The state of IO Interactive after their highly publicized breakup with longtime publishing partner Square Enix has been the focus of quite a lot of speculation. Most of that centered around the rights to the Hitman franchise. And in a recent blog post, IO have claimed that they hold full rights to publishing the games, and therefore will be able to go ahead and take Hitman out with them on their solo tour.
Specifically, that blog reads, “Therefore 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.“
If that is indeed how the deal went down, well, good for IO. If they didn’t have Hitman, they’d be a studio without a proper IP to their names. And that’s the kind of thing that is very, very dangerous. They’ve recently announced a series of major layoffs after the split with SE, but this news is definitely a positive for the studio.
However, in the most recent shareholders report by Square Enix’s financial department, they indicated that they would be working on future games in the Hitmam franchise. Which seems like an odd promise to make if they weren’t done with the negotiations at the time. Sure, promises made to investors aren’t exactly canonized, but that is the kind of thing we have in writing. Especially when early reports indicated that the IP would remain with IO.
It doesn’t help that the E3 rumor mill picked up on the fact that no one at IO seemed to know the state of Hitman just days ago at the show.
So if IO does indeed have full custody over Agent 47 and the Hitman IP, has anyone bothered to tell Square Enix that?
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