Sleeping Dogs, in its later stages developed at United Front Games and eventually published by Square-Enix, originally began life at Activision as "Black Lotus", an open-world crime game with a female protagonist. However, under the belief that their predominantly male target audience would not play such a game starring a woman, management demanded that the protagonist be replaced with a man, and further tied the previously-unrelated game into the then-abandoned True Crime franchise. However, due to factors such as the abysmal critical reception and sales of the last True Crime game, True Crime: New York City, and concerns over how the game would perform in the current market, the game underwent a turbulent development cycle. Initially, the game was developed at Luxoflux, but Activision halted development, only to restart the project at United Front Games. The game was initially entitled simply "True Crime", and then changed to "True Crime: Hong Kong".
Activision cancelled the title a second time in February of 2011, and the game was subsequently picked up by Square-Enix, who made the announcement on August 1st, 2011. However, because Square-Enix did not purchase the True Crime intellectual property, the game was forced to undergo one final name change. On February 8th, 2012, Square-Enix officially announced that development had been resumed, and that the game had been renamed "Sleeping Dogs". The game was released on August 14, 2012 in the US and August 17th, 2012 in Europe and Australia.
The game tells the story of Wei Shen, an Chinese-American cop who is transferred to Hong Kong to infiltrate the Triads. According to the developers, he's based off Leonardo DiCaprio's character in the movie The Departed, which was in turn a remake of a Hong Kong movie entitled Infernal Affairs. They wanted to make a hero who got hit a lot and didn't seem invincible.
During an undercover operation Wei is arrested and taken to a holding cell where he meets an old friend, Jackie Ma, who offers Wei a job and a possible in with the Sun On Yee family. After a meeting with the Hong Kong Police Inspector, Wei agrees to take the offer in order to infiltrate the Triads, sinking deep into the machinations of one of the world's most notorious criminal organizations. Initially, Wei has to prove himself to the Sun On Yee that he is not a cop, but earns their trust. However, being arrested again, Wei is introduced to Inspector Jane Teng, whom he agrees to help with various investigations around the city outside of his undercover operation.
The game was revealed to the press at GDC 2010. In the demo given, United Front emphasized their focus on recreating the sort of action seen in Hong Kong action movies. That means that a big focus of the game will be put on melee combat and environmental moves, in combination with the game's take on parkour and free-running. The game's shooting will feature both feature a manual mode and a lock-on system, since a lock-on system will be easier to use in combination with the free-running and melee elements. Since there are former Black Box employees at United Front Games, the driving in the game will be very similar to the Need for Speed series of games.
Playing as Wei Shen the player completes various missions from both sides of the law. Depending on how you complete your mission plays a huge part on how much experience you gain from the police and triad. By completing police missions, lessening nearby environment destruction, and reducing the amount of innocent civilians killed will result in an increase to your police xp. As compared to completing triad missions and defeating your opposition in brutal ways such as environment kills will increase your triad xp. As players gain more police xp and triad xp they are given ability points which allow players to customize their players skills.
The game has on foot, free-running sequences. In these sequences, the player is chasing a criminal. As a Wei runs, he pushes people out of the way and vaults over objects. Hong Kong has been mapped in such a way that it's adapted to the game play. During these chase sequences, the player will engage in hand-to-hand combat. Wei can use his fists, as well as weapons such as knives, meat cleavers and the environment. Enemies can be pushed into TVs, have their faces run against vents and and be thrown from rooftops. The game also has a counter system where an enemy flashes red to indicate when a counter can be performed.
The melee combat is reminiscent of Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, bringing a similar timing and counter based approach to fights. The main attack button can be done in normal and heavy versions by tapping or holding to button, the counter button can (and should) be hit when an enemy is highlighted red, and the grapple button allows you to grab most enemies. Once grappled you can punch, throw, drag, or preform a variety of environmental attacks, which range from throwing in a dumpster to shoving a persons head into an incinerator. Wei also has the ability to lock onto enemies which allows for more precise and creative attack patterns. A specific side quest allows Wei to learn more combos to help him take down foes in even more ways.
The game incorporates the cell phone function that has become a feature in many open world games, most notably GTA IV. Using his phone Wei can call contacts (Triad Members, Girls, Police handlers, etc) to gain access to side/miscellaneous quests. There is also a text feature, but it always sends scripted messages that are used in the context of a mission. Wei can access the variety of CI Reports, Background info, and surveillance gatherings through the reports tab, access the social hub, and during some missions take pictures.
One of the key features of the game is known as Face. It has several passive advantages to help the player outside of combat, such as making consumables last longer, discounts, and additional contacts, but it is most obvious in combat. Dealing damage (it seems that more impressive attacks/counters will help more) will fill up the Face Meter, and once it is filled up, Wei regenerates health, intimidates enemies, and through unlocks gains additional advantages such as unblockable attacks and reduced damage. Face is upgraded through side missions and goes to level 10.
Delayed, Dead, and Delivered
In 2009, shortly after Activision put the old True Crime moniker on it, the game was delayed through 2011. Activision's Eric Hirshberg claimed the delay would pay off, focusing on making the shooting and fighting mechanics as "sophisticated" as the driving.
In the same press event that signaled the end of Guitar Hero and Tony Hawk, Activision let it slip that the nearly finished True Crime: Hong Kong was cancelled, citing fears that the game would not attain the level of quality or sales figures Activision desired. The company argued in a February 2011 financial call to analysts that "Only top-tier games can be competitive in today's market," but said little else regarding reasons behind the game's cancellation.
Players who grappled and parachuted their way through Just Cause 2 will get a little extra when Sleeping Dogs detects a save file from that game on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC: a Rico Rodriguez outfit that also boosts the player's ability to board and hijack moving vehicles from a distance.
Since the game's release, downloadable content mission packs have been released to expand the game outside the scope of the core narrative.
Nightmare in North Point
A horror-themed storyline that sees Wei Shen forced to contend with supernatural forces such as Jiang Shi; hopping vampires of Chinese folklore.
Wei Shen infiltrates a mysterious martial arts tournament being hosted on a remote island. Inspired by classic marital arts films such as Enter the Dragon, the cutscenes in the DLC are filtered to resemble old film that has been scratched and aged, and sound effects have been replaced with sounds like those heard in such films.
Year of the Snake
Wei now works for the HKPD. He comes across a cult that intends to destroy the Chinese New Year Celebration.
The Characters are listed with their respective voice actors
- Among the police files that Wei can access on his phone is a detailed account of the gruesome fate that befell the last undercover cop who tried to infiltrate the Triads, and ended up tortured extensively and buried alive. "Charles Ho", the name of the unfortunate man, was the name of the player character while the game was still part of the True Crime franchise.
It was announced in August that Sleeping Dogs would be released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sleeping Dogs Definitive Edition would come with all of the previously released downloadable content packed in. It was released on October 14th, 2014.
People who pre-ordered the definitive edition would receive a limited edition art book.
PC System Requirements
- OS: Windows Vista Service Pack 1
- Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Athlon X2 2.7 GHz
- Memory: 2GB
- Hard Disk Space: 15GB
- Video Card: DirectX 10 or 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher
- DirectX®: 10
- Sound: DirectX compatible sound card
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
- Memory: 4GB
- Hard Disk Space: 15GB
- Video Card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950
- DirectX®: 11
- Sound: DirectX compatible sound card