As you may have heard by now, United Front Games is unfortunately closing its doors. GameSpot reported the closure recently, and this seems to also mean the end of the studio’s newest project, Smash + Grab. If true, it is tragic that the studio has met an end such as this one.
Obviously, I don’t really know why the studio was closed, but from the outside looking in, it’s because Sleeping Dogs 2 was never made. In 2012, United Front Games released the highly popular open-world, action game, Sleeping Dogs. The critically acclaimed title was a revelation and seemed to be a new player in the open-world genre.
The combination of parkour, martial arts and gunplay mixed gameplay made Sleeping Dogs an instant hit. Its world of Hong Kong was a wonderful playground that held many activities and possibilities.
From its brutal takedowns and environmental finishers to its intriguing storyline starring Wei Shen, Sleeping Dogs was a surprise hit in 2012. You would have thought the reaction from gamers and critics would have spurred on a sequel to Sleeping Dogs, but it was not to be.
Instead, United Front Games released projects like LittleBigPlanet Karting, the recently cancelled Triad Wars and now its seems the also cancelled Smash + Grab. United Front Games never seemed to find a project that resonated with gamers after Sleeping Dogs.
The question I have is given the troubles the studio had getting just about any project off the ground, why was Sleeping Dogs 2 never made? I know there are always plenty of factors that play into the answer to that question. However, it seems to me that a legit sequel to the open-world title would have been the project United Front needed.
Gamers would have wanted a new Sleeping Dogs far more than they wanted a spin-off PC title in Triad Wars. Whether it was studio leadership that made the decision to not make a sequel, or it was on the publisher side, Sleeping Dogs 2 was always the game United Front should have made next.
That said, there is always the possibility that Square Enix flat out didn’t want any part of a Sleeping Dogs sequel. Given the troubled development the game endured before finally being published by Square, it is possible the publisher simply didn’t want another iteration.
Sleeping Dogs was originally going to be a part of the True Crime series, but in 2011 Activision Blizzard cancelled the game after budget issues and project delays. Square then purchased the publishing rights and they, along with United Front Games, finished the project.
It is a shame that yet another developer has closed its doors. This is something we see too often in video games. Regardless of whose decision it was, Sleeping Dogs 2 was always the game United Front Games should have made next. It’s a shame that we may now never see it made at all. Stick around here at We Write Things for more on video games.