Io Interactive “had to let a lot of people go” for Hitman 2 to survive
As Hitman 2 sneaks up on us, due to arrive on November 13, developer Io Interactive has spoken about its difficult breakup with former publisher Square Enix.
Io Interactive’s associate director Eskil Mohl spoke to GameSpot (link below) about how it’s a “miracle” the game is coming out at all. Mohl recalls the time when Square Enix made its decision to drop them, saying that he remembers thinking, “Oh sh*t, we’re flying over the Atlantic and we don’t have enough gas to get there. So what the hell do we do?”
At the time, Io Interactive was already working on Hitman 2, and so in order to survive there had to be a number of jobs cut. Unsurprisingly, doing so proved to be very difficult.
“We had to let a lot of people go. But that made the team that was left really come together [and say] ‘Let’s do this, we believe in the product’. We were already working on Hitman 2 and then this thing happened,” Mohl tells GameSpot. “It sort of unified us in a way. Yeah, it’s been super hard, but its always a lot of work, but it’s fun work. It really made us go, ‘Yeahhh we can do it!’.”
In the interview, Mohl gives a clue as to why Square Enix made the decision to drop his studio. “I have to say, after Square left us, they’ve been extremely nice to us. They had to focus on other stuff, so that was fair,” he says.
After the breakup, Io Interactive needed to find another publisher for Hitman 2 if it was to go ahead – the other option was to try self-publishing. The solution came in the form of Warner Bros., who Mohl says “it look a long time to find.”
The pain Io Interactive experienced in between publishers – due to the search and laying off staff – has had a good result, at least. “I can only say super positive things,” Mohl tells GameSpot. “We’re super happy with Warner Bros. And they seem to be happy with us, right? [looks at PR person in the room].”
The Hitman 2 release date is close now we don’t have to wait long to find out how well the sequel has fared with its troubled development.