Danish developer IO Interactive will release Hitman: Absolution in 2012, and then begin collaborating with Square Enix's just-announced Montreal studio on another entry in the franchise -- but that's not all.
With two studios on Hitman, IO has the opportunity to create a new IP, and studio head Niels Jorgensen tells Gamasutra that's exactly what the team will do. In a new interview, to be published in full on Gamasutra tomorrow, we learned part of IO will collaborate with Square Enix Montreal, and the rest will be developing a new property.
[UPDATE: A Square-Enix rep also told Gamasutra that additionally, IO "will roll onto another Hitman project (after Hitman Absolution), separate to the Hitman project which Square Enix Montreal will be working on."]
Jorgensen believes keeping projects new and diverse is essential to keeping dev teams sharp: "When people work on the same IP for some time, I believe that there's a sort of creative drain," he says. "Thankfully we managed to make sure we keep focusing on different IPs and keeping people fresh."
Hitman: Absolution was first shown at E3 earlier this year to strong reception: Jorgensen cites 50 award nominations at the event, and 19 wins. A strong known IP attracts a lot of new talent for a studio, and an infusion of new blood provides new creative possibilities.
"We've built an incubation department whose focus is work on new IP and prototypes, and all sorts of things for existing and new IP," says Jorgensen. "And that's a really interesting sort of secret place where they cook up a lot of new things."
The complete IO Interactive interview, on the studio's collaboration with Square Enix Montreal and the changing climate for AAA games, among other discussions, will appear on Gamasutra tomorrow.