Following the closure of Sleeping Dogs developer United Front Games in October, new details have emerged of the sequel that might have been.
The original Sleeping Dogs had a notoriously rough development, beginning life as True Crime: Hong Kong under Activision, before being picked up and rebranded by Square-Enix.
Released in late 2012, the game followed an undercover police officer, Wei Shen, in Hong Kong as he sought to bring down the Triads that blighted the city. Despite strong reviews, the game failed to match Square-Enix’s expectations, and although a spin-off multiplayer game called Triad Wars entered development, the series seemed to languish.
A recent report by Waypoint, however, reveals that a sequel was pitched by United Front Games in early 2013 before ultimately being cancelled later that same year without ever entering active development. The report goes on to detail some of the features that the development team had planned for Sleeping Dogs 2.
Although Wei Shen would remain the protagonist, he was to be joined by a corrupt partner in Henry Fang, and the setting would expand to incorporate not just Hong Kong but the megalopolis of the Pearl River Delta (though the report fails to specify which cities or regions that would include). In keeping with the expanded scope, the story would branch, forcing players to choose between playing as Shen or Fang for certain missions while the other character performed their own tasks. In addition, players would have been able to arrest any NPC in the world, though the effects of this are not mentioned.
Perhaps the biggest change to the original formula, and a rather novel idea within games in general, is that the game was billed as being “massively single player”, with player actions being monitored by the cloud in order to determine the crime levels and city dynamics in other people’s games.
Finally, interactivity within the game would further be bolstered by a mobile/tablet app from which players would be able to control the police force.
Although this version of the game is, more than likely, long-buried, one of Waypoint’s sources theorises that Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider) or another of Square-Enix’s more experienced studios may have the opportunity to make Sleeping Dogs 2 at some point in the future, and we’ll be watching out for it.
OnlySP reviewed Sleeping Dogs on its original release, giving it 9/10 and saying, “it isn’t without shortcomings, but when you consider that this is a debut outing from a studio that hasn’t created a game like this before you realise that this is more than just a very strong game in its own right. Like the original Assassin’s Creed, this is a great foundation for a future franchise.”