Sleeping Dogs
3396Sleeping Dogs Box Art
Developer(s) United Front Games
Publisher(s) Square Enix

True Crime Series

Sleeping Dogs Series

Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Windows.
Release date August 13th 2012
Genre(s) Action Adventure/Openworld
Mode(s) Single-player
Media Digital distribution (Download), Blu Ray Disk, DVD-Rom

Sleeping Dogs (Previously known as True Crime Hong Kong) is a 2012 game by United Front Games in the True Crime Series and the new Sleeping Dogs Series.

The game started development 2009 as the third title in the series, however in 2011 it was cancelled by Activision and it was replaced by Sleeping Dogs. . The games content was bought by Square Enix and published for a 2012 release. It was renamed because they did not purchase the IP. Despite this, it is still part of the True Crime series and serves as a Reboot, and is the first to be developed by a different developer.


The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including automobiles, boats, and motorcycles.

The combat system revolves around hand-to-hand fighting, similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum/Batman: Arkham City's "Freeflow" combat system.[9] The cover system allows the player to move between cover, fire blindly, aim freely, and target a specific enemy. Individual body parts can also be targeted. Regarding the driving segments, several developers had worked on previous Need for Speed titles.[10] While driving, Wei can get out and jump onto other moving vehicles.[11]

Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain content and parts of the city, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not attempting a storyline mission, players can free-roam, giving them the ability to participate in activities such as carjacking, joining a fight club, doing karaoke, visiting gambling dens betting on cockfights and participating in street races. There are also several potential girlfriends for Wei Shen to date. Successful completion of side missions offers the player rewards.[11]

Sleeping Dogs features role-playing elements with three different experience point values: Triad XP, Face XP, and Police XP. Triad XP and Police XP measure Wei's devotion to the triad and police, respectively, while Face XP is a measure of his general reputation. Clothing, accessories and vehicles are available for purchase by Wei, and have an effect on non-player characters' reactions. Sleeping Dogs tracks acquired skills in areas such as hand-to-hand combat, which improve through use in the game.[11]

Although there is no multiplayer component, the game features online stats and leaderboards so players can compare scores.


The game starts in a Shipping Harbor in Hong Kong as undercover cop Wei Shen, along with informant Naz Singh, meet with a drug buyer "Four Finger" Wu. However, a security guard sees this illicit exchange and attempts to intervene. Wu then kills the security guard and the police, who have been keeping close surveillance on them, come after all three involved in the deal. Naz and Wei both end up being arrested. While in prison, Wei meets his old friend, Jackie Mah, who has become a member of a powerful Triad called the "Sun On Yee" and offers Wei to hook up with one of its gangs after he leaves prison. Wei meets with Police Superintendent Thomas Pendrew in the interrogation room and he is assigned a handler called Raymond Mak. Wei asserts that he now has links with the Sun On Yee.

After meeting with Jackie, Wei is introduced to Winston Chu, a Sun on Yee red pole and leader of the "Water Street Gang", and his henchman, Conroy Wu, who has a particular dislike for new blood. To prove his loyalty, Winston sends Wei to the Night Market to deal with one of Winston's men, Ming, who has sided with Jade Gang Red pole and archenemy and ex-friend of Winston, Sam "Dogeyes" Lin. After reaffirming Ming's allegiances to Winston, Wei is arrested by the police, and bailed out after Superintendent Pendrew affirms his superiority over Police Inspector Jane Teng.

Wei then starts accepting jobs for Winston. From bus rackets, to taking over a local club that is once the property of the Jade Gang. After Wei successfully arrests one of the Sun on Yee's drug dealers, The Water Street Gang suspected Wei to be undercover with convinces from Ming noting that since Wei is the last person that interacted with Popstar, Wei is also the one that led to his arrest. Wei fortunately manage to convince Winston that Ming is still sided with the Jade Gang after mentioning that the Sun on Yee's drug dealer is gone but Ming is still supplying the city with drugs. Wei is then tasked by Raymond to plant a bug on the kitchen of the Golden Koi which is one of the Water Street Gang's meeting place.

