Hitman Dev Goes Fully Independent, Keeps Rights To The Series

IO Interacrive says it had a successful negotiation with Square Enix.

108 Comments

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Square Enix has completed the sale of Hitman developer IO Interactive. The developer said in a statement today that it is now fully independent after "successfully conclud[ing] negotiations with Square Enix." IO said it agreed to a "management buyout," and importantly, the developer retains the rights to the Hitman franchise, which is good news indeed.

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The full statement from IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak follows below. While we now know IO will get to keep the Hitman series, it remains to be seen what the studio plans for franchise going forward; it previously talked about three seasons' worth of content.

In May, Square Enix declared its intention to sell off IO Interactive, an announcement that was followed by news of layoffs at the studio. However, that didn't stop the studio from continuing to work on new content for Hitman.

IO Interactive Statement:

"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,"

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jyml8582

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Edited By jyml8582

Good news indeed. Now with proper financial management IOI could go a long way making great games.

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Ramadacuss

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Edited By Ramadacuss

I want freedom fighters 2 love the game would make me a instant buyer

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XenomorphAlien

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It's great to hear. Hitman and IO survive and are away from SE's horrible treatment. At this point all European developers working for Square should go independent as well, seeing how Square always treats them like shit while giving their Japanese developers all the attention.

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wreckrob

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congrats!

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quinnd6

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Going episodic is what killed Hitman's sales.

They're better off away from Square Enix.

Square Enix want to make Final Fantasy VII remake episodic for goodness sake.

What a crap idea.

No one wants to get a game piecemeal.

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ello432

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Good for IOI. I dont think SE Europe has a clue what its doing outside of testing various DLC, Microtransaction and Season Pass scam on consumers and the games and studios under that branch of SE have defiantly suffered from these practices. All the best to IOI, I just hope they don't take SE Europe attitude towards the consumers with them

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ECH71

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Makes no difference to me. They can go DRM-free if they wanted, but at the end of the day Square Enix killed the series with Denuvo. All it takes is one title in a series to be laced with it to kill the series for me.

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lorddaggeroff

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Everyone here depresses me after saying that, few thank goodness your all not American.

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wreckrob

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@lorddaggeroff: what does being american have to do with your delicate sensibilities?

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lorddaggeroff

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@wreckrob: Nothing was just waiting for you to reply.

So hows your day? .

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wreckrob

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@lorddaggeroff: not too bad gonna go grab a coffee,how about yourself?

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lorddaggeroff

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@wreckrob: Your posts are delayed.

Oh me, not a coffee drinker but i do like tea, peach tea. Coffees okay but makes you ewwie.

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Xevac

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Good. Now give out Season 2 in one big pack at start and not episodic, and i will buy it at day one instead of a year after release

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darkbuster_exe

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Glad they didn't have to go through a drawn out battle for control of their IP, though whether this is a good thing is still up in the air. If it were 10-15 years ago, I wouldn't be so worried, but game development can get expensive these days; it's going to be tricky to continue AAA style games, without someone to pick up some of the tab.

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electronic_eye

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Wow. Great news indeed. And a very heartfelt, well written message by their studio head.

I love Hitman but am personally a much bigger Kane & Lynch fan. Here's to hoping they can finally make the sequal for that series it totally needs now that they have complete control over their goods.

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deactivated-5a803cda1fb41

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Maybe we'll finally see a good Hitman game again now.

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PlatinumPaladin

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Reading the title of this article I thought it was a good thing, but reading on and seeing that Square were looking to sell them off anyway takes the shine off the apple. I've tried to get into the Hitman games but I found them frustrating, which is a shame.

Well done to them for taking hold of this opportunity, and I sincerely hope it pays off, as I feel they've had a noticeable impact on the industry.

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uncle5555

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Very happy to hear this, it could have went so wrong and lots of talented people left without jobs and their life's work all for naught.

