Alongside giving us their financial results for the end of their 2016 fiscal year, Square Enix has also announced that they will be withdrawing from their partnership with Danish developer Io Interactive. Io Interactive are known mostly as the studio behind the Hitman franchise.
“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios,” Square Enix said in its statement. “As a result, the Company has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of Io Interactive, a wholly‐owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017.”
However, if you check out Square’s financial results, you’ll find this notice ” the decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898 million yen in the financial results for this Fiscal Year. For details of this announcement, please refer to the document “Notice of Booking of Extraordinary Loss” disclosed today. ” That notice of Booking Loss is what gives us the player satisfaction line.
Considering Square’s overall financials were pretty spectacular, I’m more willing to bet it was that 4,898 million yen loss that was the reason for the break, not player satisfaction. Although I suppose the case could be made that those are intertwined.
Io Interactive found themselves under the Square Enix umbrella back in 2009 when the publisher acquired Io’s parent company, Eidos Interactive. Square appear to still be working with Eidos, so it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.
However, what this means for the future of the studio itself and the Hitman series is unclear. Last year’s Hitman Season 1 left the current story in limbo and, as of August last year, Io Interactive was planning for three seasons of the episodic game, but who currently holds the rights to the Hitman franchise is unclear.
Io Interactive has been focused entirely on the Hitman series since 2013, when the studio laid off half of its staff and cancelled all non-Hitman projects and initiatives. So, without Square’s backing, it’ll be interesting to see what they do with themselves going forward, if they can still make Hitman games, or if they’re now adrift without an IP to sell.
If Square holds the publishing rights to Hitman, I’m sure they’ll have one of their other western studios take on the project of revamping the series. Not that they won’t face flak for it, but Square Enix aren’t the type to let an IP like that just die.
Hopefully, for Io’s sake, they’ve got the rights to Hitman. If not, well, things are a little bit dire for the Danish studio.
You can read up about the decision in a bit more detail and Square’s financial results here.
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