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Hitman developer reportedly developing fantasy IP for Xbox

Scaling up.

IO Interactive, developer of Hitman, has begun working on a new fantasy IP for Xbox which features dragons.

That's according to a report by Windows Central, which states this is one of several projects Microsoft is working on with external developers to be released under the Xbox Game Studios publishing banner.

Eurogamer sources have also heard word of this new project within IO Interactive, which is described as being AAA in scope though still very early in development, and years away. It's currently planned to feature a large medieval-esque world and, yes, winged beasts of the dragon variety.

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IO Interactive has just finished work on Hitman 3, the third game in its successful World of Assassination trilogy, and has already announced it will work next on Project 007, a James Bond game. There are hopes this Bond game will also spawn a trilogy, and an expectation IO will double in size to 400 staff by the time of its release.

But IO Interactive has also been open about the fact it has a third IP in development - which IO boss Hakan Abrak first spoke of earlier this month, during the recent GI Live: Online keynote speech.

"Without going into too much detail, we have a third universe that we're working actively on, which is a bit different and absolutely a love child," Abrak said. "It is something our core people, our veteran staff, have been dreaming about for some time."

As revealed by Eurogamer's sister site, IO has also announced it will open a third studio location in Barcelona to help grow the company further and work on its own projects, while also helping to publish others.

"This is something that's in motion, and it's very likely that IO will be publishing not only our own games, but other people's games in the future, as well," Abrak concluded. "It was just a handful of years ago where this was unthinkable, where it was more just a few big publishers. Things are changing. That still works. I think the big publishers have a role to play going forward. I'll be open and say it's very likely IO will have one of our games published by someone else. That's very possible."

Eurogamer has contacted Microsoft and IO Interactive for comment.