After the legal wrangling revolving around IO-Interactive and Square Enix, the matter has finally been resolved.
According to a blog post by IO-Interactive's CEO, Hakan Abrak, the studio has finished its negotiations with Square Enix and is now fully independent.
What's more, the fate of the Hitman IP is no longer in question, as the rights to the game will stay with IO for the future. "I am proud to announce today that IOI is now officially an independent studio," stated Abrak. "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."
Square Enix had decided to let go of IO-Interactive as a subsidiary due to the poor results of the fiscal year 2016 for the company. The future of Hitman has been uncertain since the news broke, where Square Enix President and Representative Director Yosuke Matsuda stated that they were negotiating for the continuation of the series. IO Interactive had two further seasons for the episodic version of Hitman planned with Square Enix.
IO-Interactive was founded in Denmark in 1990, under the company name ASX Nr. 14.811 ApS. While the Hitman game is their flagship franchise, other famous titles include Freedom Fighters, Mini Ninjas and the Kane & Lynch series.
This is the first time since 2003 the studio has been an independent developer. The studio was a subsidiary of Eidos starting that year, while Eidos was subsequently purchased by Square Enix in 2009. Between 2009-2017, IO-Interactive became one of the major Western subsidiaries for the company, along with Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Montreal.
The future of Hitman under IO-Interactive is anyone's guess at this point, but Abrak is optimistic for the future of the company. "This is a watershed moment for IOI," stated Abrak. "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. "
What are your thoughts on IO-Interactive? Glad they still control the Hitman franchise? Please leave your comments below.