IO Interactive announces independence, retains Hitman rights
IO Interactive has stepped out of the shadows following the announcement that former corporate overlord Square Enix was to sell the company, confirming that it has now become an independent entity once more and that it has retained the rights to the Hitman franchise.
Square Enix announced a desire to sell off IO Interactive as part of a financial filing published back in May, dating its decision back to the end of March. Far from turning a profit, Square Enix confirmed that it was to take a near-5,000 million Yen loss (around £33.5 million) as a result of the divestiture which was believed to be due to ever-decreasing revenues for IO Interactive’s flagship Hitman franchise, the future of which was left up in the air when Square Enix failed to clarify whether the rights were leaving with IO Interactive or staying within the former parent company.
Now, IO Interactive chief executive Hakan Abrak has clarified his company’s status in a blog post: ‘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,‘ Abrak explained. ‘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.‘
Financial terms of the management buyout have not been publicly disclosed.