I'm glad to hear SE was willing to allow them to buy themselves free of corporate structure and let them loose to be on their way instead of slashing and writing them off as a corporate loss which is too often the case with larger companies (EA, MS, Sony, etc.) shuttering smaller studios because they aren't as profitable as they'd like them to be.

I've enjoyed many IOI games over the years and hope to do so in the future as well, cheers to them and I wish them the best.

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PSYCHOV3N0M

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Edited By PSYCHOV3N0M

*reads the headline*

"IO Interacrive says it had a successful negotiation with Square Enix."

Interacrive??? (o__O)

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lilhurk1985187

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Edited By lilhurk1985187

@PSYCHOV3N0M: No big deal.

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Prats1993

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Good, just don't go to Kickstarter.

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DudeBroPartyYo

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Edited By DudeBroPartyYo

@Prats1993: They could because their games, well Hitman at least have good reputation. Or at least do an early access if they decide not to do episodic content. But thats only in case of not being able to secure all the required funding\partners of course.

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BarcaAzul

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Wasn't expecting that.

All the best to them though and hope they can continue to make season two with the same quality.

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CieloPerso

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That's great! Long-time fan of Hitman. Congratulations to IO!

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SuperKlyph

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Congratulations to them.

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EdwardNygma

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Glad the series is still going. Hopefully they go back to making a full game rather than "episodic" content.

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Royalyoshi

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Edited By Royalyoshi

Hope they hire jesper kyd for the next game that would be awesome his music on the first 4 games were awesome

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Devil_wings00

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Good SE has royally bungled this franchise with it's horrible business BS.

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Daian

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This is good news but still bummed that some of the staff lost their jobs and have to hear about the good fortune of the people still there from the press, probably wishing they were still there.

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PlatinumPaladin

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@Daian: They haven't necessarily been left to hear about this from the press; if they were a close team they've probably kept in touch. Besides, this announcement might mean that long-term some may get their jobs back.

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Chizaqui

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Edited By Chizaqui

This is pretty awesome, I think. Except Gamespot needs to fix the headline.

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RevanxKnight

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@Chizaqui: What is there to fix?

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Blackened_Halo

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No go to kickstarter to gain money to make the best Hitman ever - Blood Money 2

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Torturedone

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I really really hope this works out for them!

Thats really awesome but has to be somewhat terrifying for the new owners too. Good luck IO-

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kweeni

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Good news. I like the Hitman franchise so I wish them the best.

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meedokicky

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Edited By meedokicky

Great! Glad they get to keep Hitman :) Best of luck!

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cdragon_88

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Edited By cdragon_88

I guess it's about time I bought Hitman then.

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BDRTFM

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Edited By BDRTFM  Online

I smell hostile takeover mwahaha. Good developers must be assimilated.

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PlatinumPaladin

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@bdrtfm: Unfortunately there have been more than a few that were inexplicably closed.

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LeonSK0006

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Edited By LeonSK0006

I hope they put their shit together, Make a new decent game and become like CDPR, you know, fully independent and do whatever the ef that pleases them

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BigGamerDude

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@LeonSK0006: HITMAN 2016 was really good

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Mogan

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Mogan  Moderator

@LeonSK0006: Well, they got the first part down.

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preacher001

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Hopefully they can afford to skip getting a publisher. I would love to see where game could go on pure dev driven enthusiasm.

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BDRTFM

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BDRTFM  Online

@preacher001: Into debt.

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preacher001

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@bdrtfm: Your reply makes me sad.

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BDRTFM

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BDRTFM  Online

@preacher001: Hey man, it's just a joke. Although most Indie devs take on debt during a games production then when the game is finished, they layoff all the temp help and recoup the costs. That's why so many devs get stuck with dealing with publishers. Publishers take the risk but in return demand a lot of control over the game.

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preacher001

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@bdrtfm: I know and it still makes me sad. Imagine how good Destiny could have been without Activision.

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shezmen

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That's awesome news! ^^

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James_xeno

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Wow.. This is the very best news that could have come out of this.