Despite being received well—in both its episodic and collective forms—the future of IO and Square Enix's reimagined Hitman became uncertain recently, when it emerged the latter planned to sell the former. Rumours then began circulating that implied IO would retain the rights to the series, and that a second season was still on the way. Subsequent layoffs at the developer suggested Agent 47 was doomed, despite the fact the game's publisher was keen to see the bald butcher live on.
Now, IO Interactive has revealed it has officially gone independent and, better still, will "keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP." Describing the move as a "watershed moment" for IO, here's an excerpt from the company's CEO Hakan Abrak as it features on the developer's website:
"Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell. 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.
"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."