In a surprise announcement earlier this month, Square Enix stated that it was parting ways with IO Interactive, the developer behind a number of Hitman and Kane and Lynch titles. The move raised quite a few concerns about the future of Hitman keeping in view that it is one of the publisher's considerably popular game series, along with Final Fantasy, Deus Ex, and Just Cause. Now, recent developments indicate that Square Enix wants Hitman to "carry on".
In a briefing document outlining the company's financial results, Square Enix president Yosuke Matsuda made the following statement:
"Our decision to withdraw from the IO Interactive A/S business was the result of a review of our portfolio that we conducted as part of our effort to concentrate our resources in order to strengthen our development capabilities. Because the firm is engaged in the development of “HITMAN” and other renowned titles, we are negotiating with prospective external investors capable of ensuring that these titles carry on."
In a Q&A session, GameSpot reports that the executive further went on to say that Square Enix has decided to focus its development resources, and that the decision was purely business-oriented and a result of the company's review of financial and human resources.
The wording of the financial briefing document is slightly vague and it's still unclear if the development rights to Hitman will be sold to another studio - Square Enix is certainly considering it - or if the publisher will end up developing the series in-house. That said, the indication that Square Enix wants Hitman to "carry on" should comfort fans of the series to some degree.