Earlier this year, the future of Agent 47 looked rather bleak. Square Enix dropped Io-Interactive, which they’ve owned since 2009. Io-Interactive is the studio behind the Hitman games, as well as the successful Kane and Lynch series and Freedom Fighters. Given that we reported season two of the latest Hitman game was coming, this now seemed in doubt.
However, there is great news. Yesterday, Io-Interactive’s CEO, Hakan Abrak, confirmed that they had found a buyer for the studio…themselves. This means that IO owns the intellectual property rights to their games and, more importantly, can now go in any direction they want.
In a post on Io-Interactive’s site, Abrak had the following to say:
“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.”
As a huge fan of the series, I’m thrilled that Hitman will be able to rise again and don the famous black suit for more murderous outings.