Hitman Franchise Rights Stay with the Newly Independent Studio IO Interactive

IO Interactive Becomes An Independent Studio

On May 11th, Square Enix announced that they were parting ways with IO Interactive and until now the studios future, as well the future of the Hitman games has hung in the balance. Today however, the Denmark developer IO Interactive has revealed that they are officially an independent studio, and that they have retained all rights to the Hitman titles!

Hitman Elusive Target

IO Interactive has worked on the Hitman franchise since 2000 when it released Hitman: Codename 47, and has since made a total of 6 games, including the most recent Hitman title. They began their partnership with Square Enix in 2009, but last month Square Enix stated that they wanted to focus on key franchises and studios, which obviously doesn’t include Hitman or IO Interactive.

With that said, IO Interactive and Square Enix have come to an agreement where IO Interactive will pay a management buyout and retain their rights to the Hitman franchise. And as if the news of Hitman staying alive wasn’t enough, we can expect an announcement to be made sometime next week about the future of the franchise!

IO Interactive hitman

Hakan Abrak, the IO Interactive CEO,  released the following statement alongside the announcement:

“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.”

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and keep it locked for next week’s announcement!