Square Enix has announced that it’s withdrawing its investment in Hitman developer IO Interactive, taking a loss of $43 million in the process, as noted by Gametsu. While this move might not mark the end of the Hitman video game series — Square Enix is reportedly negotiating with potential new investors who might pick up the studio — it definitely isn’t good news for the future of the franchise.
The most recent game in the series was the episodically released Hitman, an experiment in releasing a major blockbuster title in smaller chunks of DLC content instead of as a single game. The seven episodes that comprised the game trickled out over the course of 2016, and while they were well received critically, the strange release schedule and proximity to other, larger titles meant that many gamers overlooked Hitman entirely.
For now, it seems like we’ll be waiting a while to see another Hitman game, assuming a new one resurfaces at all. It also marks the third major action franchise in recent months that has been put on ice. Along with Hitman, Square Enix has reportedly paused development of the Deux Ex series following underwhelming sales of Mankind Divided. And earlier this week, Kotaku reported that BioWare is putting Mass Effect on hold following the poor reception to Mass Effect: Andromeda.