United Front Games, the Vancouver based development team behind 2012 cult hit Sleeping Dogs, has closed its doors today and laid off its entire staff, according to multiple reports. The company had just developed and published SMASH+GRAB, a competitive multiplayer game in Steam Early Access. SMASH+GRAB is currently unavailable for purchase on Steam, lending additional credence to the reports.
The independent studio was best known for Sleeping Dogs, and was planning a multiplayer-focused spin-off called Triad Wars. United Front Games was also known for its support work, developing the Xbox One port of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and the Marvel Battlegrounds playset for Disney Infinity 3.0. The company also produced the front end menus and connective tissue for Halo: The Master Chief Collection.
Sleeping Dogs was praised by critics for its over the top approach to hand to hand combat and engaging story, giving players a change of pace from the bog-standard New York City analogue. It also used downloadable content to tell unique stories in the world of Sleeping Dogs, including a cheesy Hong Kong horror flick and a 1970s kung fu adventure. Initially released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, the game received a current-generation port on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as the Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition.
The team was reportedly working on Triad Wars, a multiplayer game set in the Sleeping Dogs universe. Triad Wars entered beta in early 2015, allowing players to explore the open world of Sleeping Dogs and asynchronously compete against other players. The game never caught on, and was cancelled by United Front Games in 2016.
We obviously wish the best for all former United Front Games employees affected by the closure, and hope they land on their feet. The company’s existing relationship with Microsoft, Square Enix, and Disney Interactive will hopefully provide avenues for these newly unemployed developers.