Hitman firm IO Interactive and Warner Bros partner for "new universe"

Hitman firm IO Interactive and Warner Bros partner for "new universe"

Danish Hitman studio IO Interactive is collaborating with media giant Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment for a new PC and console release.

The duo are partnering on a brand "new universe" together, with Warner - unsurprisingly - handling publishing and distribution. This follows IO teaming up with the entertainment giant for publishing and distribution of last year's Hitman 2.

“Over the past few years, Warner Bros. has shown us first-hand that they understand and respect our creative vision, and we’re looking forward to continuing this relationship,” IO boss Hakan Abrak (pictured) said.

“IO Interactive has a proud history of creating compelling characters and universes for our players to enjoy—it’s in our DNA. As we embark on this exciting project to create a new universe for IOI together with Warner Bros., we’re currently looking for ambitious talent to join our team in our Copenhagen and Malmö studios for this extraordinary journey.”

The head of Warner Bros' games arm David Haddad added: “We’re very pleased to continue our relationship with the talented team at IO Interactive. [The studio] has a longstanding legacy of creating iconic games, and we’re looking forward to partnering on this next endeavour to bring a new console and PC gaming experience to players globally.”

The last few years have seen a great deal of change for the Copenhagen-headquartered developer. Japanese publishing giant Square Enix announced its plan to sell IO in May 2017, with the company eventually buying itself out and gaining independence. This followed a 2016 episodic reboot of the Hitman IP that didn't meet expectations.

When IO was spun off, that title boasted over five million players; three months later, the studio said that Hitman had seven million users. There's also a TV series based on the IP on the way, with IO saying at the time that there was two new titles in the series coming.

One of these was Hitman 2, which was leaked via Warner Bros website ahead of an E3 2018 announcement. The company ditched the episodic it had used for its predecessor for this game, telling that Hitman 2 was a chance for IO to have a fresh start as a newly-independent company.

IO Interactive also opened a brand new studio in Sweden's Malmö at the start of 2019.

As for what the company is working on with Warner Bros, neither company have filed any trademarks yet that sound like a new video game IP. As well as Hitman, IO Interactive also has the Freedom FIghters IP.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.