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Square buys True Crime: Hong Kong rights

But will have to change its name.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Square Enix has picked up the rights to open world action title True Crime: Hong Kong following Activision's decision to pull the plug on the game earlier this year.

As revealed by Gamasutra, no release date has been set for the resurrected game, which is still in development at Vancouver-based United Front Games. Square Enix London Studios is supervising – the same office that looked after Batman: Arkham Asylum and Just Cause 2.

The publisher has not purchased the rights to the brand IP so will have to rename the game before release.

"When we first saw and got our hands on the game we fell in love with it," said Square Enix London Studios general manager Lee Singleton.

"When we met the team at United Front Games it was a done deal in our eyes - we instantly recognised the huge potential in the game and the team.

"UFG is an incredibly talented team, who have individually worked on some of the biggest games in our industry, and this talent shines through from the moment you walk in the door.

"It's one of those games where you don't want to put the controller down; it's what we call 'sticky'."

Singleton also highlighted its "incredible new game engine, rich new story with deep and complex characters, and gameplay features which have simply never been seen at this level in an open world game."

Meanwhile, former custodian Activision is calling the resolution a win-win for all involved.

"Our team has worked very hard to find a solution where everybody wins," commented Acti exec Eric Hirshberg.

"Square Enix gets the benefit of the tremendous investment we've made in the game thus far. UFG gets to stay together and complete their vision. And gamers get to play a great game. We couldn't be more thrilled."

Back in February Hirshberg had this to say about the just-canned project:

"Even our most optimistic internal projections show that continued investment was not going to lead to a title at, or near, the top of the competitive open world genre.

"In an industry where only the best games in each category are flourishing, to be blunt, it just wasn't going to be good enough."

Square is in the process of re-staffing at United Front, and hopes to pick up most of the talent the developer was forced to shed when Activision ditched the title. However, a small team had apparently been beavering away at the game before Square swooped in to save the day.

"During this time, the game has continued to be developed by a core team on a slower burn, but now that we've signed, we're ready to turn up the heat and get the team up to capacity," explained Singleton.

"We see this as a fantastic opportunity to create a new and unique franchise which gamers will come to know and love for years to come.”

For more on how the game was shaping up pre-cancellation, take a look at our True Crime: Hong Kong preview or check out the trailer below.

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