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    I.O. Interactive A/S is a Danish video game company most well known for the Hitman series. Other notable releases include Mini Ninjas, Freedom Fighters and Kane & Lynch.

    Square Enix breaking ties with IO

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    sgtsphynx

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    #1 sgtsphynx  Moderator

    I am in shock. 2016's HITMAN is the ultimate realization of what a Hitman game should be. And SquEnix is just basically selling IO off according to Kotaku. No word on the fate of the IP, but I suspect that SquEnix will hold onto that. I am now worried for the future of season 2 and beyond.

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    NTM

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    They sold them to Konami. Ha ha. Mwahahahahaaaaa! Just kidding. When I think IO, the first thing I think about is wanting a sequel to Freedom Fighters, though I think that's an EA thing?

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    coolarman

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    There is probably some financial reason for why this happened but man does it seriously bum me out. I am worried we may not get another season for Hitman :(

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    deactivated-5b85a38d6c493

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    How viable was the seasonal stuff for Hitman? I always assumed they made like gangbusters with the first season, but that might not be the case at all.

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    papercut

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    This really sucks. Hitman was such a fantastic game last year and even this year so far. Did the game not sell that well?

    All of a sudden I feel less inclined to go after that Elusive Target this week...

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    BoOzak

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    #6  Edited By BoOzak

    Weird, first they put Deus Ex and Tomb Raider sequels on hold to go after some Marvel thing and now this? Oh well, at least Nier Automata turned out alright.

    (that DLC was really overpriced though)

    But if i'm being honest I like the Hitman series more in concept than anything, and Freedom Fighters is still my favourite game of theirs. So maybe this is a good thing?

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    katpottz

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    Another great developer crippled at the the height of their potential.

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    forteexe21

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    Maybe IO didn't reach Square's expectation of a billion sales like Sleeping Dogs. Or they just have it against Vinny's favorite games.

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    thom_hill

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    hitman always seemed like a ubisoft type of game so i could see them going there,

    who knows maybe they could have a shot at another assassination game for them....

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    deactivated-630479c20dfaa

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    So square owns the hitman IP? Thats how that works? Bummer..

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    cikame

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    Is Hitman playable offline? Because it ties in with Square's servers every chance it gets.

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    BrunoTheThird

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    #12  Edited By BrunoTheThird

    I'm assuming Absolution and Season One lost money, or made so little profit that more Hitman (and therefore I/O) was not forseeable as a viable or sustainable thing to rely on. It probably is one of the weaker links in Square-Enix's eyes, recent critical acclaim aside, and they've struggled in the past to remain respectable and profitable at the same time. Business in Japan is taken super seriously, which can be a real shame, but I get it, and when IO is bought (I'm confident they will be), this will make more sense and more than likely not ruin one of gaming's current greats. If they sell Hitman too, that is. If not, then fuck them.

    We'll see. I sympathize with both for now, but poor IO. I bet they feel very uneasy, or like a dog that got sprayed for licking its owner's face.

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    Captain_Insano

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    #13  Edited By Captain_Insano

    Man.

    Hitman Season One (and only?) was so damned good.

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    glots

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    Fucking...argh! I can't remember the last time I read some gaming related news that made me this bummed out.

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    ThePanzini

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    #15  Edited By ThePanzini

    Shame I expect Hitman 2016 very poor performance compared to Hitman Absolution is to blame, basically selling 1/3 as many copies at a fraction of the usual asking price can't be good especially if less and less people sticking around for future episodes.

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    probablytuna

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    A real god damn shame.

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    BabyChooChoo

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    I was going to say "I feel like Hitman was generally well-received and one of the most popular games of last year," but then I remember how much time I spent in the Giant Bomb bubble so maybe my view is just a little bit skewed on that one.

    Either way, it is a bummer.

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    Scampbell

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    #18  Edited By Scampbell

    @thepanzini: Where do you have those sales figures from?

    I see can see that there's 631227 owners on steam. I don't know about console, but I think I read somewhere that they were pretty happy with their sales figures?

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    ivdamke

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    #19  Edited By ivdamke

    Square Enix once again throwing their western developers under the bus while they fund an FF game that remains in development limbo bleeding money for 10 years to only come out to disappointing sales in their eyes.

