As mentioned in a previous update, Square Enix have set up a new Montreal studio to develop a next-gen Hitman title. IO Interactive, however, are hard at work on Hitman: Absolution... and will split the risk once development is complete. Part of the team will collaborate with Square Enix Montreal, while the rest embark on a new project to avoid the "creative drain" associated with working on one franchise for too long.
More details below.
Speaking to Gamasutra, studio head Niels Sorensen revealed that the studio needs a change of pace after Absolution launches, and they've got a secret "incubation department" where they've been gestating some new projects over the last few years.
When people work on the same IP for some time, I believe that there's a sort of creative drain. 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.
Incubation department? Sounds like the clone facility from the end of the original Hitman. If IO aren't working on developing clone super-assassins, however, it will be interesting to see what they come up with.