After several months of wondering what exactly will happen to the iconic assassin, IO Interactive have just recently concluded negotiations with Square Enix. While many assumed Hitman would stay with Square Enix, myself included, IO Interactive are officially the full owners of the rights to the Hitman franchise. From this moment forward, IO Interactive is an independent studio.
Looking at the official statement, it seems like relations between Square Enix and IO Interactive are fairly positive, with many lines thanking Square Enix for bringing IO Interactive into the AAA development space. Now, IO Interactive seek to go back to their humble roots for even more creativity and opportunities.
“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.”
What exactly this means for Agent 47 isn’t really clear as there are no announcements yet for a second season to the critically acclaimed Hitman game. However, it is clear that IO Interactive will continue to strive for that vision and fans should definitely keep an eye on what the studio does next.
Honestly, Square Enix owning Hitman was a bit of a strange pairing anyways, especially since the company is most known for its grand RPGs and such. Sure, Tomb Raider is owned by Square Enix and that seems to be going pretty well. Yet, with the niche player base that Hitman caters to, it only makes sense that IO Interactive would shift focus into a position that allows them to appeal to their players and their vision even more.
Personally, I am pleasantly surprised by this news. Corporations usually make things in the gaming world frustrating and hard to understand why companies make such off-the-wall decisions. To be frank, I often feel like I would make a better CEO of some of these companies, just because it seems so damn obvious. I spend a lot of time frustrated with my favorite ones such as Capcom, Nintendo, and even Square Enix, but I digress. I was assured IO Interactive would lose the rights to their flagship, and arguably brilliant, franchise. Yet, I’ve been happily proven wrong and it looks to be a good settlement on both sides.
In the aftermath of E3, which was filled with excitement, new ideas, and new possibilities, news like this gives me hope that there are still amazing things about the AAA gaming world. Of course this is coupled with some ludicrous behavior from Take-Two Interactive and their treatment of mods, but I will not let that sully this excellent moment that deserves to be celebrated. I never got into Hitman, except for a couple games on the PS2 years ago, but with this confusion finally coming to an end, I think I’d like to give the latest entry a try.
Yes, celebration is in order. Good luck IO Interactive in all that comes next and thank you Square Enix for allowing these people to continue making the games they love.
For the full statement from IO Interactive, check out their website.