Square Enix has announced it plans to divest ownership of Hitman developer, IO Interactive. The Danish based studio, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix, saw the withdrawal of the publisher starting on the 31st March 2017.
In Square Enix’s financial report for the year, they reported an “extraordinary” $42 million loss. The loss isn’t attributed to the performance of the developer, rather they were just one way for the Japanese publisher to recover from the losses.
In a statement, they wrote
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], 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.
Square Enix has confirmed it is in discussions with potential buyers, stating
Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole.
The decision to divest from the developer also meant the development of ongoing projects would cease, including additional Hitman content. The episodic title has been well received and the frequent release of new content has meant players keep returning. In August of 2016, IO Interactive confirmed they had plans for another two seasons of content for the game.
On the Square Enix news, IO Interactive Tweeted that while there is uncertainty, they will continue making games until more is known.
@NEOkeitaro Thanks for tweeting us. There's a lot going on right now and we'll have more to say at a later point. For now, back to making games.
— Io-Interactive (@IOInteractive) May 11, 2017
Hitman is available now for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.