IO Interactive is feeling the pinch of Square Enix’s new-found caution towards Western-developed titles, as it was confirmed today that the Danish developer has had to lay off half of its staff. The studio will now double-down on its best known series, Hitman, and is said to have cancelled all other titles in development. That’s bad news if you were hoping for a new Kane & Lynch, Freedom Fighters or Mini Ninjas game.
Speaking to GamesIndustry, a Square Enix Europe spokesperson had this to say:
The studio will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise and is in pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project. However we have taken the difficult decision to cancel other studio projects and initiatives at IO and reduce the workforce in this studio, which will impact almost half of the employees currently at IO, as we make internal adjustments to face the challenges of today’s market.
Those “adjustments” presumably include a realisation that expecting games like Hitman: Absolution and the latest Tomb Raider to sell five or six million copies apiece in order to be considered a success is, at best, reckless.
As part of this shake-up, former production director Hannes Seifert is now head of IO Interactive.