Matsuda: "It wouldn't be Hitman unless it was made by IO"
Square Enix's CEO on why the company said goodbye to Agent 47.
Fans of the Hitman series will likely be aware that earlier this year Square Enix cut ties with the creators of the franchise, the Danish studio IO Interactive. The now-independent studio is still working on the next entry in the series and recently launched a new mini-campaign called Patient Zero that builds new missions on top of existing maps.
It was an eye-opening decision by Square Enix to let the studio go, and now, speaking to Games Industry, Square Enix president and CEO Yosuke Matsuda has revealed the reason behind the publisher's decision to wave goodbye to the bald-headed assassin.
"In the case of Hitman, I personally love the game," Matsuda told the site. "I think it's very unique, but I always have to look at things from the perspective of what it costs us to develop it and the performance it delivers. In doing that, in the case of Hitman, we had several expectations where that balance was not sufficiently achieved.
"I believe it wouldn't be Hitman unless it was Hitman made by IO. I love the game, and I believe the fans of Hitman think it's only Hitman if it's made by IO. So I thought that was the best way for the game to continue, and that's why we were supportive of the MBO and of course didn't mind if they continued to use the IP." Yosuke Matsuda.
"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."
For more on the most recent Hitman releases, you can read our review of Season One and our more recent assessment of the four-part mini-campaign, Patient Zero. As for the future, we don't know much at the time of writing, although IOI recently confirmed that the studio will start talking about the next entry in the series, teasing that it will even have a few franchise firsts.