Wei receives a call from one of the club's hostess Tiffany Kim. When he arrived at the scene, Tiffany gave Wei a gun which she received from Charlie Peng, a member of the Jade Gang. Wei calls Raymond and offer to give the gun as a lead. However, when he arrived ar the meeting place, he found Pendrew instead. After a short gunfight demonstration. Pendrew shot a dead Triad member in a car noting that it will help them nail Charlie Peng.

Winston then decided to take the offensive by attacking one of the Jade Gang's warehouses near the harbor. However, doing so will displease the chairman and Dragon Head David Wa-Lin Po. Wei convinced Winston to spare one of Jade's major drug dealer Siu Wah and give the chairman a bigger cut than what he is getting from Dogeyes and the Jade Gang. Wei successfully does so and he earned the trust of Conroy and the rest of the water street gang.

Winston Is the contacted by Uncle Po And his advisor Pockmark Cheuk asking him to bring Wei with him to their meeting. Winston gets provoked and tells Wei that "if anything happens to me, take care of our people okay?" (indicating that Wei is Winston's choice of becoming the next Red Pole of the Water Street Gang.) They then meet with Uncle Po and Wei is then tasked of doing a few jobs for him. Winston then asked Wei to help his fiancée Peggy Li prepare for their wedding.

During the wedding day, the Sun on Yee is attacked by a rival triad gang known as 18K led by gunman Johnny Ratface. Amidst the fighting, Winston and Peggy were shot dead and Uncle Po is critically wounded. Wei carried Uncle Po outside the church and into a nearby hospital. However, he is forced to leave Uncle Po because he is in danger of getting arrested by the police which is called in by a reception nurse.

Wei, recognizing Johnny's features told Mrs. chu that he will find out who is responsible for the gunning. Mrs. Chu refused and offered Wei to bring him to the restaurant and to her. Wei successfully does so and Mrs. Chu tortures him and squeezed the information out of him before cutting him into pieces and making Johnny a soup literally.

Wei and his gang is then visited by Ponytail, an enforcer working for Henry "Big Smile" Lee. Ponytail offered Wei to give Lee a great protion of their territory in exchange of letting them continue to operate. Wei refuses and this led to a shootout in a club. Wei and Jackie then chased Ponytail in a car chase around town. Which led to the two vehicles crashing. Wei chases Ponytail in an overpass and into the rooftops until Poyntail and Wei engaging in a fist fight but with Ponytail escaping and vowing to get back at Wei.


Sleeping Dogs features a large cast. The player character is Wei Shen (Will Yun Lee), an officer sent deep undercover in a feared Triad gang. Other important characters are Police Inspector Pendrew (Tom Wilkinson), Wei's police handler Raymond Mak (Byron Mann), Wei's childhood friend and low-level Triad member Jakie Mah (Edison Chen), and Triad boss "Red Pole" Winston Chu (Parry Shen).

Further characters include Uncle Po (James Hong), Amanda Cartwright (Emma Stone), Conroy Wu (Robin Shou), Vivienne Lu (Lucy Liu), Henry "Big Smile" Lee (Tzi Ma), Inspector Jane Teng (Kelly Hu), Peggy Li (Lindsay Price), Sonny Wo (Chin Han), and Sandra (Steph Song). Yunjin Kim, and Terence Yin provide voices for undisclosed roles.[12][13]


The game takes place in a fictional Hong Kong with players assuming control of Detective Wei Shen, an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, who had been seconded to the Hong Kong Police Force. Wei has been assigned by the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau to go undercover and infiltrate the Triad society called Sun On Yee and take them down. There are two subplots contained within the main storyline. The first is Wei's personal struggle between completing his mission as a police officer, and having to commit crimes to prove his worth to the triad. The other subplot consists of completing the missions set out by a triad lieutenant, such as killing triad members who are loyal to competing lieutenants. The island is divided into four fictional districts which are named after real areas.[14]


