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Hitman series on hold as Square looks to sell Agent 47’s creator

The future of the Hitman series is in doubt, with publisher Square Enix withdrawing its support for franchise creator, IO Interactive.

That would put the Japanese gaming giant at a huge loss of $43 million USD, Gematsu notes, which many believe is a byproduct of the recent episodic Hitman games’ disappointing commercial performance.

Square says it is negotiating with new investors for IO Interactive, so that doesn’t mean the Hitman franchise is dead, but if no suitable buyers are found, Agent 47 could go under with the studio that created him.

IO Interactive and Square have made efforts to reinvigorate the Hitman franchise in recent years.

In 2012, Hitman: Absolution looked set to bring the franchise in a new direction. While critical reception was mostly positive, the title failed to reach sales targets.

Square decided to mix things up with the next Hitman game, although such was the disastrous response from consumers, it appears the decision to split the game up sealed Agent 47’s fate.

Seven different episodes were released throughout 2016, and while they were all generally well received by critics and gamers alike, the release schedule appeared to hurt the game’s appeal.

This led to the small chunks of Hitman being ignored by gamers, and Square Enix taking a huge hit on the investment in the process.

“To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios,” the publisher said in a statement. “As a result, [Square Enix] has regrettably decided to withdraw from the business of IO Interactive A/S, a wholly‐owned subsidiary and a Danish corporation, as of March 31, 2017.”

Hitman now faces an uncertain future, joining another Square-published game in Deus Ex that was also recently put on ice following the disappointing commercial performance of 2016’s Mankind Divided.


Friday 12th of May 2017

Damn, the new season was amazing and pretty much the only game I played last year, I don't game much at all anymore. I was hesitant at the episodic release. I found it pretty cool after the first level because I would go through and replay to do all the challenges etc. I found and completed waaaay more stuff than I would if I had the whole game to begin with. I can see why the episodic release was hated though.

Agent 47

Friday 12th of May 2017

Someone will surely step in, it's been a successful title, square loves to set ridiculous sales targets tbh...

Master Fenix

Friday 12th of May 2017

@agent47 Yep they really do. They set them for Deus Ex and now Hitman. Franchise never had a chance, especially when it was broken up episodically.

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