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Update: 1/7/2014 - Square Enix released the following statement concerning the cancelation of the title at its Montreal office,
"There's a bit of confusion around the Hitman projects currently in development at Square Enix-owned studios and so we wanted to take the time to clarify what each studio is working on to clear up some of this confusion. Io-Interactive is developing a new, AAA Hitman game that will be coming to PC and next-gen consoles and Square Enix Montreal is fully focused on mobile development of games some of which are related to the Hitman franchise," A Square Enix representative said. "We look forward to sharing more details about these titles later this year."
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Disappointing news out of Canada today as we're finding out that the next installment in the Hitman saga has been canceled. The next-gen release was under development by Square Enix Montreal, a group that had planned to re-imagine the Hitman brand. The cancellation was spotted by Videogamer, when they stumbled across a LinkedIn profile for senior game designer Richard Knight.
This discovery comes on the heels of a recent announcement from Square Enix that its Montreal division would be working exclusively on iOS and Android titles. The original plan was for the Montreal branch to alternate the creation of the Hitman saga with IO Interactive, the team behind Hitman: Absolution. These two developers would have "traded off" development cycles, much like Treyarch and Infinity Ward do with the Call of Duty series.
Square Enix has never officially announced the cancellation of the next-gen title, but the company did state back in June that IO Interactive would focus "resolutely on the future vision for the Hitman franchise". Square Enix also revealed that IO Interactive was already "in pre-production on a new AAA Hitman project." Square Enix Montreal is now working on an unnamed Hitman-based project exclusively for Android and iOS.
The good news is that a next-gen Hitman title is definitely in the works, it just won't be developed by Square Enix Montreal. Those of you who enjoyed Hitman: Absolution will probably be excited by this news, as it appears that all future console and PC-based Hitman titles will go through IO Interactive, at least for now.