Square Enix Was Given Multiple Offers of Just $1 for Hitman Developer

Hitman was once an IP that didn't have much backing, and we have the details on the whole deal here!
Hitman With Shotgun Agent 47 Blurred Background
Image: IO Interactive

It might be hard to believe after the success of Hitman 3, but Square Enix was looking to offload the Hitman developer, IO Interactive, just a few years ago. In an interview with Edge magazine, IOI CEO Hakan Abrak revealed that the company received multiple offers of just $1 for the studio.

In the Edge Magazine interview, Abrak said that Square Enix started looking to divest IOI after Hitman (2016) failed to meet expectations (Thanks, PC Gamer). He said that the studio had not made money for almost ten years in a row, and that made it an unappealing prospect for potential buyers.

Some companies offered $1 to take over IO Interactive, while others discussed the possibility of reducing the studio to a fifth of its size and making the Hitman franchise free-to-play. The reason $1 sounds good is because it costs a lot of money to transition a studio while paying salaries and so $1 is basically just taking the financial burden off of Square Enix’s hands.

Abrak was not interested in either option, and he told Square Enix that he would do everything he could to make the transition as smooth as possible if that’s what the company wanted, but that he didn’t believe in it and would not be part of it.

In the end, IOI was able to buy itself out from under Square Enix. Abrak said that the studio couldn’t pay anywhere near what a big company could, but they were able to come up with a deal where Square Enix kept a minority stake in the company.

IOI has since gone on to release two critically acclaimed Hitman games, they currently have a James Bond license, and are working on a mysterious fantasy RPG. It’s a good thing that Square Enix didn’t sell the studio for just $1.

I think this is the perfect underdog story and Square Enix was incredibly kind to let the studio take itself away. Square Enix still owns a piece because they were still willing to help out, and that’s a lot from any publisher. It shows there’s solidarity in game development with Square Enix.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.


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