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United Front Games makes redundancies

By Dan Pearson

Fri 25 Feb 2011 3:14pm GMT / 10:14am EST / 7:14am PST

Former True Crime developer believed to have laid off at least 25

United Front Games

Developers of ModNation Racers and True Crime.

United Front Games, which was developing open world title True Crime for Activision until its cancellation earlier this month, has made at least twenty five redundancies, reports indicate.

Joystiq has reported the job losses at the developer, which were initially verified via the company's LinkdIn page. A statement issued to the site from the developer reads as follows:

"Due to the fact that True Crime is no longer in production, a number of roles have been made redundant which unfortunately, has led to a reduction in staff. UFG is still very much open for business and we will continue to ship top games."

The studio, based in Vancouver, has only brought one game to market so far - the generally well received ModNation racers for Sony. True Crime was due to be the company's second release, but became a casualty of Activision's stringent cutbacks after coming in for some harsh criticism from Activision Publishing boss Erik Hirschberg.

Speaking in Activision's conference call accompanying the financial report, Hirchberg told listeners that the game was "not going to lead to a title at or near the top of the open world genre. To be blunt it just wasn't going to be good enough."

However, there appears to be little bitterness held by UFG staff towards their erstwhile publisher - a statement on the company's website expresses regret about the cancellation, but no anger.

"TRUE CRIME: We are sorry we did not get a chance to complete this project with Activision, but we understand why," reads the post. "We are both committed to doing quality games and nothing less. Maybe we will have a chance to work together in the future, but in the meantime we are setting our creative sights on a different horizon. You can keep up with the latest developments at UFG here on our site."

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Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
That's a shame. Still seems a waste that True Crime which was reportedly shaping up well was scrapped so close to release - I wonder if a sale of the whole True Crime brand including Hong Kong would be possible. It would be nice if United Front had a chance to finish it and at least have it released.

I hope United Front find more work. Does anyone know how well ModNation sold, i.e. to ascertain whether Sony might be looking at commissioning a sequel?

Posted:5 years ago


Luke Allman Character Artist / Level Designer

14 0 0.0
@Terence I Agree. It would be amazing if UF could take all of that hard work and have something to show for it. I personally know what it's like to work on a project for years only to have the rug yanked out from under me and my team. It's heart breaking to know that none of that work will ever see the light of day.
So lets hope this is not the final fate of True Crime : Hong Kong because it did seem to be shaping up very nicely and personally I'm a big fan of the series.
Fingers Crossed eh?

Posted:5 years ago

Question is = who owns the IP. As the IP rights holder determines what can/cant be done with the work/source engine.

Posted:5 years ago


Frankie Kang Producer / Consultant, First Post LLC

39 1 0.0
UFG was one of the most professional developers I had the honor to work with. Good luck to those affected.

Posted:5 years ago


John Owens CEO, Wee Man Studios Ltd

1,036 1,355 1.3
I would imagine Red Dead Redemption also didn't look like it was going to be a great game 6m to a year out.

Posted:5 years ago


Terry Rowles Studying games art and design, Norwich University College of the Arts

2 0 0.0
Red Dead Redemption is to me one of the well put together game last year lets have more.

Posted:5 years ago


Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,289 126 0.1
@ Chee - on the game's website in the small print at the bottom it only mentions Activision, so I would assume the brand is their property.

Surely there would be some interest in this from other publishers, considering having at least one open-world action game seems to be mandatory for every major publisher and (assuming previews are to be believed) it was coming along very well.

Posted:5 years ago


Rafael Brown Lead Designer, id software

22 0 0.0
United Front were hired guns working on Activision's internal publisher owned IP. If Activision isn't publishing it, expect to never see this iteration of True Crime: Hong Kong. It's too bad, but there have been many canceled projects across many publishers. This is no different. Its business.

True Crime was created by Luxoflux back in the days of True Crime:Streets of LA and followed up by True Crime: New York City. Activision will no more sell this franchise than any other they own. They have a history of purchasing brands/franchises/IP licenses, not selling them. And the letting go of brands inherited with the Vivendi merger doesn't count. Activision understands the importance of having a back catalog. True Crime is just going back on the shelf for a while

Posted:5 years ago


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