In a statement that was issued to investors, Square Enix disclosed that it had been hit by an extraordinary $42 million loss in the financial year that ended on March 31, 2017. This had forced the games publisher to undertake a reorganization strategy. Unfortunately, pursuing this strategy would mean that the company would have concentrate its resources on key studios and franchises.
“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, the company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of [IO Interactive],” said the statement from Square Enix.
The decision by Square Enix now puts future releases of Hitman episodes in jeopardy since production of current projects was effectively ceased by the move to divest. The Japanese games publisher has, however, communicated that it is in talks with investors who might want to acquire IO Interactive. But Square Enix has, however, said it cannot offer guarantees that the IO Interactive negotiations would turn out successfully though a positive outcome would be preferable for the industry, studio and shareholders.
In the event that an investor willing to put money in IO Interactive is not found, it could mean that the Danish studio could be closed. There are also a lot of uncertainties surrounding a possible acquisition of IO Interactive since it is not clear whether the intellectual properties developed by the studio are also up for sale alongside the company.
Future of Hitman
Last year in August, IO Interactive disclosed its plans to release two additional seasons of Hitman. But if the developer and the intellectual property end up with different owners, it could mean the end of Hitman. But amidst the uncertainty, IO Interactive has not veered from its mission of developing games. Recently, the Danish firm underwent a rebranding exercise besides also moving to new premises in Copenhagen.
Besides Hitman some of the other games that have been developed by Square Enix include Mini Ninjas, an action-adventure game, and a series known as Kane & Lynch. Square Enix, on the other hand, is famous for such big titles as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy XV.