investors, although they add that there is no guarantee that negotiations to secure investment will be successful.
“[Negotiations] are being explored since this is in the best interest of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.”
The wording of the document doesn’t provide assurance as to IO’s future. In the event that new investors can’t be secured, it’s likely that the studio will be shut down.
Square Enix picked up IO Interactive after they bought Eidos in 2009. Square Enix’s western wing now manages Eidos’ franchises, including Tomb Raider, Hitman, and Thief. The company recently put a hold on the Deus Ex franchise to shift focus on a multi-game Marvel project, and a new Tomb Raider.