Sleeping Dogs (video game)

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Sleeping Dogs
Cover art
Sleeping Dogs cover art
Developer(s) United Front Games
Square Enix London Studios
Publisher(s) Square Enix
Namco Bandai Games (Australia, New Zealand)[1]
Director(s) Roger Donaldson
Producer(s) Jeff O'Connell
Feargus Carroll
Designer(s) Mike Skupa
Programmer(s) Dave Roberts
Artist(s) Hani Abu-Ghazaleh
Joshua Lee
Writer(s) Jacob Krarup
Tim Carter
Composer(s) Jeff Tymoschuk[2]
Series Sleeping Dogs
Engine Proprietary engine with Havok physics
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, OnLive
Release date(s) NA August 13, 2012 (Steam)

NA August 14, 2012[3]
AU August 16, 2012[1]
EU August 17, 2012[4]
JP September 27, 2012[5]

Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, download

Sleeping Dogs is an open world action-adventure video game, developed by United Front Games in collaboration with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. It was released on 14 August 2012 in North America, 16 August 2012 in Australia, 17 August 2012 in Europe, and on 27 September 2012 in Japan.

The game's story is set in a fictionalized Hong Kong, and the player learns about Wei Shen, an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, on assignment duty at the Hong Kong Police Force. Wei is assigned by the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau to go undercover, infiltrate the Triad society, gather information on Sun On Yee (the equivalent of the real-life Sun Yee On) and destroy them. Sleeping Dogs lets players freely roam an open world Hong Kong, and features several side activities, such as fight clubs, street races, drug busts amongst others.

The game was released as an original title, but was originally meant as the third installment to the True Crime Series. In 2009, the title was announced as True Crime: Hong Kong. As a result of the game's high development budget and delays, it was canceled by Activision Blizzard in 2011. Six months later, Square Enix was announced to have picked up the publishing rights of the game and renamed it Sleeping Dogs, without a relation to True Crime.

The game received very positive reviews, especially for its story, combat, voice acting, sound design and the its depiction of Hong Kong, but was criticized for its graphics and stiff animations. Sleeping Dogs was a commercial success, selling 1.5 million copies in less than 1 year of its release. Several downloadable content packs of the game have been released, such as "Nightmare in North Point", "The Zodiac Tournament", and "Year of the Snake". A sequel, titled Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars, is currently being developed.


The game features several "environmental kills" and lets players use a selected number of objects featured in the environment like fish tanks, ice chippers amongst others to defeat the enemies.

Sleeping Dogs is an action-adventure game viewed from a third-person perspective. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, infiltrating the Sun On Yee Triad organization - named after the real life Sun Yee On - as an undercover. The first missions of the game are linear, serving as a tutorial for the moves and approaches available to the player. Once the player finishes the opening missions, he can freely explore the game world, undertaking side-missions and several other activities that are available, though some areas remain inaccessible until certain milestones in the main story are achieved. Wei, a martial arts expert, can run, jump, climb over obstacles, swim, as well as use weapons in combat, and drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats and motorcycles.[citation needed]

The game's melee combat is heavily inspired by Batman: Arkham Asylum's "Freeflow" combat system, consisting of three main buttons: attack, grab and counter, which are chained together with the player's movements to form combat maneuvers. Defeating enemies fills up the player's "Face Meter", which fills faster when the player defeats enemies with a variety of moves fastly. When full, the player's screen will turn yellowish, Wei will be healed, his attacks will deal greater damage as well as other benefits when the player is upgraded. The meter also fills up faster when the player eliminates enemies using environmental attacks. Environmental attacks are performed by grabbing an enemy and dragging him to an object which is glowing red. After reaching that object, the game prompts the player to press a button, and by dong so, an environmental attack is initiated which can instantly eliminate the enemy regardless of his health. The player can also use melee weapons. The game also features ranged combat using a cover system.[citation needed]

Although campaign missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain content and access certain parts of the city, players can complete them at their leisure. When not playing through a mission, players can free-roam an open world Hong Kong, and can participate in various activities such as car-jacking, joining a fight club, sing karaoke, visit gambling dens, bet on cockfights and participate in street races. There are also several potential girlfriends for Wei Shen to date. The successful completion of the side missions offers the player rewards.[6]

