Hitman: Absolution developer IO Interactive has suffered layoffs, as publisher Square Enix reshapes the studio to focus squarely on Hitman projects. The studio has lost almost half of its employees in what Square calls "significant changes" to its business structure.
“We are making significant changes at IO Interactive as we align our business against a changing and challenging market," read a statement from Square given to Develop. "Hannes Seifert, formerly Production Director for 3 years at the studio, will take over the position of Studio Head at IO. The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new triple-A Hitman project."
The layoffs come as a result of cancelling other unnamed studio projects, making a next-gen Mini Ninjas seem all the more unlikely. The statement says they are "extremely grateful for the hard work" of the staff, and will attempt to relocate staff to open positions at other studios. It has also reached out to other companies for outplacement, and is welcoming direct contact from other companies looking for developers.
Leaning hard into the Hitman franchise seems like an odd choice, given that by Square's own admission it fell short of forecasts and needed to sell a third more. The next game in the franchise will come from Eidos Montreal.