The future of the popular Hitman video game franchise seems uncertain for now, as Square Enix just announced that it has dropped developer IO Interactive.
Square Enix broke the news upon announcing that it has booked an “extraordinary loss” in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2017 and as a result, it’s rethinking its strategy going forward.
Square Enix Drops IO Interactive: What Now?
Moving forward, Square Enix notes that it will focus its efforts and resources on key studios and franchises to boost player satisfaction and maximize market potential. Its decision to drop IO Interactive translates to a hefty loss of 4,898 yen ($43 million), the company adds.
News of Square Enix’s breakup with IO Interactive may have Hitman fans worried about the future of the franchise, but it’s not all lost just yet. While the news does cast the series’ future into uncertainty, Square Enix says that it’s in talks with potential new investors that might be interested in the studio.
“[While] 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,” Square Enix explains.
‘Hitman’ Future Uncertain
Hitman became an episodic game back in 2016, designed to break the huge blockbuster into smaller bits of DLC content rather than one major game. The episodic Hitman aimed to serve the game in seven portions and the episodes started hitting the scene back in 2016.
While critics generally appreciated the releases, the odd schedule and the fact that the episodes launched close to other major game releases cast a shadow on Hitman‘s success.
With IO Interactive no longer in bed with Square Enix, it could be a good while before a new Hitman episode becomes available – if it does.
Considering that Square Enix is doing pretty well overall, with its sales and earnings consistently rising year over year, the move to drop IO Interactive might have something to do with Hitman‘s success. One possibility is that Hitman sales were not high enough to convince Square Enix to keep investing in IO Interactive, so dropping the developer seemed like a preferable option.
IO Interactive, for its part, took to Twitter to note that it doesn’t have much to say for now, but will return with more information at a later date. For the time being, the developer is “back to making games.”
Major Game Franchises On Ice
Hitman is not the only major franchise to take a break or face an uncertain future. Square Enix also put the Deux Ex series on ice for now, after Mankind Divided had a disappointing performance. Earlier this week, news also surfaced that BioWare has paused the development of Mass Effect since Mass Effect: Andromeda was poorly received.
Along with Deus Ex and Mass Effect, Hitman is now the third big franchise to take a break, with no mention of how long it will be.
Long story short, Hitman might see a new installment sometime in the future if Square Enix finds an investor, but things don’t look too good for now.