Sleeping Dogs features role-playing elements with three different experience point values: Triad XP, Face XP, and Police XP. Triad XP focuses on melee combat, gained through violent actions such as environmental kills. Face XP focuses on Wei's Face Meter and cosmetic features such as clothing and vehicles, gained through civilian side missions. Police XP focuses on ranged combat, gained through minimizing civilian casualties and property damage in missions and completing police side missions. Clothing, accessories and vehicles are available for purchase by Wei, and have an effect on non-player characters' reactions. The players can also collect lost Jade statues which are used to upgrade the Melee Skill Tree, unlocking new fighting moves. Sleeping Dogs tracks the acquired skills in areas such as hand-to-hand combat which improve through experience and their usage in the game.[6]

Although there is no multiplayer component, the game features online stats and leaderboards so players can compare scores. Through various activities such as fights, races, driving etc., the player can accumulate Stat Awards. When an activity starts, a window appears at the bottom right of the screen and the progress is displayed, sometimes together with the previous record. Every Stat Award has 3 levels: bronze, silver and gold. the awards unlock several capabilities and can be viewed from the Social Hub menu.[7]

The interface of the game features a circular mini-map on the bottom-left corner of the screen that displays a small map of the city and key locations (safe houses and contact points) or targets. Wei's health is shown by a semicircular meter on the left side of the mini-map, while another one on the right represents his face, which allows Wei to regenerate life during fighting when its full, then empties after a short time. When Wei is armed, an icon of his weapon and ammo count are represented on the top-right corner of the screen.[citation needed]



The game takes place in modern day Hong Kong, with players assuming control of Wei Shen, an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, on duty at the Hong Kong Police Force with a mission to infiltrate the Triad society and destroy them.

There are two sub-plots 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 sub-plot consists of completing missions set out by a Triad lieutenant such as killing Triad members loyal to the competing lieutenants. The island is divided into four fictional districts which are named after real areas.[8]


Sleeping Dogs features a large cast with the main protagonist being Detective Wei Shen (Will Yun Lee). The other important characters are Police Superintendent Thomas Pendrew (Tom Wilkinson), Wei's police handler Raymond Mak (Byron Mann), Wei's childhood friend and low-level Triad member Jackie Ma (Edison Chen), and Triad boss "red pole" Winston Chu (Parry Shen).

Further characters include David Wai-Lin "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), Jiang (Elizabeth Sung), Naz Singh (TJ Ramini), Sammy "Dogeyes" Lin (Ron Yuan), Peggy Li (Lindsay Price), Sonny Wo (Chin Han), Sandra (Steph Song), Tiffany Kim (Yunjin Kim), Not Ping (Celina Jade), Ilyana (Megan Goldsmith) and Ming (Terence Yin).[9][10]


The game starts in Victoria Harbour, where the drug smuggler, Wei Shen, is busted after a deal gone bad. Thrown into jail, Wei meets his old friend Jackie Ma, who offers to introduce Wei to the members of the Sun On Yee Triad once they are released. Wei meets with Superintendent Thomas Pendrew and another police officer, Raymond Mak; Wei, it is revealed, is an undercover police officer, and the bust was staged to allow him to make contact with Jackie. Jackie introduces him to Winston Chu, a Sun On Yee "red pole" (local leader) and a leader of the Water Street Gang, at Winston's headquarters, the Golden Koi restaurant, owned by his mother. Winston sends Wei on various missions to seize back territory from a rival red pole, Sam "Dogeyes" Lin, leader of the Jade Gang. During one mission to make an example of one of Winston's thugs, Ming, Wei is arrested by Inspector Jane Teng, but Pendrew bails him out by revealing Wei's identity to Teng.

After Dogeyes attacks the Golden Koi, Winston retaliates with an attack on one of Dogeyes's warehouses. Wei convinces Winston to spare Dogeyes's drug maker Siu Wah to avoid the wrath of the Sun On Yee leader, Uncle Po. Wei destroys the warehouse and captures Siu Wah, fully earning the trust of the Water Street Gang. When Winston is summoned by Uncle Po, Wei reports on the meeting to Raymond, his police handler, who is concerned that Wei is becoming "one of them".

