IO Interactive CEO discusses the split from Square Enix and the need for independence.
The past year has been very interesting for IO Interactive. Its episodic Hitman game was lauded as one of the best games of 2016 despite several issues at launch (and general annoyance at the episodic format). However, publisher Square Enix would eventually withdraw from the studio while allowing it to keep the rights to the Hitman franchise.
Since then, IO Interactive has been releasing updates and teasing Agent 47’s next adventure with more details likely to come in 2018. Speaking to Games Industry International, IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak discussed the company’s interactions with other publishers.
Abrak said that, “We have really been in awe regarding interest from publishers and investors alike. We went through with the management buyout because we believe, deep down in our core, that we need to feel, breathe and act independently.
“We need to be free to embrace and live directly with our fans and community, and free to make fundamental decisions for the studio and our games, within our own halls.”
Though the developer is currently “in negotiations and discussions with potential partners,” there could be more than just financial assistance offered. Abrak noted how the new Hitman meant many changes for the studio so the next game will likely look at the process and demands of a live game to be the best possible.
Abrak also noted that Hitman had 2 million players to start off 2017 and that number has since risen to over 7 million. Abrak also noted that, “That number is rising daily. And these aren’t dormant players; these are highly engaged players in Hitman.”
Regardless, it seems the future is bright for the franchise even as IO Interactive heads into uncharted waters.