Io-Interactive has returned to its roots; the Danish developer is once again an independent studio.

The Hitman developer's future was briefly in doubt when it was dropped by Square Enix last month.

"We are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios," said Square Enix at the time.

However, Io CEO Hakan Abrak announced last week that the developer had negotiated a management buyout with Square Enix, and crucially, that Io will retain the Hitman IP.

"This is a watershed moment for IOI," said Abrak.

"As of today, we have complete control over the direction for our studio and the Hitman IP – we’re about to forge our own future and it’s incredibly exciting.

"We are now open to opportunities with future collaborators and partners to help strengthen us as a studio and ensure that we can produce the best games possible for our community," he continued.

"I would like to say a big and sincere thank you to all of our players, community, friends in the media and everyone else connected to the studio for the messages of support that we have received in the last few weeks."

Abrak also thanked Square Enix, calling the publisher a great family to be a part of.

IO Interactive was acquired by Eidos in 2003, which was itself acquired by Square Enix in 2009.

IO has launched four games since: Mini Ninjas, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Hitman: Absolution, and last year's episodic Hitman title.

"There are many tales of hope, dreams, hardship and joy within these walls," Abrak said.

"We have never strived for the expected or predictable. Instead, we are always in pursuit for what feels original and real.

"Our passion and determination has never been greater and so that is why we have decided it is not the time to stop, as we have many more exciting and original tales to tell."

This month, two Escalation Contracts and a new Elusive Target will be added to Hitman.