Given publisher Square Enix’s volatile temperament at the moment, we’re more than a little concerned by some reports filtering out of Sleeping Dogs developer United Front Games. Apparently, the Canadian studio has been struck by a round of layoffs, following the cancellation of an "action adventure" game.

Seasoned snoop Superannuation picked up on the casualties, courtesy of a collection of recently refreshed resumes. While the studio’s crime epic isn’t explicitly mentioned in any of the documents, the Japanese company singled out Wei Shen’s adventure as an underperformer in a recent financial report. It also said this week that it was making big changes to its development policy. Could an in-development sequel have been whacked in the process?

Not long ago, ousted company gaffer Yoichi Wada stated that the Sleeping Dogs franchise could become one of the publisher’s strongest brands, but with the executive out on his ear, and the open world adventure selling below expectations, the outlook appears grim for the series’ future. The silver lining (if there is one in the whole sorry scenario), is that many of the layoffs appeared to come from the LittleBigPlanet Karting team, meaning that they may be linked to an unrelated project.

We always thought that United Front Games' open world adventure had a tremendous opportunity to grow on next generation platforms. However, regardless of the franchise's future, our thoughts go out to all of those currently without a job. Have a pork bun on us, folks.

[via kotaku.com]