It might be a distant memory now, but it wasn’t actually too long ago that IO Interactive and its Hitman series was in serious trouble. Square Enix declared its intention to sell off the firm, causing the studio to be hit with layoffs and it potentially losing the rights to the Hitman IP entirely. Fortunately, it managed to bounce back in the following months, becoming an independent studio and regaining the rights to the franchise. At that point there was only one thing missing: a new publisher.
Now, it looks like one company has decided to step up to the plate: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
Going forward, WB will be the publisher and distributor of the Hitman series and the (first) product of their partnership will be the release of Hitman: The Definitive Edition which is set to hit the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (with PS4 Pro and Xbox One X enhancements) later this year.
Here is what IO CEO Hakan Abrak had to say about the partnership:
“Working with a partner like [Warner Bros.] means that the team at [Io] can stay focused on what we’re good at, making games.”
Indeed, this partnership means the studio can focus its attention on making games and leave the publishing and distribution to an entity with more experience. It also means that the new Hitman title that was announced back in November could very well be published by WB, meaning that this could be the start of an extended relationship.
In the meantime, Hitman: The Definitive Edition is basically a “complete” version for the game, featuring the entirety of Season 1, the Game of the Year Edition content, Summer Bonus episode, Blood Money Requiem pack, and an Io 20th Anniversary Outfit bundle (contains extra outfits for Agent 47 themed after Io’s other IPs – Freedom Fighters, Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas).
Hitman: The Definitive Edition is due out for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 15.