The fate of Hitman studio Io Interactive remains up in the air, but it appears that Hitman itself will live on. In its financial results briefing document released last week, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda said the company is taking steps to ensure that the series carries on regardless of Io's future.
"Our decision to withdraw from the Io Interactive A/S business was the result of a review of our portfolio that we conducted as part of our effort to concentrate our resources in order to strengthen our development capabilities," Matsuda said. "Because the firm is engaged in the development of Hitman and other renowned titles, we are negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring that these titles carry on."
In a follow-up Q&A, via GameSpot, he explained the decision to withdraw from Io Interactive further by saying, "Given the nature of the competitive landscape in the western markets as well as other considerations, we decided we needed to concentrate our development resources. The decision to withdraw from that business was the result of a review of our Group's allocation of both financial and human resources."
To my reading, that could mean Square Enix is planning on continuing to develop Hitman in-house, or that, as was rumored earlier this month, it's willing to let the rights to the series go with Io Interactive. Either way, the important point is that it's another sign of Square Enix's willingness to keep Hitman going, rather than letting it slide into dormancy. As for the other "renowned titles" that Io is, was, or might be working on, that's trickier: Its non-Hitman games include the very-decent-but-dated Freedom Fighters, and Kane & Lynch, neither of which really warrant the description. There was also a brief blip of a new project in February, but the job listing that mentioned it was quickly taken down and nothing has been heard about it since.