In a surprising announcement, Square Enix has revealed that it will be parting ways with Hitman developer IO Interactive. The announcement arrived via the publisher's statement to its investors, stating the decision was taken due to it focusing on other key franchises and studios.
"The Company 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," said the publisher.
Square Enix also said it is already in talks with potential investors to purchase the studio, although it's uncertain if such a deal will be successful. The publisher added that "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."
IO Interactive has had its hand in developing quite a number of Hitman titles since 2000, as well as the Kane & Lynch series. The developer's recent Hitman (2016) was well received by critics and fans alike, receiving continuous free updates since its release. One of the most popular additions being Elusive Target contracts, which provided players a single chance to assassinate a target in the given time period. The game's May content drop arrived just last week.
It's unclear what will become of the developer if a new investor isn't found. But, the prospect of the studio being shut down is very real, taking with it the chance of future Hitman episodes and any other titles in development.