Io Interactive goes independent and owns Hitman IP

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isomeri

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Finally, some fantastic news for fans of murder! Io Interactive have gone independent and retained the rights to the Hitman IP!

Here's the full message from Io-Interactive CEO, Hakan Abrak:

In its 19 years of history, Io-Interactive has brought you original and exciting entertainment; from Mini Ninjas and Freedom Fighters to gaming’s most notorious criminals Kane & Lynch and of course our beloved Agent 47. With our latest game, we have not only transformed Hitman, but also moved our entire studio into the AAA digital era. Our live product has disrupted the video game business and has received recognition and praise from press, community and our fans.

There are many tales of hope, dreams, hardship and joy within these walls. We have never strived for the expected or predictable. Instead, we are always in pursuit for what feels original and real. Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell.

Therefore I am proud to announce today that IOI is now officially an independent studio. We have successfully concluded our negotiations with Square Enix and have agreed to a management buyout. Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP.

This is a watershed moment for IOI. As of today, we have complete control over the direction for our studio and the Hitman IP – we’re about to forge our own future and it’s incredibly exciting. We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community.

I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks. I would also like to thank Square Enix; it has been a great family to be a part of and we are proud of what we have achieved together in the last eight years. IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team.

We are counting on the continued support of all our players; simply by having fun with everything we’ve released so far for HITMAN – and we want to encourage more of you to try our game. We have more details to come on our plans for that next week.

Thank you.

Hakan,

Io-Independent

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OldGuy

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Oh, goody!

This definitely deserves this:

Loading Video...

Woo indeed.

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fram

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Awesome! Here's hoping they knock it out of the park with season 2 and get all the money they deserve.

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zeushbien

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Great news! Congrats IO!

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Panfoot

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#5  Edited By Panfoot

So glad they get to keep the IP, I wouldn't want to see a Hitman game made by anybody else right now. Hope it all works out in the end

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Jesus_Phish

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Great news. I look forward to them getting more stuff out.

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WynnDuffy

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#7  Edited By WynnDuffy

@panfoot said:

So glad they get to keep the IP, I wouldn't want to see a Hitman game made by anybody else right now. Hope it all works out in the end

Personally I was excited to play Assassin: Silent Hitman

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mellotronrules

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seems like the right move- here's hoping they have the management chops to keep the #brand strong.

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Sdoots

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holy shit there might be a god after all

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ATastySlurpee

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Can we have a true spiritual successor to Freedom Fighters now? (I assume EA owns the IP)

and no Kane & Lynch doesn't count

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TheHT

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http://images.complex.com/complex/image/upload/c2jv9i6gy4hipz9ybuuw.gif

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BrainScratch

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Time to celebrate!

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Forcen

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Is this the best time to buy the full hitman season if I want to support IO with money? Or should I wait a bit?

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ghost_cat

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This is great news, but now I'm really curious as to why this split from Square Enix and IOI happened in the first place. No smaller company usually walks away from a bigger one without losing something important.

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jeremyf

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This is awesome, awesome news.

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OurSin_360

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@ghost_cat: square was going to sell them, they probably didnt reach some unrealistic financial mark set by squenix.

I wonder if they can keep using the engine or if they have to start from scratch?

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vsharres

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"friends in the media"...COUGH..COUGH..giantbomb

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DrStrangepork

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@vsharres: There was a survey from Io about Hitman where they specifically mention Giant Bomb's coverage. So, yeah.

This is great news, I cannot wait for more.

"...a world of pure assassination..."

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Cirdain

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#19  Edited By Cirdain

Do they own the game engine they're using?

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DrStrangepork

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@cirdain: Yes, I believe they are using the Glacier 2 engine for Hitman.

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mrcraggle

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I was just about to get my haircut when I read the news. I wanted to dive across the floor and cheer. This is such awesome news.

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ThePanzini

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This is pretty great news probably the best outcome you could wish for.

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frytup

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@forcen said:

Is this the best time to buy the full hitman season if I want to support IO with money? Or should I wait a bit?

I have no idea what the terms of the deal they cut with Square Enix are, but they may not get much of anything from sales of season one.

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nightriff

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Fantastic for them. Was very worried that they would be bought by the wrong company so glad this worked out probably in the best way possible.

Maybe I should play hitman....

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hippie_genocide

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@forcen: I would have to believe that no matter when you buy season 1, a large portion would go to Square Enix, which is only fair. How season 2 sales gets divvied up was probably a big part of the buyout negotiations, and we may never know the details of it.

@nightriff You should definitely play Hitman.

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Hunkulese

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Next stop, Kickstarter!

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superfriend

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#27  Edited By superfriend

I want a way to give money directly to them and not to Square Enix Eidos or whatever they call themselves these days. So that is awesome. Now, if I buy the rest of Hitman season one, does that still benefit them, or do they just own the second season?

