After working together for over eight years, Square Enix and Hitman developers IO Interactive have parted ways. As a result, Hitman Season 2 is officially in purgatory until it can find itself a new publisher.
Square Enix expounded upon their decision to split with the Danish studio in a statement released on Thursday.
“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/S, 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.”
The two’s relationship originally began when Enix bought the developer’s parent company Eidos Interactive. During their time together they created two mobile (Hitman Sniper, Hitman Go) games and two console versions (Hitman: Absolution, Hitman).
Despite finding critical success for all of these games, their earlier renditions struggled to make much money. In a report done by Digital Trends back in 2013, Square Enix reported a $61 million loss between its two big name releases that year one being Sleeping Dogs and the other Hitman: Absolution.
After moving to an episodic structure with last year’s installment, it would seem the companies hoped to take advantage of the growing trend, but even that failed.
It’s a shame considering the improvements that were made by the end of things, fixing bugs and adding elusive targets to the game, helping Hitman’s replayability considerably. In their statement, Square Enix did say they have opened discussions with potential new investors to take over the series, but that nothing is a guarantee.