Reports were flooding in overnight of United Front’s untimely demise. The studio that brought you 2012’s ultimate open world adventure Sleeping Dogs as well as countless other titles including Little Big Planet Karting and Triad Wars has let its staff go and closed the front gate.
United Front, based in Vancouver Canada, has also played a major role in the development of titles such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Tomb Raider, and Disney Infinity 3.0. However they will be remembered most for their timeless Sleeping Dogs classic. With thoughts of a sequel on the horizon before this blow, players are turning to the possibility that Square Enix will continue the work as it still retains the property rights.
However United Front only just released Smash & Grab as a free to play title on Steam yesterday. Since the news however, the game has been recalled from purchase and its future remains foggy.
The recent spate in development studios closing across the world (Lionhead Studios was a particular blow to us) has medium-size studios worrying. As independent production continues to rise, and Tripe-A budgets balloon, it seems these mid-range talents are beginning to lose their footing in the industry ladder. It’s a shame, as it’s often these mid-range developers that produce some of the most charming titles – with their lowered publishing risks compared to Triple-A and their increased budget and expertise over Indies they used to sit at a happy medium between the two industry extremes.
This Mario Minion wishes all previous employees a prosperous future away from their United Front homestead, and hopes to be reporting on further titles from the excellent talent pool that’s been released into the wild.