In 2017, IO Interactive came to full independence after years of working with publishers. The studio will independently distribute HITMAN 3 . The developers talked about the long and difficult journey to this event.
Development Lead Christian Elverdam recalled how negatively the HITMAN distribution model was greeted by players in 2015. Users were reluctant to pay the full price for the episodic game and even considered it a fraud on the part of the developers.
According to producer Hakan Abrak, in 2016, sales of the first season of HITMAN were the lowest in the history of the series. At the same time, the studio understood that with this distribution model, sales would occur gradually, and not in the first month.
This is not a game where 80% of lifetime sales occur in the first month. This is something else.
However, Square Enix did not share IO’s positive attitude and transferred the studio to another investor. The company lost about $ 43 million, and the studio had to lay off a certain number of its employees. As a result, in 2017, IO agreed with Square Enix about complete independence.
For the first time in its history, the studio received full rights to Freedom Fighters and HITMAN. At the same time, the budget was tight. When Square Enix left the wing, there was enough money for three months of work – bankruptcy loomed on the horizon.
According to Abrak and Elverdam, a miracle happened at that moment – in a month the number of HITMAN players jumped from 1.8 million to 5 million. The studio realized that it needed to work on regular updates.
By May 2018, the first season of HITMAN had reached 13 million players, and in November 2020, the entire series (starting with Codename 47) exceeded 70 million players. HITMAN 3 will be the last part of the franchise for now.
IO Interactive has no plans to continue the series yet. In the future, the studio will focus on new games. Among them is a new spy IP about agent 007 .
Release HITMAN 3 will be held on January 20 at the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Series.