Square Enix has laid off almost half of the employees at IO Interactive as part of “significant changes” at the studio.
In a statement passed on to Develop, a spokesperson for the studio said the Denmark-based company was moving toward a sole focus on the Hitman franchise, and as a result would be cancelling a number of projects and initiatives at the studio. The developer is currently in pre-production on a new triple-A Hitman title.
IO Interactive production director Hannes Seifert will now take over the position of studio head.
The statement added that the publisher would try to relocate staff within the company where possible.
“We are making significant changes at IO Interactive as we align our business against a changing and challenging market," read the statement.
"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.
"However we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today’s market.
"For those affected, we are extremely grateful for the hard work which they have contributed, and where it’s possible and appropriate to relocate staff to open positions at other studios within the group, we will try to do so. We are also reaching out to other companies for outplacement opportunities. We sincerely wish them well in their future careers.
"Meanwhile, if you are part of a company that is looking for additional development talent, please contact us directly at email@example.com.”
IO Interactive’s last game was Hitman: Absolution, but before that it had developed a number of other titles outside of the franchise such as Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas.