There is still hope that the Hitman franchise will continue, despite Square Enix’s decision to divest ownership of series developer IO Interactive.
Fans of Hitman and Agent 47 were concerned about the future of the franchise after it was reported earlier this month that Square Enix was dropping IO Interactive. However, a statement by the president of Square Enix revealed that Hitman has not been written off just yet.
Questions On The Future Of ‘Hitman’
Square Enix booked an extraordinary loss for the fiscal year that ended March 31, pushing the company to rethink its strategy. It will not focus on key studios and franchises to increase player satisfaction and to maximize market potential.
IO Interactive is apparently not one of these key studios, as Square Enix decided to let go of the developer despite the move translating to a hefty loss of about $43 million.
The breakup between Square Enix and IO Interactive worried fans of the Hitman series, which shifted into an episodic game last year. With Square Enix dropping IO Interactive, gamers were concerned that the next episode for the assassination game will never see the light of day.
‘Hitman’ May Live On
Hitman fans, however, may have found new hope that the tale of Agent 47 does not end here. According to an English transcript of the company’s post-earnings results briefing, Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda said that the company remains to be engaged with Hitman, which means that there are no plans to place the series on an indefinite hiatus after the separation with IO Interactive.
Matsuda added that Square Enix is already negotiating with potential external investors who will take over the development from IO Interactive. IO Interactive was also the developer for the Kane & Lynch series and a new IP, and Square Enix is also in talks with investors for the continuation of the work on these projects.
It is currently unclear whether Square Enix will sell the rights of Hitman and IO Interactive to another company, or if it will license out the Hitman IP to a developer which can continue the series. Nevertheless, the stance of Square Enix should provide players hope that the franchise will live on.
IO Interactive has suffered from a string of layoffs ever since Square Enix announced that it will be dropping the studio. There is no word yet on prospective buyers for IO Interactive, but given its current financial woes, it will likely not buy Hitman‘s rights from Square Enix unless another company comes in to save the day.
Square Enix News
Square Enix has seen its fair share of the spotlight recently, though mostly due to the massive interest in another franchise.
Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age game director Takashi Katano recently hinted that Square Enix is open to create more remakes, rather than remasters, of games from the PlayStation 1 era. This opens up the possibility that the company will create a Final Fantasy VIII Remake after the highly anticipated Final Fantasy VII Remake.
The release date of the Final Fantasy VII Remake, however, may not be any time soon, with Matsuda saying that the game, along with Kingdom Hearts 3, will be released “in the next three years or so.”