Hitman studio hit by layoffs
[UPDATE] Industry veteran George Broussard claims Io Interactive has suffered staff reductions; Square Enix confirms.
Earlier this week, 3D Realms cofounder and Duke Nukem champion George Broussard tipped off the industry to "seasonal roll-offs" at a handful of gaming publisher Electronic Arts' Canadian studios. Today, Broussard returned to his Twitter account with more industry-insider scuttlebutt, stating Square Enix has enacted layoffs and canceled a project at Danish studio Io Interactive.
"Layoffs at Io Interactive (Kane&Lynch/Hitman). As many as 35, and a project cancelled. - Tis' the season," Broussard said via his Twitter feed. The industry veteran offered no other details on the situation.
[UPDATE] Square Enix has since confirmed for GameSpot that Io has indeed been impacted by staff reductions, though a representative declined to offer specifics surrounding the situation.
"I can confirm that we have made some internal changes at IO Interactive which has regrettably resulted in the loss of some jobs," a Square Enix representative told GameSpot. "This is a natural part of any studio's existence when you ramp-up and ramp-down on projects to ensure you have the right level of resource and expertise within the studio. We genuinely wish those who have been affected by this, the best of luck for the future."
Io is among the many studios that were once the backbone of Eidos, before that publisher was purchased in April 2009 by Japanese gaming giant Square Enix. The studio is perhaps best known for its killer-for-hire franchise Hitman, with other game properties including Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas.
As for the canceled project, the only known, unreleased project in Io's stable is Hitman 5, which was first teased in February 2008. However, whether or not Io is developing this project remains a mystery. In August 2009, British actor Mark Sloan indicated that he had completed voice work for the game, in the process indicating that Batman: Arkham Asylum developer Rocksteady Studios had taken over the project.