The studio behind Sleeping Dogs appears to have shut down. Eurogamer reports that United Front Games is said to have closed and its latest game, the early access to team game Smash+Grab has been removed from sale on Steam.
The developer has not made the announcement official on either its website or Twitter account, which both only make mention of the studio’s most recent project, Smash + Grab. However, former producer Jen Timms confirmed the bad news herself, saying that United Front Games was “the best job [she] ever had and the most wonderful team [she had] ever worked with.”
Just four days ago, Electric Playground host Victor Lucas hosted a gameplay session of Smash + Grab with developer Travis Nordin, where Nordin talked about United Front’s plan to support the game with additional characters in the future — the studio’s closure appears to be a surprise to those affected.
United Front Games’ largest project was Sleeping Dogs, a 2012 adventure that took players into the seedy underground Hong Kong criminal community. It mixed in an intricate hand-to-hand combat system and even included A-list actress Emma Stone as part of its cast, but the game didn’t reach publisher Square Enix’s sales expectations. Two years later, the game was re-released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC as Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition.
Without the go-ahead from Square Enix to produce a sequel to Sleeping Dogs, United Front began work on Triad Wars, an online spin-off taking place in the Sleeping Dogs universe. After a period of beta testing, the game was canceled in late 2015.
In recent years, United Front Games has worked as a support studio for several AAA titles. The studio was responsible for creating the overarching interface for all four games included in Halo: The Master Chief Collection, and it was also responsible for porting the recent Tomb Raider reboot to Xbox One.