In a statement released this morning IO Interactive, developers of the Hitman and Kane & Lynch franchises, announced they implementing "significant changes" to "align our business against a changing and challenging market." In other words, layofffs. "Almost half" of the employees currently at IO will be impacted as the company cancels several projects in order to focus on the Hitman franchise going forward.
Here's the final portion of the statement, which while ringing sincere likely doesn't help those leaving the office for the last time today:
"For those affected, we are extremely grateful for the hard work which they have contributed, and where it's possible and appropriate to relocate staff to open positions at other studios within the group, we will try to do so.We are also reaching out to other companies for outplacement opportunities. We sincerely wish them well in their future careers. If you are part of a company that is looking for additional development talent, please contact us directly at email@example.com"
Hitman Absolution, the company's last released project, received an above-average reception which landed it at around an 80 on Metacritic. Unfortunately my personal review wasn't as positive, but despite that there was no arguing the company at the time looked to have a strong future ahead of them. Even Kane & Lynch was starting to pick up broader appeal.
However, the market isn't as sympathetic and forgiving as game fans can be. If what IO needs to do in order to keep making games is focus on their primary IP, then that's what they need to do. Still, half of the company's employees and the other projects and initiatives sounds like a grave price to pay to focus on a single expensive development project.
We at Neoseeker wish our best to all those effected by today's layoffs at IO Interactive. Hopefully there's a new position right around the corner on a project that's both inspiring and secure. 2013 hasn't been kind to our industry thus far, but the outcry of support from across the industry is at least somewhat positive. Game on.