True Crime: New York City was met with mixed reviews and did not meet sales expectations. Although a True Crime 3 was said to be in production, these low sales numbers for New York City made Activision cancel a third game and focus on other titles.[15]No mention of another True Crime game was made for several years. Work on an open worldaction-adventure video game began in 2008 by United Front Games, almost immediately after United Front Games was formed.[16] The game was meant to be a completely original IP, however Activision (the publisher) decided that the True Crime name would help the game sell, so it then became True Crime: Hong Kong.[17] Then, on December 12, 2009, Activision debuted the announcement trailer for the series third game, simply titled True Crime, at theSpike Video Game Awards 2009. The trailer confirmed that Activision would be publishing and that a new developer, United Front Games, would be developing in place of traditionalTrue Crime developer Luxoflux, largely due to the studio being closed in February 2010.[18]

On August 6, 2010, it was announced that the game would be delayed until 2011 to give more development time.[19] According to Activision CEO, Eric Hirshberg, who’s assured that the August delay of True Crime: Hong Kong had greatly "paid off." "The additional development time invested in this game has really paid off. We wanted to make the gameplay mechanics for the fighting and shooting as sophisticated as the driving, which is something that’s very hard to achieve in the open-world genre," said Hirshberg.[20]

On February 9, 2011, Activision decided to cancel the game, in order to focus on online games that have a higher margin.[21][22] The game was declared cancelled for being "just not good enough" to compete in the open world genre. Even with its most optimistic projections, said the firm, it couldn't see True Crime reaching the top of the open-world genre.[23][24] Activision didn't expect True Crimeto generate enough profit and stopped development.[25][26] United Front Games announced their disappointment on their website: "We are sorry we did not get a chance to complete this project with Activision, but we understand why. We are both committed to doing quality games and nothing less. Maybe we will have a chance to work together in the future, but in the meantime we are setting our creative sights on a different horizon."[27] The game's executive producer Stephen Van Der Mescht told Computer and Video Gamesthat True Crime: Hong Kong was playable from start to finish and "virtually complete" in terms of content before Activision canned it.[28]Despite Activision's low expectations, Van Der Mescht said the game "stood apart" from the competition.[28]

On June 22, 2011, Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg explained the reason for the decision, stating that the game’s development budget and delays were, in a sense, also a contributing factor in its cancellation.[29] "The market changed dramatically since the game was first greenlit", Hirshberg said. "Back then, it was possible for more titles with such a large scope as True Crime: Hong Kong to find sizeable audiences". However, according to the CEO, competition has become stiffer and now only the top games end up being successes.[30] Hirshberg didn't foresee True Crime: Hong Kong becoming a blockbuster on the scale of a Grand Theft Auto, and without blockbuster potential, it didn't make sense to compete.[31] </p>

Rights acquired by Square EnixEdit

"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."

—Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg about the publishing rights

[32]On August 2, 2011, Square Enix picked up the publishing rights to the game. Square Enix will still be working with United Front Games on True Crime, but the game will be renamed as Square Enix did not pick up the True Crime IP.[33] "When we first saw and got our hands on the game we fell in love with it," Square Enix London Studios general manager Lee Singleton told Gamasutra. "It's one of those games where you don't want to put the controller down; it's what we call 'sticky'," Singleton added. "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."[32] United Front Games' President Stefan Wessels stated he is excited and "really pleased to be working with Square Enix London Studios and their excitement on the game means a great deal to us".[34]

Reports of the rename Sleeping Dogs surfaced following a Sony retailer event in February 2012. No information had been released publicly by Square Enix, but numerous reports from the Destination PlayStation event indicate that the game will be released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in August 2012.[6] Following U.S. online retailer Future Shop Gamer published an image, which looked a lot like True Crime: Hong Kong, but with the Sleeping Dogs logo.[35] A Sleeping Dogs trademark by Square Enix was spotted January 2012, mistakenly associated with a new entry in the Kane & Lynch franchise.[6]

