Long-time Hitman developer IO Interactive is being dropped by publisher Square Enix, leaving the series’ fate up in the air.
Despite the now-episodic Hitman releasing to critical acclaim last year, including receiving Game of the Year awards from esteemed critics such as Giant Bomb, series publisher Square Enix is ending their relationship with its developer, IO Interactive.
Though critically well received, it seems Square Enix is not pleased with the seemingly low sales numbers. Whether from the (admittedly confusing) series change to an episodic format or the always-online nature of the game, the latest installment in the storied stealth-action franchise has failed to generate sales matching previous iterations.
With Square Enix looking to sell IO Interactive to other possible investors, the fate of the series stays a mystery for now. Despite IO’s history of developing Hitman, Square Enix retains the rights to the series themselves. Whether this means Hitman’s second season will be developed under a new team or ultimately cancelled remains to be seen.
Even more worrying is the fate of the first season itself. Due to its online nature, the already released episodes could see server shutdowns if Square Enix decides to put the series on hiatus, effectively making the game unplayable.
This news also comes after the announcement earlier this year that Deus Ex, another game series from Square Enix, was also being put on hiatus after low sales numbers. With now numerous franchise failures, what are Square Enix’s plans moving forward? Can we only expect more news of cancellations in the future? The fate of one of gaming’s most legendary publishers now seems very troubling.