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Hitman studio lays off almost half of staff

Hitman developer IO Interactive will lose almost half its staff and all projects aside from a new game in the assassination series, Square Enix Europe announced today. The publisher laid off employees to "align [its] business against a changing and challenging market," GamesIndustry International reports.

"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."

Most recent title Hitman: Absolution did not meet Square Enix's sales expectations, but it seems the publisher and developer will double down on the future of the 13-year-old franchise.

Square Enix says it will attempt to relocate staff to other open positions within the company where it is able, and former production director Hannes Seifert will take over as IO's new studio head.

14 comments

  • chad-munn - June 18, 2013 4:42 a.m.

    "Kiddies", THIS is the... 8th or 9th studio to close or lay out large chunks of it's staff in the past year. It's a developer and a publisher. Wasn't there some hardware company out there that's decided to help developers and publishers with some sort of protection against loosing their life blood? How many used copies of Tomb Raider/Hitman/Deus Ex have you seen floating around Gamestop's? Yeah... There's a reason companies have to lay off half their staff or worse- close all together. And the nerve of you to say "What a shame, it's a sad day in gaming" and then praise second hand sales while ripping into the idea of protecting these people so they can keep making games. F*#kin# hypocrites. Absolue f&#ki#g hypocrites. But... that's typical. Rage against what you've been told to rage against, feel sorry for what you've been told to feel sorry for. Ignore the utter lack of comprehension of what it means to be throwing rocks at yourself from both sides of the fence. Good stuff, stuff.
  • Bloodstorm - June 18, 2013 5:57 a.m.

    While I ultimately share the same sentiment, in this case, these studios are suffering not because they sold poorly (well, not sure how Hitman did, but Deus Ex and tomb Raider did quite well), they are suffering because of Square Enix's inability to manage it's money (with several huge flops of its own in the last several years). Unfortunately, Square is making it's foreign studios into their scapegoat, while not reflecting on their own critical failures.
  • bass88 - June 18, 2013 6:08 a.m.

    Hitman: Absolution sold near 3.5 million copies. Square-Enix still called it a disappointment. Go figure.
  • MayorOfAmerica - June 18, 2013 5:58 a.m.

    Exactly my thoughts! Just remember though, it's ALWAYS someone else at fault! (sarcasm)
  • Meleedragon27 - June 18, 2013 4:10 p.m.

    Hi, CliffyB! I read about what you said last week about game budgets being mad high and that the triple-A game industry's alarming inability to properly budget their games is somehow *our* fault! Seriously, any game that sells several million copies should never be considered a failure. At least, not a commercial failure, anyway.
  • Nines - June 17, 2013 11:18 p.m.

    Good for them. Kane and Lynch was a mistake. I was expecting something like "Hitman with coop", but got just a bad TPS with ugly graphics and animation without any original ideas. However, if they'll continue to keep Hitman franchise in the "dumbed down" way, I don't need that either.
  • bass88 - June 18, 2013 6:10 a.m.

    What is it with gamers' mentality? "Ha! I'm glad they're jobless because I didn't like their game!"
  • Nines - June 18, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    I'm not glad about it. I just hope that maybe this will help the next Hitman game. In any case, it will not be worse anyway.
  • SirManguydude - June 17, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    So basically what they are saying is they cancelled the new Kane and Lynch game, and fired all of that side of the studio.
  • Redeater - June 17, 2013 1:43 p.m.

    What a coincidence. Hitman didn't meet my expectations either. "pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project" See, here is the problem. Hitman should never be AAA. The last Hitman game was ridiculously over the top with Hollywood voice actors and moments more along the line of Uncharted rather than the pinnacle of the franchise Bloodmoney. Bloodmoney was great because it was a giant sandbox allowing you to choose exactly how you wanted to play the game. They seemed to have forgotten about that.
  • Rhymenocerous - June 18, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    Exactly. You could make a similar point for other previously-awesome franchises that should have followed a low-key marketing strategy, should as Resident Evil. Let's hope Dark Souls doesn't get sucked into the AAA trap.
  • Swedish_Chef - June 17, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Rare footage of Square Enix causing layoffs. ...Wait a second that's not rare at all... DAMNIT SQUARE ENIX!!! >:( Jokes aside it's a very sad situation and I hope that all those that have been affected by this are able to recover from this.

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