Square Enix Seeking Investors for Hitman Series

Financial document statement gives rise to two different theories on what could happen to the franchise.

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Square Enix unceremoniously dumped developer Io Interactive more than three weeks ago from its in-house stable of game creators, leaving the Hitman series in limbo. A statement by Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda in recent financial documents attempts to clarify the issue for investors, but has made the issue a bit more murky.

"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-san said in the company's annual fiscal report. "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."

That statement can actually be looked at two ways. The first is that Square Enix is trying to assist Io Interactive during its divorce by seeking investors to help the developer continue as a studio, with Hitman and its other IPs staying under IO's control. The second is that investors are being sought to try to keep Hitman going within Square Enix, with the series passed on to a potential third-party developer.

Square Enix bought Eidos Interactive - and subsidiary IO Interactive - back in 2009 for $85 million. The deal included all of Eidos' IPs and subdivisions, which means that the IP is currently under Square's ownership. That said, it is likely the first scenario is true, given that the publisher's severance of the studio was unexpected, and Square is hoping to "do right" by the developer in trying to help it line up other investors. "The Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment," Square Enix said in announcing that IO was being cut loose. "Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole."

The second scenario seems less likely, as development partners would be needed more than investors since Square already owns the IP.

Unfortunately, the real case won't be known until we get an official Square Enix release.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 30, 2017 10:00 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Square Enix Seeking Investors for Hitman Series

    • reply
      May 30, 2017 10:37 AM

      Asif, I think this would be a great investment!

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        May 30, 2017 12:23 PM

        He may be the man with the briefcase, but I don't think he has that kind of money to blow.

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      May 30, 2017 12:25 PM

      Wonder what the ROI was on Hitman... hopefully positive. What a fantastic game, I need to finish it.

      every time I play I only get like an hour, and it takes that long just to feel the "flow" of being the Hitman.

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        May 30, 2017 12:30 PM

        I think only Square Enix knows for sure and apparently if you include the work that was done on Season 2 and not released you end up with a pretty big negative but I can't seem to find solid numbers.