Square Enix snags rights to True Crime: Hong Kong from Activision

"The finished product was not going to be at the top of that genre," Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg told Joystiq following the sudden cancellation of the publisher's True Crime: Hong Kong reboot in February. That blunt assessment hasn't stopped Square Enix from picking up the rights to the United Front Games-developed title from Activision and placing it under the management of Square Enix London Studios and its general manager, Lee Singleton.

"When we first saw and got our hands on the game we fell in love with it," Singleton tells Gamasutra, further describing the game as a "great big bucket of fun." Square Enix London Studios knows a thing or two about "fun." The organization is tasked to provide a "fresh approach to third party game development" and, in that pursuit, it's managed games like Rocksteady Studios' Batman: Arkham Asylum and Avalanche Studios' open-world Just Cause 2.

Since Square Enix didn't purchase the (somewhat worthless) True Crime IP, it appears it will be renaming the game; the "branding team is already working on concepts," Gama reports. And while the-game-formerly-known-as-True-Crime-Hong-Kong was destined for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC this November, Square's not ready to even address those specifics. After the game's cancellation, the development team had to "scale back" but now that Square Enix has picked up the title, "we're ready to turn up the heat and get the team up to capacity," Singleton says.

For his part, Activision's Hirshberg tells Gama, "Our team has worked very hard to find a solution where everybody wins. 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." And while most gamers will no doubt look forward to the title's release, if only to play "Would I Have Cancelled It," Singleton reminds us that the game still needs work. "We are committed to working with the team at United Front Games and giving them the time needed to realize the full potential of the game's standout features and create a truly unique open world adventure." Now we wait to see if Square's able to release something "at the top of that genre."