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Danish Hitman developer IO Interactive will work on new IP following the completion of Hitman Absolution.
That's what studio head Niels Sorensen is reported to have told Gamasutra.
There was, however, no mention of what this new IP will be.
Sorensen explained that after Hitman Absolution, released next year, part of IO will go on to collaborate with new studio Square Enix Montreal on a brand new next-gen Hitman game. The rest of IO, Sorensen said, will begin work on the new IP.
"When people work on the same IP for some time, I believe that there's a sort of creative drain," Sorensen told Gamasutra. "Thankfully we managed to make sure we keep focusing on different IPs and keeping people fresh."
"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. And that's a really interesting sort of secret place where they cook up a lot of new things."
IO has tried new IP for much of this seventh generation of consoles. The last Hitman game released was Blood Money in 2006, which was a last-gen game tarted up for Xbox 360. And what fun it was.
After Blood Money, IO embarked on gritty new co-op shooter Kane & Lynch. The series started confidently in 2007 with Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, but plummeted below average with sequel Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days in 2010.
In between the Kane & Lynch games, IO tried yet another new tack: kid-friendly action game Mini Ninjas, which was forgettable but enjoyable.
So, where will IO go next?
Evidence of a new Hitman game is mounting.
Members of the Hitman forum have been on a wild goose chase following a trail of cryptic ARG clues all pointing towards Hitman and its star, Agent 47. At one point the inquisitive thread-starter was sent a picture showing a script (possibly for a game) on a table and a pair of black leather gloves.
The next clues point to the Berlinale film festival. Given that the trail began with a picture of a box of doughnuts at the Sundance film festival, the link makes sense.
The community expects a reveal at the E3 show in June.
Eurogamer was told, last summer, that a new and fifth Hitman game was being worked on and would be "most likely" released sometime this year.
There hasn't been a Hitman game developed from the ground up for PS3 and Xbox 360. The last game, Blood Money, was ported and upscaled from Xbox to Xbox 360. Eurogamer awarded Hitman: Blood Money 8/10.
Video: Hitman: Blood Money.
The voice actor who plays Agent 47 in the Hitman series has only gone and confirmed the heavily-rumoured Hitman 5.
"I have been overwhelmingly gratified and humbled by the sheer dedication to the Hitman franchise that the fans have expressed," David Bateson said in an interview with The Gaming Liberty.
"For all the kind things that have been said, I am truly thankful. That kind of dedication and appreciation of the game deserves repayment... with an even more gob smacking instalment in Hitman 5. I don't envy IO Interactive for the pressure they must be under to deliver. I am utterly convinced they will!"
This morning Kane & Lynch developer IO Interactive responded to Bateson's comments.
"This is rumour control," it said on its official Twitter account.
"While Bateson's comments are flattering, they are a surprise - we are currently not working on projects with him."
Note IO fails to deny the existence of the game.
This isn't the first we've heard of Hitman 5. In July Eurogamer broke the news that IO was hard at work on the game and that it was set to be released Christmas 2011 at the very earliest.
In the four years since the release of Hitman 4, IO has put out third-person action game Kane & Lynch, its sequel, and cutesy third-person action game Mini Ninjas.
Square Enix told Eurogamer: "It's flattering to see so many fans are eager for another Hitman game. Unfortunately we have nothing to announce at this time."