At Winston's wedding, the Sun On Yee is attacked by a rival Triad gang, the 18K. Winston and his bride are shot dead by 18K member Johnny Ratface and Uncle Po is critically wounded, but Wei manages to get him to the hospital. As a reward for saving his life, Uncle Po promotes Wei to the rank of red pole, succeeding Winston as leader of the Water Street Gang. At the request of Winston's mother, Mrs. Chu, Wei captures Johnny, who confesses that Dogeyes was behind the wedding massacre. Wei captures Dogeyes and delivers him to Mrs. Chu, who kills him.

When fellow Sun On Yee red pole, Henry "Big Smile" Lee, attempts to take over the Water Street Gang's territory, Wei resists, and instead, agrees to an alliance with red pole "Broken Nose" Jiang. During a meeting with the other red poles and a hospitalized Uncle Po, Jiang nominates Po's nephew "Two Chin" Tsao as temporary Sun On Yee leader, to prevent Lee nominating himself. At Jiang's request, Wei sabotages Tsao's residence to make him appear incompetent to lead, limiting the number of candidates to succeed Po as chairman to two, Jiang and Lee. When Uncle Po suddenly dies, Wei is told by Pendrew that his undercover duties are over, thinking if Lee assumes leadership of the Sun On Yee, matters will be worse than they were under Uncle Po, but Wei protests.

Furious at Wei's insubordination, Pendrew is complicit in an attack on the Sun On Yee at Uncle Po's funeral. He then reveals Wei's identity to Lee, who attempts to lure Wei out by having Jackie kidnapped, buried alive, tortured and brutally murdered. Distraught, Wei is attacked and captured by the Sun On Yee torture master Mr. Tong. Wei manages to escape, killing Tong and his enforcers before hunting down Lee. After a long, arduous chase, Wei corners Lee and kills him by shoving him headfirst into an ice chipper. Raymond congratulates Wei on a case well done, but informs him that Pendrew is being promoted to Interpol and cannot be touched for providing information to Lee.

The following day, Wei receives a package from Jiang addressed to "Officer Shen". Inside, Wei finds a video of Pendrew murdering Uncle Po at the hospital to permanently conceal their prior relationship; Po gave Pendrew high ranking Triad members, gaining Pendrew, a promotion and Po, a dramatic rise in power. With the evidence, Wei gets Pendrew sentenced to life in prison, knowing he will not survive long in a place filled with Triad members he has put away throughout his career. Later, while Wei meets with Teng, he is unwittingly observed by Jiang. She tells her fellow Triads to leave Wei alone as he has proved his loyalty to her, "one way or another".


System requirements
Minimum Recommended
Operating system Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
CPU Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz or Althon X2 2.7 GHz Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
Memory 2GB 4GB
Hard drive 15GB
Graphics hardware DirectX 10 or 11 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950
Sound hardware DirectX compatible sound card

The development of Sleeping Dogs began a couple of months after the developer, United Front Games, started the business. The game started out as part of no series, but was then attached to the True Crime series by publisher Activision, after having noticed similarities between the two parties. The game was announced in 2009 as True Crime: Hong Kong, the third entry and reboot of the True Crime series. However, subsequent to the announcement, the publisher, Activision, cancelled the title in 2011 due to the game's high development budget and delays. Six months later, Square Enix obtained the publishing rights for the game, and renamed it Sleeping Dogs, without a relation to True Crime. It was later revealed that Square Enix did not pick up name rights for True Crime: Hong Kong, hence the title change. Sleeping Dogs was released worldwide in late 2012 and was both a critical and commercial success.

United Front Games underwent several changes during the development of the game. The team of 180 employees at the time the publisher Activision cancelled the title, dwindled to 60 people almost overnight. After Square Enix picked up the publishing rights for the game, 60 more people were hired, and by the time Sleeping Dogs was released, the team had 120 employees.[12]


The game's depiction of Hong Kong was universally acclaimed by critics. Reviewers praised the authenticity and charm of the city, which was considered a welcome departure from the likes of Liberty City (Grand Theft Auto IV), and Steelport (Saints Row: The Third).[13]

The Developer, United Front Games, selected the venue as Hong Kong and made it an open world game as they suited the story, gameplay and overall experience that the developers wanted to create in Sleeping Dogs.[14] In designing the setting of the game, several team members went down to Hong Kong to research the city and gather photo references that were brought back to the team in Vancouver. The art leads spent seven days in the city and took more than 20,000 photos that were used as an inspiration for the buildings, characters, vehicles, signs and props that populated the world of the game.[14] They also walked around on foot to experience the older parts of the city as well as the new.

