Despite posting posted record revenue and net profit for the last fiscal year, publisher Square Enix is dropping Hitman developer IO Interactive.

In a statement, the Japanese publisher said its support for IO would be withdrawn "to maximise player satisfaction as well as market potential going forward".

"We are focusing our resources and energies on key franchises and studios," it said.

Square Enix's withdrawal from IO has resulted in a ¥4.9 billion (US$43 million) extraordinary loss on the company's balance sheet, but the publisher is already in discussion with potential new investors.

"Whilst there can be no guarantees that the negotiations will be concluded successfully, they are being explored since this is in the best interests of our shareholders, the studio and the industry as a whole," the publisher said.

I was lukewarm on Hitman's first episode, and connection problems dogged the series' "live" modes, but content-wise it improved dramatically, carving out a place for itself on our Best Games of 2016 list.

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.

In January, insiders reported that underwhelming sales had seen Square Enix put Deus Ex on ice.

In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, Square Enix earned ¥257 billion in revenue, up 20 percent on the year before. Ordinary income rose 23 percent year-on-year to ¥31 billion, despite the ¥4.9 billion extraordinary loss from dropping IO Interactive.