Square Enix announced during their annual financial report that they will be separating from IO interactive. This came as a bit of a shock, as there were at least two more seasons worth of content being planned for the latest Hitman game, one that has been critically acclaimed, but also criticized for its episodic structure.
The news of the split is shocking. Square Enix bought the Hitman developers in 2009, and IO Interactive released several games under SquareEnix including: Hitman: Absolution, Kane and Lynch, and Hitman (2016), to name a few. The company is reporting a loss of 4,898 million yen, which is likely the main reason for the separation.
“This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen, including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets, in the financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.”
Another questions that is brought to mind is: What does the future hold for the developers? It is also reported that negotiations are under way to who will acquire IO Interactive, but the news is unclear. It is also unclear what will happen to the franchises that have been developed. If anything, Square Enix seems be hoping another company will purchase IO Interactive or at least their intellectual properties.
“Whilst 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.”
Will we get another Hitman or Kane and Lynch? What will happen to the work that may or may not have been partially worked on? At the least, we as players can hope that the franchises will continue–we also hope that there are no lay-offs as result. Our thoughts and good vibes go out to all of those working for IO Interactive. Here’s hoping the change does bring forth better games in the long run. Will Square Enix now reconsider episodic releases as a whole? Where will that leave the Final Fantasy VII Remake?
Hopefully, we’ll have a better idea on where Square Enix is going next when E3 rolls around.
Read the full financial report from Square Enix here: http://www.hd.square-enix.com/eng/news/pdf/17q4release.pdf