"We went to a few night markets, clubs, malls and talked to many of the locals. Some of the guys met with a few ex-Triad members and came back with a lot of horrid stories that inspired certain aspects of the narrative and characters in the game",

stated the game's art director Hani Ghazaleh in an interview.[14]


One of the goals the developer, United Front Games, had in Sleeping Dogs, was to capture the essence of Hong Kong from an audio point of view. In order to do that, some of the team's staff spent 2 weeks in the city, mainly to oversee the first dialogue sessions that were conducted there.[15] Those sessions would be the team's focus on the weekdays, and on the weekends, they would travel around the city with their audio recording equipment and capture soundscapes and ambient noises.

"We recorded crowds at the Lady’s Market which we used in the game as the crowd sounds for the Night Market. We also recorded ambient sounds around Victoria Peak, karaoke bars (local ones that played traditional Chinese music), street musicians, protesters, the harbour, a Mah Jong den and busy streets",

stated the game's audio director, Saki Kaskamanidis in an interview.[15] He added:

Sometimes I would close my eyes and just listen. I was trying to hear if the city sounded any different. I found that the only significant differences I was able to detect were in the language that people spoke in and, sometimes, the music that would play from some food stall or open window. Otherwise it sounded like any other city to me… but then again, most cities sound the same to me; brake squeals, engines running, horns honking, brakes squealing… the universal sounds of a city! But it’s always the people, their languages and their cultures that provide the uniqueness of a location. Wildlife too sometimes… but I digress.[15]

Dialogue was also one of the team's biggest focuses while developing the game. In the early stages of development, the dialogue was recorded in Los Angeles by Asian actors who were natives from the area, but was later scrapped when the developers decided to re-record all of it in Hong Kong.[15] The team had a contact in Hong Kong by the name of Eddie Cheung, who runs a business named Drum Music, a recording facility that specializes in music composition and dialogue production. He provided the castings for the team during the development, which was done remotely; the team sent him the scripts from Vancouver, and he sent the recordings back to the them.[15] from which the developers chose the ones they liked best and discarded the unfit parts.

"It was a bit strange reviewing Cantonese dialogue… but you can always detect quality acting through a person’s performance. We needed a lot of screaming, yelling and swearing",

said Karkamanidis. The team also had constant debates over which language, the ambient dialogues would be in. Some of the developers were pushing for English, since most gamers wouldn't understand Cantonese. But regardless, the team eventually decided that most of the ambient dialogues to be in Cantonese from Hong Kong, as it better suited the setting, as well as more immersive to the players.[15]


While most tracks found on the in-game radio stations are from little known independent artists, several notable songs such as: "Take On Me" by A-Ha (pictured), and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper are present in the karaoke mini-game.

One of the most well-received aspects of Sleeping Dogs is the music found in the game. United Front Games hired Joe Best as the producer who was responsible for getting the soundtrack put into the in-game radio stations. One of the key things the developers wanted to do, was to approach specific music labels and get them on board to give a real sense of identity to the radio stations and to "really instil a bit of cool into the game." Initially, all the Asian in-game radio stations were in place, but that necessitated a lot of licensing for the existing tracks to be rebuilt.[16] the publisher, Square Enix, suggested the team to approach Tsunami Music, in order to license the tracks they wanted. Tsunami's approach was to get a package deal; to license record labels and name each station after a label so each station's music selection contains music from that label.[16] Individual track selection was an agreement between producer Joe Best, Tsunami Music and United Front Games. The developers had a shortlist of songs they wanted, but they had to negotiate and approve each tracks from record labels.

Every radio station in the game also features fictional DJ's (voice actors), who were hand-picked by the developers in order to keep in theme with the environment and the themes in the plot.

