It appears as if United Front Games is closing its doors.
The Vancouver-based studio has yet to officially announce a closure, but a drip feed of sources, details and tweets from one of their producers have foretold the inevitable end.
Currently mourning the best job I've ever had, and the most wonderful team I've ever worked with.
The end of a great era.
— Jen Timms (@Scarlettjen) October 18, 2016
The company’s latest game, the early-access, team-based brawler Smash+Grab, has been removed from Steam’s digital shelves. This follows a free promotional weekend where participants could buy the game at a discounted $17. It was originally released on Sept. 27.
The studio was founded in 2007 and released their first game, the PlayStation 3 exclusive ModNation Racers, three years later. The kart racer that focused on user-generated content was met with glowing reviews but met poor sales.
Their next game, Sleeping Dogs, was released in 2012. Originally a new entry in the True Crime series, Activision canceled the title in 2011. After working through delays and budget concerns, United Front Games found a publisher in Square Enix and put out a spiritual successor from the ashes of their old game.
A definitive edition of Sleeping Dogs came on Oct. 10, 2014, and work on a sequel titled Triad Wars was in development. The game was eventually placed on a hiatus in January of this year.
After spending some time working on projects with other studios, such as Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Disney Infinity 3.0, United Front Games returned to original releases.
The fate of Smash+Grab, at this point, is up in the air. Studio closures are messy legal affairs, and the rights may end up in limbo forever. There will be more to know as official announcements come over the next several weeks.