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cornfed40

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Best freaking news I've heard all week!

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lun49gameon

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Im very happy for IO interactive and its exciting that a season 2 of hitman is still possible. I feel that this would have never happened if Square Enix didn't set very high expectations for how much money they had to make. Square Enix is probably using vasts sums of money to finish all their Final Fantasy stuff which they think is a sure thing to sell.

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zaccheus

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#30  Edited By zaccheus

I really hope it works out for them. I can see the Hitman Season 2 Kickstarter pre-orders coming.

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Phoenix654

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Was so happy to read this, glad to hear that the tales of Agent 47 will carry on. Good for Io-Interactive.

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Naoiko

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WOOO!!!!! =D

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ArtisanBreads

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#33  Edited By ArtisanBreads

Very happy to hear this. Hoping they enter a positive partnership with someone.

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forteexe21

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I know of a certain individual from a pretty large development studio who streams Hitman semi-regularly who would love to collaborate with them.

RIP Dave Lang.

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SSully

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#35  Edited By SSully

I hope they figure out a way to make Season 2 work out for them. Whatever they end up doing, I am there day 1.

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Busto1299

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I didn't expect this so fuck yeah!

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Baal_Sagoth

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Good, very good. Hope it works out for them, they're a such a creative and strong developer.

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Brendan

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Here's hoping they can keep themselves afloat...game to game this business is tough. Rooting for you IO!

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Shindig

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Kickstarter incoming.

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alwaysbebombing

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Wow, this is really the best thing that could have happen considering the circumstances.

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@frytup said:
@forcen said:

Is this the best time to buy the full hitman season if I want to support IO with money? Or should I wait a bit?

I have no idea what the terms of the deal they cut with Square Enix are, but they may not get much of anything from sales of season one.

@forcen: I would have to believe that no matter when you buy season 1, a large portion would go to Square Enix, which is only fair. How season 2 sales gets divvied up was probably a big part of the buyout negotiations, and we may never know the details of it.

@nightriff You should definitely play Hitman.

I want a way to give money directly to them and not to Square Enix Eidos or whatever they call themselves these days. So that is awesome. Now, if I buy the rest of Hitman season one, does that still benefit them, or do they just own the second season?

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meteora3255

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@lun49gameon: I wonder if SquareEnix set high expectations or if they simply weren't ready to forecast this type of game. Hitman had a lot of buzz and praise last year, most of it was naturally occurring as people played it instead of corporate marketing. Square may have forecasted a certain number of sales based on that hype and then been surprised by the number of people who only bought the first level, or nothing at all, and simply experienced the game through streams/videos. I wouldn't be surprised if the game had stronger than anticipated sales but less than expected revenue because people didn't buy the full season of content.

Either way this is a pretty big PR win for SquareEnix. They went from selling a beloved dev, and getting blasted for making a purely financial decision, to letting them go independent.

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NTM

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#44  Edited By NTM

Hey, I just wanted to update this to say that they not only kept Hitman but also retained the rights to Freedom Fighters! Other games like Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas they let go though. Since I'm currently playing Hitman, I looked into it because my brother told me a while ago that they only held onto Hitman which really bummed me out. Freedom Fighters is a fantastic game (still probably my favorite IO Interactive game overall) and I'd like to see them do something else with it. Now, that possibility seems more likely despite them currently only focusing on Hitman. This is news from a couple months ago, but I'm just learning about it (as you might be too) and so I wanted to update this. It would be cool if they released the game on Steam...

Here's a link that states that they kept it.

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TheChris

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Shame they let go of Mini Ninjas as that was one of their best games.

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Relkin

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#46  Edited By Relkin

@thechris said:

Shame they let go of Mini Ninjas as that was one of their best games.

Don't know if I agree with that, but it was a nice surprise to get a new IP out of them, and it was a pretty good game. Definitely a shame they let it go, for sure.

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TheHT

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@ntm said:

Hey, I just wanted to update this to say that they not only kept Hitman but also retained the rights to Freedom Fighters! Other games like Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas they let go though. Since I'm currently playing Hitman, I looked into it because my brother told me a while ago that they only held onto Hitman which really bummed me out. Freedom Fighters is a fantastic game (still probably my favorite IO Interactive game overall) and I'd like to see them do something else with it. Now, that possibility seems more likely despite them currently only focusing on Hitman. This is news from a couple months ago, but I'm just learning about it (as you might be too) and so I wanted to update this. It would be cool if they released the game on Steam...

Here's a link that states that they kept it.

Oh maaaaaan. I was just wondering about this a few days ago while reminiscing about my time with Freedom Fighters. What an incredible game that was.

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msx2

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@ntm: Holy crap! I always assumed EA owned Freedom Fighters and that it would remain in their vault forever. Keeping my fingers crossed for a digital release and maybe even a sequel(!) someday.

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