"We didn't want to go with just plain music, we wanted to add DJs to the radio stations; but we also had to be very clear with our choices because we didn't want to get to the point where there was a level of parody with the radio stations",

stated producer Joe Best.[16] The team wanted to find a voice actor who had an accent and feel that reflected the actual style of music for each station. In some occasions, real DJs were used in the game, like DJ Kerrang.[16]

Radio stations in Sleeping Dogs
Name Genre
Boosey & Hawkes Classical music, opera
Daptones Radio Funk, soul
Kerrang! Radio Indie rock
Ninja Tune Radio Electronic music
Real FM Hip hop
Roadrunner Records Metal
Sagittarius FM Classic rock, new wave
Warp Radio Electronic music
H-Klub Radio Hong Kong hip hop
Softly Soft music

Under Activision[edit]

True Crime: New York City was met with mixed reviews and did not meet the sales expectations. Although a True Crime 3 was said to be in production, the low sales numbers for New York City made the publisher Activision cancel a third game and focus on other titles.[17] and no mention of another True Crime game was made for several years. The work on an open world action-adventure video game began in 2008 by United Front Games, almost immediately after United Front Games was formed.[18] The game was meant to be a completely original IP codenamed Black Lotus,[19] however, Activision decided that the True Crime name would help the game sell, so the game was named True Crime: Hong Kong.[20][21] On 12 December 2009, Activision debuted the announcement trailer for the third game of the series, simply titled True Crime, at the Spike Video Game Awards 2009. The trailer confirmed that Activision would be publishing and that a new developer, United Front Games, would be developing the game, in place of Luxoflux, the developer of the first two True Crime games, as Luxoflux was being closed in February 2010.[22]

On 6 August 2010, it was announced that the game would be delayed until 2011 to give more development time.[23] Part of this development phase included bringing in Hollywood action editor Tony Ciccone to consult with the project animators on the cinematics as well as the visual identity of the game. According to Activision CEO, Eric Hirshberg, who assured that the delay of True Crime: Hong Kong had greatly "paid off". Hirshberg said,

"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."[24]

Activision decided to cancel the game on 9 February 2011, in order to focus on online games that have a higher margin.[25][26] 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 could not see True Crime reaching the top of the open-world genre.[27][28][29][30] 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."[31]

The game's executive producer Stephen Van Der Mescht said True Crime: Hong Kong was playable from start to finish and "virtually complete" in terms of content before Activision canceled it.[32] Despite Activision's low expectations, Van Der Mescht said the game "stood apart" from the competition.[32] On 22 June 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 for its cancellation.[33]

"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 only the top games end up being successes.[34] Hirshberg did not foresee True Crime: Hong Kong becoming a blockbuster on the scale of a Grand Theft Auto, and without blockbuster potential, he did not feel it made good business sense.[35]

Under Square Enix[edit]

"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[36]

On 2 August 2011, Square Enix picked up the publishing rights to the game[37] and announced they would still be working with United Front Games on True Crime, but the game had to be renamed since Square Enix did not pick up the True Crime intellectual property.[38] Lee Singleton, General Manager of Square Enix London Studios said:

"When we first saw and got our hands on the game we fell in love with it. It's one of those games where you don't want to put the controller down; it's what we call 'sticky'. 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."[36]

The president of United Front Games, Stefan Wessels, stated he was excited and "really pleased to be working with Square Enix London Studios and their excitement on the game means a great deal to us."[39]

Reports of the renamed Sleeping Dogs surfaced following a Sony retailer event in February 2012. Though no official announcement was made by Square Enix, numerous reports from the Destination PlayStation event indicated that the game would be released on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in August 2012.[40] Canadian retailer Future Shop published an image which had similarities to True Crime: Hong Kong, but with the Sleeping Dogs logo.[41] A Sleeping Dogs trademark by Square Enix was spotted in January 2012, mistakenly associated with a new entry in the Kane & Lynch franchise.[40]

Following the reports, Square Enix announced that True Crime: Hong Kong was renamed as Sleeping Dogs, accompanied by a live action trailer and several in-game screenshots. Lee Singleton, Square Enix London Studios General Manager, stated that Sleeping Dogs "has one of the best melee combat systems out there."[42] The developers stated that the game's fighting system was inspired by Tony Jaa's film Tom-Yum-Goong.[43] 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."[44]

