Hitman developer IO Interactive has indicated some staff have been let go as it prepares for upcoming changes to the way the studio operates.
"Today at IO [Interactive], we had to make some changes to our studio, which will allow us to be better equipped for our future adventures," reads an update posted on Twitter. "We're sad that great talent and good friends will be leaving the studio. We are doing everything possible to look after everyone affected. Thank you for your support and understanding."
On May 11, it was revealed that Square Enix intends to divest ownership of IO Interactive. This, the Japanese company said at the time, was to narrow its focus on key franchises and studios. During Square Enix's financial reports, it indicated it had taken a financial loss to offload IO Interactive and also cease production of IO's ongoing projects.
This has led to questions regarding the future of Hitman, which was expected to have a second wave of content launch in the future. Square Enix said it had begun discussions with new investors that could potentially purchase IO Interactive, but whether the Hitman property would be sold alongside it remains unclear.
The decision to downsize IO's headcount could be tied into a potential acquisition. It may be that whoever is interested in investing in the studio may want reduce the size of the studio to mitigate costs and risk. Either way, a smaller, leaner studio would present IO Interactive as more attractive to potential investors.
GameSpot has contacted Square Enix for a statement on the matter.
Square Enix became IO Interactive's parent company when it acquired Eidos Interactive in 2009. In addition to Hitman, the studio is known for developing the Kane & Lynch series. A job listing spotted in February also indicated IO Interactive was working on a new IP.