Square Enix to Sell Hitman Developer IO Interactive

Square Enix plans to sell IO Interactive, the Danish developer of the Hitman series, and has booked an extraordinary loss of $43 million with respect to the developer it acquired in 2009.

In a statement to investors, Square Enix stated that it plans to focus its “resources and energies on key franchises and studios,” which might be a reference to its recently announced multi-game Marvel project and the unconfirmed sequel to Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Square Enix said it is already in negotiations with potential purchasers for IO Interactive. The Japanese publisher has already taken a loss in its accounts, which suggests that the developer will be shut down if no purchaser can be found. It is not known at this stage whether any sale of IO Interactive or its assets would include the intellectual property for franchises such as Hitman and Kane & Lynch.

Last year’s Hitman consisted of six episodes, with a new episode released roughly every six weeks from March 2016 through October 2016. The episodes were initially only available for digital purchase, however the complete season was released physically in January 2017.

Square Enix never released sales figures for either the separate episodes or the complete season package, however Hitman was well received by critics. Launch issues such as an always-online requirement for the single player game may have tarnished Hitman’s reputation in the eyes of consumers and led to lower than expected sales.

On May 5, IO Interactive announced the latest batch of free content for the game in the form of “elusive targets” and “featured contracts.” The developer has not confirmed whether the monthly content updates will continue following Square Enix’s announcement.

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