Square Enix seemingly has yet to give up on the Hitman franchise despite its earlier fiasco. The company claimed that the studio's sale does not mean the series' end.
According to Polygon, the president of Square Enix, Yosuke Matsuda, has told investors that they are negotiating with several investors who are capable of ensuring that "these titles" carry on. As for what "these titles" are, they were whatever franchises IO Interactive was working on before Square Enix officially cut ties with them.
"Given the nature of the competitive landscape in the western markets as well as other considerations, we decided we needed to concentrate our development resources." He added. "The decision to withdraw from that business was the result of a review of our Group's allocation of both financial and human resources."
This could either mean that the president was implying that further development in the series would be in-house instead of outsourced. On the other hand, Square Enix might be letting the rights go to IO Interactive instead of leaving it be, as per PC Gamer. That way, the series can more or less continue.
Even so, Matsuda had not commented whether the series was finished or not as blatantly shutting down a trademark is a bad business idea. It is unsure to what Square Enix has planned for the series of the game or if it intends to let the rights go back to IO Interactive. The Denmark-based developer had been a Square Enix subsidiary until the May 11 announcement.
IO Interactive is known for the Hitman franchise that launched back in 2000 on the PC and received a sequel two years after on all consoles of that era. Other franchises it worked on were Kane & Lynch and Freedom Fighters. Square Enix has yet to reveal its plans for the other possible projects IO Interactive might have been working on.