Last Week, Io-Interactive CEO, Hakan Abrak revealed that the developer had successfully negotiated a management buyout with Square Enix. In addition to a return to its independent roots, IO also managed to retain all rights to their Hitman IP.

“IOI started as an independent studio and we will now return to those roots with an extremely passionate and talented team,” Abrak wrote, in a letter published to IO’s website.

IO-Interactive was founded as an independent studio in 1998 before being purchased by Eidos in 2003. It joined the Square Enix family when the company acquired Eidos in 2009.

Square Enix had declared their intention to drop the studio back in May, noting “To maximize player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward, we are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios.” IO wasn’t one of the key studios they decided to focus on.

The decision lead to a round of layoffs at IO which had many fans concerned for the studio’s future. The buyout could prove to be the best case scenario for the remaining IO team.

Endless Possibilities Start Here

“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. 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,” Abrak wrote.

IO has already made strides towards rebooting the Hitman franchise with its previous move towards episodic digital releases. Newfound freedom and full control over their most recognizable IP, has given IO a lot to live up to. Ultimately, time will tell if this is a good or bad thing.

Abrak’s message didn’t elaborate on how they had financed the buyout or what his future plans were for the studio. It did, however, promise more details this week. Hopefully this will include a hint at whatever their next project might be.

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller

Editor-in-Chief at Cliqist: Indie Gaming
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.
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