When True Crime: Hong Kong was cancelled, United Front Games was courted by more than one publisher keen to pick up the game that would eventually release as Sleeping Dogs.
In a making-of feature on Edge, Sleeping Dogs executive producer Stephen Van Der Mescht said eventual publisher Square Enix wasn’t the only interested party.
“There were a few other people who’d spoken to us. We know a lot of people, obviously – we’ve all worked with a bunch of different publishers, and there were a few people who came around and looked at the game and the team,” he said.
United Front had been working on the game for four years, but the only part of the project it owned was the game’s engine, which made finding a new publisher a bit tricky.
“At one point, we looked into just taking the engine code and doing something else. We only owned the engine, we didn’t own any of the content, so to get a deal in place where the game was going to move forward, Activision had to be involved in the process. They had to license those assets,” Van Der Mescht said.
“So putting a new deal in place was incredibly complex. It wasn’t only a two-part deal between ourselves and a publisher, it was ourselves, a new publisher and Activision. The contracts had to go back and forth between all three parties to get the game back up and running. It was easily one of the most complex development negotiations I’ve ever been part of.”
Happily, Activision agreed to a deal.
“They were great in the whole process, I’m personally very appreciative of the role they played in getting a deal signed,” Van Der Mescht said.
Sleeping Dogs is available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It’s pretty sweet.