    Slow clap.

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    Blu3V3nom07

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    Maybe Tencent will buy them eventually, and that'll be that. Le sigh.

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    deckard

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    Hitman 2016 probably did okay, then FF XV happened and not only sold a ton but also let Square breathe a sigh of relief that pouring all that cash into their most iconic franchise was worth it. Prior to release they were saying that XV was make-or-break for the franchise going forward (at least in terms of AAA releases). Now they're doubling down on a "safe" bet.

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    ThePanzini

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    #22  Edited By ThePanzini

    @scampbell: Numbers are from Steamspy if otherwise what else could/would IO Interactive say? The low Hitman 2016 numers compared to Absolution isn't the scary part its the fact that Absolution is selling twice as many copies at a higher price point and with having three times the number of recent players over the past two weeks. The lower investment episodic longer tail games-as-a-service seems hard to justify when more people are buying and playing the last game.

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    Scampbell

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    #23  Edited By Scampbell

    @thepanzini: "Numbers are from Steamspy if otherwise what else could/would IO Interactive say?"

    Well, nothing usually. But yeah, that is a really bad look. I guess when you are living in these gaming media bubbles your perspective often becomes a bit distorted.

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    MattyFTM

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    #24 MattyFTM  Moderator

    Squeenix's marketing of Hitman was pretty atrocious. There were tons of people who didn't know what that game was or what the episodic model actually involved. And Squeenix's sales expectations are infamous for being ridiculously high.

    Steam Spy lists just over $600k sales, and can't differentiate between the $15 starter pack and the full game. A lot of those sales are probably the starter pack. An it has been on sale several times for pretty damn cheap. So it doesn't seem to have sold very well. Sales definitely didn't meet Square's expectations.

    So this news shouldn't really be that surprising. IO haven't really had a major hit under Square, so looking to sell the studio on makes sense. I just hope the Hitman IP goes with them so they can continue to work on Season 2.

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    deactivated-5a00c029ab7c1

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    Square needs to bring back Sleeping Dogs and market it better open world games are bigger than ever and we need a really good crime one besides GTA they need to bring back United Front Games yeah I know it will never happen but the gaming industry needs Sleeping Dogs. Mafia series is a disappointment mostly because of 3 and there repetitive missions and the Watch Dogs series is under cooked filled with cringe worthy characters Sleeping Dogs deserves another chance it was a refreshing open world game with likeable characters and great gameplay.

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    ThePanzini

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    #27  Edited By ThePanzini

    @mattyftm: Yeah if the episodes suffer the usual 50% DLC drop after each installment the numbers don't look so hot, but they did green light season 2 and I doubt they lost money though I expect the recent Marvel partnership has SE investing in that instead.

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    Naoiko

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    That's a super bummer. I hope this doesn't mean the end of hitman.

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    druv

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    @kingbonesaw: Not to mention Life is Strange!

    Square Enix seems kind of bizarre, because most of what I hear about the corporate side is bad - weird expectations on a great Tomb Raider, dumping IO after a great HITMAN that you'd think they could build on - but then they're releasing all these great games!

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    Jesus_Phish

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    @boonsong: I think it sold well but after it was heavily discounted.

    @kingbonesaw - FFXV being the best FF in a decade isn't much of an achievement when you consider the only other FF games released since 2006 (which was when FFXII) are the very bad FFXIII and a botched/unbotched MMO launch with FFXIV.

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    Jonny_Anonymous

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    This is real sad. I hope GB does some memorial streams of the game.

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    zeushbien

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    That sucks :-(

    Just when IO were hitting their stride again. I actually liked the episodic format for once, but I guess a lot of people were turned off by it.

    I hope my fellow Danes land on their feet, or the studio gets sold to someone who's a good fit.

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    RonGalaxy

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    If square enix had any decency, they would let io leave with the hitman ip. I don't really see that happening, but it would be the right thing to do.

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    Scampbell

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    #34  Edited By Scampbell

    Maybe it is time for CD-Project Red to expand their catalog.

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    OurSin_360

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    Hopefully they keep the IP at least, haven't played hitman but people seemed to really dig it.

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    ArtisanBreads

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    If this fucks up Hitman, after this last fantastic entry, I will be pissed.

