IO Interactive has been home for the Hitman series for over 20 years. After the release of Hitman 3, which will bring the World of Assassination Trilogy to an end, the developer will be shifting focus to a new title in the James Bond universe for the time being.
Speaking to Game Informer, Hitman 3 game director Mattias Engstrom says he thinks he's "going to cry" when the game is finished, calling the project a "a ride and a joy to work on for this long." It's a sentiment echoed by the staff, including executive producer Forest Swartout Large.
Previously, IO Interactive ended up negotiating a buyout with Square Enix, and became an independent developer that retained rights to the Hitman IP, as are Informer points out. In fact, Hitman 3 marks the company's first release as an independent studio before it sheds off to work on a new series. The team is, as such, very much attached to Hitman as a franchise.
But even so, CEO and co-owner Hakan Abrak notes that the developer doesn't want to just have been seen for Hitman alone.
"Hitman and IO Interactive are very, very closely knit, obviously. But I think, moving forward, IO should not necessarily be mentioned as ‘The Hitman studio IO Interactive,’ but first and foremost, people should think about IO Interactive as IO Interactive first, creators of different IPs and a place of creativity where Hitman is definitely one of our children, but there are going to be more children in the future. And one of them is 007."
And of course, it's important to note that as Abrak states, this is hardly the end of Hitman for IO. This is just the end of the current trilogy, and a certain part of Agent 47's story. It will always be a bittersweet moment to say goodbye even for a moment for a series that you've worked on for so long, but at the very least we know there's probably still way more to look forward to.