A shadow of uncertainty has been cast over Hitman developer Io Interactive this morning.
Square Enix has just announced that it has put the studio up for sale. Io was acquired by Eidos in 2004, which in turn was acquired by Square Enix in 2009.
Io's most recent release was the episodic Hitman, which has fared extremely well with critics. However, the decision was recently made to scrap its planned second season of content, suggesting the commercial performance has been less favourable.
To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios. 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 31st 2017,” a note from Square Enix said.
This decision has resulted in booking of the extraordinary loss amounting to 4,898m (33m), including disposition of the content production account related to the business and impairment loss of intangible assets.”
Square says that it is already in talks with potential new owners, but warns that this may amount to nothing – which presumably would result in Io's closure.
As a result of this the Company started discussions with potential new investors and is currently in negotiations to secure this investment,” it added. 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.”
Coupled with the slow early sales of the new Prey, and the disappointing performance of the likes of Dishonored 2, the very viability of the big triple-A single player game must surely now be questioned.