Square Enix Let IO Interactive Keep Hitman Because It Just Isn't Hitman If Anyone Else Develops It

Now that we've finally figured out just who owns the rights to the Hitman franchise, you have to wonder why Square Enix let developer IO Interactive take the rights with them. While it's great news for IO Interactive and Hitman fans, it doesn't really make sense in terms of sheer capitalism.

Square Enix Let IO Interactive Keep Hitman Because It Just Isn't Hitman If Anyone Else Develops It
Credit// Square Enix

Despite dwindling numbers of players in the franchise's latest entries, the series made Square Enix a lot of money over the years. And they've got the ability to keep making Hitman games without IO. Logically, there should have been some prolonged legal battle where the two parties hashed out who got Hitman in the divorce. But, despite some early confusion, the entire transaction was pretty bloodless — and absolutely lawsuit-free.

This one actually kind of restores your faith in humanity, because Square Enix has come out to say that they let the rights to Hitman go with IO because Square CEO Yosuke Matsuda asserted, "I believe it wouldn't be Hitman unless it was Hitman made by IO."

The statement comes from an interview on GamesIndustry.biz, where Matsuda talked about the split between Square Enix and developer IO Interactive:

"Whether it's our Western studios or Japanese studios, at Square Enix we sometimes end up with conflicts or shortages in terms of resources. I felt that if we were not able to continue sufficiently investing in Hitman, it could wind up ruining the game – so we found ourselves in a difficult position.

A decision had to be made in terms of our relationship with the Hitman team. I wanted them to continue to develop the game, but I thought in terms of investing further in the game it would be best if they worked with another partner other than ourselves."

So after all of the chaos and confusion, we can all sleep well tonight knowing that even the CEO of Square Enix realizes just how vital the Hitman franchise is to the developer — and how vital the developer is to the franchise.

Sure, you can read Matsuda's comments as shiny PR statements designed to put Square Enix in a positive light, but admitting that the publisher couldn't delegate resources to development of the stealth action series just doesn't quite jive with that interpretation. And I kind of want my faith in the games industry restored a little bit after Gazillion Entertainment fired all of their employees the night before Thanksgiving.

As for IO, the developer is currently focused on the Hitman franchise, with a new entry in the series officially in the works.

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About Madeline Ricchiuto

Madeline Ricchiuto is a gamer, comics enthusiast, bad horror movie connoisseur, writer and generally sarcastic human. She also really likes cats and is now Head Games Writer at Bleeding Cool.
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