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IO Interactive goes independent, secures the rights to Hitman franchise

Hitman developer IO Interactive is now an independent studio after agreeing to a management buyout with long-time owner, Square Enix. 

Hitman developer IO Interactive is now an independent studio after agreeing to a management buyout with long-time owner, Square Enix. 

Crucially, the deal will see the studio retain the rights to the Hitman IP, meaning it can create new entries in the franchise without Square's involvement. 

Earlier this year the Japanese publisher made headlines after revealing it wanted to sell off the Danish studio

The decision cast doubt on the future of the Hitman franchise and IO itself, with Square saying it had already entered into discussions with potential buyers. 

Despite the critical success of IO's most recent Hitman offering, Square claimed it had to get rid of the company to "maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential" by focusing on "key franchises and studios."

While the two settled their divorce, IO was forced to make layoffs in order to secure its future. Now though, the company has finally found the light at the end of the tunnel 

"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," wrote IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak. 

"We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community."

"I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks.

"I would also like to thank Square Enix; it has been a great family to be a part of and we are proud of what we have achieved together in the last eight years."

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