The future of the Hitman series was put in jeopardy earlier this month when Square Enix announced plans to "withdraw from the business" of developer Io Interactive. The situation seemed to brighten shortly after, when a rumor surfaced indicating that Io will retain the rights to Hitman and proceed with work on the second season. But an update tweeted today indicates that less than two weeks after the studio was put on the block, it has been forced to let employees go.
An update from the studio: pic.twitter.com/k0aoms5cOQMay 23, 2017
The number of employees affected by the cuts isn't known, nor is the status of Square Enix's efforts to sell the studio. It's obviously not good news, but the potential upside is that reduced staff levels could help make Io more attractive to potential buyers. It's also possible—although this is purely speculation—that the layoffs are a condition of a buyout agreement that's been reached but not yet announced.
A Square Enix rep said the company has no further comment at this time. I've reached out to Io Interactive for more information, and will update if I hear more.