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    notnert427

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOO! They finally got it right with HITMAN. Square should let them leave with the HITMAN license. That's IO's baby. However, should typically matters little in these sorts of things, and there's a good chance Square keeps the license, makes a cookie-cutter Absolution-like but worse, runs it into the ground, and then deems it no longer viable.

    They have the framework entirely in place to release new locations for this in perpetuity, and I'd buy them all. Now there's a question as to if there will even be a season 2. God damnit.

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    clagnaught

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    This is really unfortunate, especially since Hitman was so great. I'm not sure how still has the rights to it and all that, but this news makes me think we're never going to get Hitman Season 2.

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    ArtisanBreads

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    Man Square has become such a bad company. What they have wasted of good franchises (basically most of their FF decision making) and studios they have and then where they focus their attention.

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    Sqwrly

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    I'm so sad about this. I hope IO can continue with this game.

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    corporalgregg

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    By far the game I've played the most over the past few years and this news has me crushed. I'd threaten to never buy anything Square Enix again, but they've basically killed off every franchise I've enjoyed already.

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    chiefbott

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    this is what you get for stealing dooms GOTY jk

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    mellotronrules

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    baaaah this is terrible.

    legit question- i admittedly don't have a full understanding of the episodic structuring of the latest hitman. were i to buy it now, LOOOONG after it being 'current,' - does it still function as a cohesive product? or is the value not there because it's not as 'live' as it once was?

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    hans_maulwurf

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    I'm not married to the Hitman character, as long as they could be making that kinda game I really wouldn't care what it's called. But obviously it seems like the studio might at least be hit with layoffs if not worse, and that would bum me the fuck out after Hitman turned out so great. Not my fault though, I bought Hitman twice and raved about them in the surveys they did.

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    Castiel

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    #46  Edited By Castiel

    Replace "this man" with Square Enix:

    Loading Video...

    With that said, whenever I saw comments on youtube for the game they were negative against the episodic form of the game. Even though it certainly seemed like IO made it work in a terrific way, most people on the internet just bitched and moaned about it. So the sense that I got was that a lot of uninformed people who never played the game or wanted to actually listen to any of the positive feedback just decided to wait and buy it. Definitely seen the game being described as unfinished and IO/Square Enix being considered greedy.

    I have no idea how well Hitman has sold. So while going the episodic route seemed to work out great for the game, I haven't played it myself but loved the GB videos, there might just have been too much negativity around its episodic form.

    It's quite a shame really.

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    chrissedoff

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    This stuff is truly unbelievable; the Japanese side is the one taking decade-long development cycles to make staid, pretentious nonsense and it's Eidos who pays the price despite the fact that they've been turning out quality on a consistent and timely basis. It's basically a Cinderella situation where the spoiled daughters constantly get rewarded for being bratty layabouts while the stepdaughter is just shat upon and tormented constantly for doing everything that's asked of her.

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    ArtisanBreads

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    @mellotronrules: You're missing out on that cool live stuff I guess but it's great Hitman and easily worth the discounted price I'm sure you could find. Really awesome game.

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    ALavaPenguin

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    I will be very sad if this means less hitman.

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    Scottjay01

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    @kingbonesaw: While that is true, I know Neir and FFXV sold very well even in japan when I was last there they were in the charts still.

    While Hitman is great, here's the question how many of US and the OUTSIDE public bought, I watched all the GB content for it but knew it was something that I wouldn't want to play myself.

    Now I look at most of us here as those in the bubble, to the mainstream Hitman was never viewed as a AAA franchise to begin with and that makes me wonder did that impact sales of that game. Also the way it was released may not have helped it.

    I can't say I blame SE they tired moving more western in the PS3/360 era but 1 due to the opening price of the PS3 and economy in Japan it made sense to do so. 2. Somethings worked that gen for them but more things backfired on a bigger scale.

    Things are different now, Japan's console market has picked up this gen quite well. More so games like Bravely, FF and others made them go back to the importance of well made Japan focused games because there is a global audience that wants that (As they publicly said a few meetings back)

    So While it sucks for IO, I'm not as surprised at this as many are. Just because I did wonder with the release model to the broader audience and the fact that I know there must have been tonnes of people like me whom really enjoyed watching it but didn't want it personally.


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