Hitman developer IO Interactive is culling approximately half of its staff and cancelling all other non-Hitman related projects.
According to a statement from Square Enix vice-president of corporate communications Chris Glover obtained by Eurogamer, the studio 'will focus resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise.'
Pre-production on a new Hitman title has already begun. The cancellation of other projects and cutting staff levels has been attributed by Square Enix as a necessary part of making 'internal adjustments to face the challenges of today's market.'
As part of the staff reshuffle, the Copenhagen-based IO Interactive production director Hannes Seifert has been promoted as the new studio head. The studio is also attempting to help those it has made redundant by trying to find other companies that may wish to employ them.
IO Interactive was also known for the Kane & Lynch series and it is likely that a third game in this franchise is one of the projects cancelled. It is however unclear which other projects outside of Hitman the developer was working on.
IO Interactive was founded in 1998 with its first title, Hitman: Codename 47 being released for the PC in 2000. There have since been a further four entries in the Hitman series, the most recent being 2012s Hitman: Absolution.
The Hitman series also received the big-screen treatment with the 2007 release of a film of the same name. The film was a financial success raking in just under $100m and a sequel was planned but subsequently cancelled. Earlier this year, it was reported that a reboot called Agent 47 is in the works with shooting scheduled to start during the summer.