Last year, things looked pretty bleak for Hitman developer IO Interactive. The studio was on the verge of being dropped by Square Enix and looking to be bought. Job losses followed, but soon the company announced that it would regain its own independence after a management buyout. Now, the studio is thriving and looking to work on the follow up to the highly successful Hitman.
In a recent interview with GamesIndustry.biz, IO Interactive CEO Hakan Abrak spoke about the turbulent times for the company this past year as well as what being independent means for them. “We went through with the management buyout because we believe, deep down in our core, that we need to feel, breathe and act independently.” said Abrak. “We need to be free to embrace and live directly with our fans and community, and free to make fundamental decisions for the studio and our games, within our own halls.”
While the studio did decide to become its own company rather than be bought, Abrak has said that the company is still willing to work with other publishers. “We believe that being independent makes us far more attractive to work with, when it comes to the motivation to succeed with our games.” he said.
Speaking on a sequel for Hitman, Abrak said the studio learned so much while making the first that it was unwilling to give up the opportunity to make another. “Look, we feel like we’re onto a good thing with our latest Hitman game,” he says. “We’ve changed how we work, and as a studio we’ve never felt more confident and more in control of knowing what we’re doing. I think our Game of the Year Edition is a testament to that. We learned so much during the first season of this game, and by the end we felt like a well-oiled machine.”
There’s a ton of other interesting stuff in the talk, which you can view over at GameIndustry.biz, but the general gist is that IO Interactive is not only ready to give being independent a shot, they’re welcoming it as another challenge in the rocky road that is the games industry.