Despite the first season of the latest Hitman game performing well apparently, it has not met Square Enix goals. According to the publisher, a recent report claims that the company has suffered an “extraordinary loss,” and as a result, they are intending on parting ways with developer IO Interactive.
According to Square Enix, they noted that they were “withdrawing” from the Danish-based studio. However, they will not close the studio. Instead, they are currently conversing with potential new investors to keep the developer alive.
Regardless, the Square Enix has not fully elaborated on how much Hitman: The Complete First Season underperformed. In the statement, they noted the following:
“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. As a result, [Square Enix] has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive A/S, a wholly‐owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017.
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.
As a result of this [Square Enix] started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment. 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.”
When you factor in that they reportedly lost a substantial amount of yen (around $43 million) you started to brainstorm what went wrong with the game. Though a niche group of people appears to enjoy the episodic format, it might not be the best decision business wise for the publisher.
Though there is no word yet on whether Hitman will receive a second season, based on recent revelations the probability of a second season is unlikely. In addition to their work on Hitman, IO Interactive has also worked on two entries from the Kane & Lynch series as well.
Currently, Square Enix has yet to announce who will potentially pick up the company. However, it is clear that the long-running partnership between IO and Square has officially dissolved.
Hopefully, IO Interactive can survive the hit.