IO Interactive goes 100% independent, takes Hitman franchise with them

For fans of the long-running Hitman series, last month’s revelation at that publisher Square Enix was parting ways with developer IO Interactive came as a shock. What would happen to the Hitman IP that IO created? Would the rights remain at Square Enix? Would IO Interactive collapse? An open letter from IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak indicates that everything’s going to be fine.

Abrak’s open letter states that once their negotiations with Square Enix were finalised, both companies agreed to what’s called a “management buyout” — a process in which the managers of a particular company purchase either a significant percentage or the entirety of that company from their parent business.

The buyout means that IO Interactive is now an entirely independent studio and, in what must be an incredible relief, they have also retained ownership of the Hitman franchise. IO created Hitman back in 2000 and have been steadily expanding the franchise ever since, most recently with a successful 2016 series reboot that took the game episodic.

“Crucially, we will keep all of the rights to the Hitman IP,” Abrak wrote. “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.”

Abrak’s letter goes on to state that IO will have more information about what the future holds for the studio in the coming weeks.

Source: IO Interactive

David Smith

Games and technology editor, Dungeons and Dragons fanboy and your new best friend. You can reach me at with news tips, pitches, press releases, invites, review content and more.