Following the reports, Square Enix revealed that True Crime: Hong Kong is now Sleeping Dogs. The announcement was accompanied by a live action trailer and several in-game screenshots. Square Enix London Studios general manager Lee Singleton stated thatSleeping Dogs "has one of the best melee combat systems out there".[36] The developers stated that the game's fighting system was inspired by Tony Jaa's film Tom-Yum-Goong.[37] Design director Mike Scupa said that Sleeping Dogs is "not as large as previous True Crime games", and the team focused instead on "gameplay density" and an "environment that really catered to the strength of our gameplay".[38]

In May 2012, Mike Fischer, president and chief executive of Square Enix US, said Activision was "crazy" to abandon True Crime: Hong Kong.[39]


Prior to release, United Front Games relied heavily on viral marketing.Sleeping Dogs was promoted through the use of numerous Internet and TV trailers. Monthly videos were posted on the company's official website and on YouTube offering fans a preview of upcoming content.[42] To keep in touch with fans during development, social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter were utilized by members of the game's production team.[43][44]Sleeping Dogs appeared at game conventions with its own booth, including at Game Developers Conference '12,[45] PAX East,[46] MCM London Comic Con,[47] E3,[48] Comic Con[49] and Gamescom.[50]

On April 13, 2012, Square Enix revealed North American pre-order bonuses for Best Buy, GameStop, and Amazon shoppers. Each chain offered up its own exclusive in-game content for the retail versions of the game. Best Buy is offered the "Georges St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", GameStop offered the "Police Protection Pack", and Amazon offered the "Martial Arts Pack".[51] A Limited Edition of the game was available at all UK games retailers for consumers who pre-ordered, which includes the "George St. Pierre (GSP) Pack" and "Police Protection Pack".[4] A special edition for Australia was available at EB Games and JB Hi-Fi, and carry the same price tag as the standard edition, but will be limited stock only. The special edition includes the "George St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", the "Police Protection Pack" and the "Martial Arts Pack".[1]

On August 3, 2012, information on cross-promotional content for the PC version of Sleeping Dogs was posted on the game's official website. Players who purchase the game on Steam will obtain the "Triad Pack" for Team Fortress 2, consisting of eight battle-type items. Other players can also purchase the items in the in-game store, and a new Hong Kong-themed map, Kong King, will be available for all players.[52][53][54]

Anyone who has a save file for Just Cause 2 on their Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC hard drive will have automatic access to an outfit similar to that of protagonist Rico Rodriguez's; the clothes set will be available as soon as the player gets a chance to visit Wei Shen's safehouse closet. The Rodriquez-inspired ensemble will offer a bonus to players' action hijack ability, allowing them to perform "stunt-style takeovers" of enemy vehicles from farther away.[55]

A demo of the game was released on Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on August 22, 2012, one week after the game's launch.[56][57][58]


For the first time in the series, Sleeping Dogs garnered generally positive reviews. Aggregating review websitesGameRankings and Metacritic gave the PC version 86.14% and 84/100,[66][69] thePlayStation 3 version 82.81% and 82/100[67][70] and the Xbox 360 version 80.86% and 80/100.[68][71]

Official PlayStation Magazine UK awarded it 9 out of 10. Editor Ben Wilson describes the game as "the best bits of a load of games you love pooled together with intelligence and humour." Wilson concluded with "It's unquestionably 2012's most brilliantly brutal surprise, and you're duty-bound to check it out".[83]

The second review was published by Official Xbox Magazine UK, who also awarded it 9 out of 10, and stated "A gripping vision of Hong Kong which sports majestic driving, a sharp, well-acted storyline and varied missions," only reserving criticism for the length of the main story which he considered to be too short.[84]

In the September 2012 issue of Game Informer, Sleeping Dogs received a 7.75 out of 10 rating with magazine editor Dan Ryckert citing issues such as a lack of story mission creativity, "stiff facial animations" during cutscenes, "cookie-cutter" shooting mechanics, and developmental bugs that impede game progression. However, Ryckert did compliment the overall game graphics as well as the combat, leveling-up, and driving systems.[76]


Sleeping Dogs was the best selling game in the United Kingdom in the week of its release, becoming the fifth-best first week sales of 2012.[86]