Life after Square Enix: the head of IO Interactive talks about how the studio and Hitman stayed afloat


Last updated on December 8th, 2022 at 03:15 pm

Life after Square Enix: the head of IO Interactive talks about how the studio and Hitman stayed afloat

IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak, in a recent IGN Unfiltered episode, among other things, talked about the period since the studio split from Square Enix.


Recall that in May 2017, the Japanese publishing house announced its decision not to continue cooperation with IO Interactive because, as it turned out later, the games’ insufficiently high financial performance in the Hitman series.

As a result, IO Interactive lost its financial support from Square Enix but gained independence and retained Hitman’s rights. The developers had only three months of money to maintain the studio.

Due to the difficult financial situation, IO Interactive’s management has more than once thought about selling the studio to interested investors, and there were a lot of offers (and “very, very attractive” ).


“Some of the proposals were very, very attractive, and in many ways, it would have been easy for us [to accept], but by that time, we realized that we had to leave the old IO in the past and do it ourselves,” Abrak said.

One of the proposals IO Interactive turned down was to move the 2016 reboot of Hitman to a shareware distribution model, downsize studio staff, and hire additional analysts to optimize future content.

“I think the shareware sector is exciting and can offer a really cool experience, but for Hitman, which we made in 2016, this option is not suitable,” says Abrak.

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Albeit not immediately, but in the end, the chosen strategy worked: Hitman (2016) recouped production costs four years after release, and Hitman 3, released in January 2021, in just a week.

Hitman 3 is available on PC (Epic Games Store), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and S, Nintendo Switch (cloud), and Google Stadia. At the end of March, the first of the seven parts of the Seven Deadly Sins expansion was released for the game.

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