In May 2012, Mike Fischer, President and Chief Executive of Square Enix US, said Activision was "crazy" to abandon True Crime: Hong Kong, stating:

"The game was, in a sense, discovered. I'm making air quotes: 'discovered' by the folks in Wimbledon. The minute they showed it to us, we really felt like we had found a diamond in the rough. Obviously the game was originally True Crime: Hong Kong from Activision. I can't speak to why they let that go. I'm not going to speculate on their behalf. All I know is, they've gotta be crazy. Because this game is just fantastic."[45]

Square Enix also pushed for an optimized port for the PC version of the game.[46] The PC version is validated to support AMD's multi-monitor-technology Eyefinity.[47]

Marketing and release[edit]

The game was released in North America on 14 August 2012,[3] followed on 16 August in Australia,[1] and 17 August in most of Europe.[4] The release in Japan was on 27 September 2012, where it was released under the title Sleeping Dogs: Hong Kong Secret Police (スリーピングドッグス 香港秘密警察?).[5][48] The Japanese version of the game was censored to pass the classification by the Japanese ratings board CERO. The most noticeable is a penalty for attacking civilians during certain missions. The other tweaks include the removal of a character that signals the start of a street race, and a less graphic sex scene.[49] The German version has also been censored to pass the classification by the USK. In addition, the German release date was delayed by several weeks.[50]

Prior to the 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.[51] 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.[52][53] Sleeping Dogs also appeared at game conventions with its own booth, including at Game Developers Conference '12,[54] PAX East,[55] MCM London Comic Con,[56] E3,[57] Comic Con[58] and Gamescom.[59]

On 13 April 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 offered the "Georges St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", GameStop offered the "Police Protection Pack", and Amazon offered the "Martial Arts Pack".[60] A Limited Edition of the game was available at all UK games retailers for consumers who pre-ordered, which included 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 carried the same price tag as the standard edition, but on limited stock only. The special edition included the "George St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", the "Police Protection Pack" and the "Martial Arts Pack".[1]

On 3 August 2012, information on cross-promotional content for the PC version of Sleeping Dogs was posted on the game's official website. The players who purchase the game on Steam are given the "Triad Pack" for Team Fortress 2, consisting of eight battle-type items. The other players can also purchase the items in the in-game store, and a new Hong Kong-themed map, Kong King, is available for all players.[61][62][63]

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 offers a bonus to the players' action hijack ability, allowing them to perform "stunt-style takeovers" of enemy vehicles from farther away.[64]

A demo of the game was released on Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live on 22 August 2012, one week after the game's launch.[65][66][67] A HD version of the game is set to be released on the Playstation 4 and XBox One sometime in November 2014.[68]

Downloadable content[edit]

"We want to create something to suit everyone's play style from cool cars and high-speed missions to outlandish outfits and game-extending mission packs. The game launch is just the beginning."

 — Lee Singleton, General Manager, Square Enix London Studios[69]

On 13 August 2012, Square Enix announced an "extensive" six months of downloadable content was being planned for the game.[70] The first two additional content was available at the time of the game's release, including the 80s-inspired Retro Triad Pack, "a killer old school outfit with its own player buffs and funky kung-fu van". The Top Dog Silver Pack adds 3,000 Triad, 2,000 Cop and 2,000 Face experience points.[71] On 21 August 2012, the Top Dog Gold Pack, Red Envelope Pack and High Roller Pack were released. The Top Dog Gold Pack adds 8,000 Triad, 4,500 Cop and 4,500 Face experience points. The Red Envelope Pack adds 20 envelopes each stuffed with HK$50,000 scattered throughout Hong Kong. The High Roller Pack gives early access to the Tuono vehicle and the High Roller outfit, as well as $200,000.[72] On 16 October 2012, the Street Racer Pack, Tactical Soldier Pack and Community Gift Pack were released. The Street Racer Pack adds three new races, each for a boat, car and motorbike. Also included is a new Sting superbike, a Dragon Helmet and a Racing Jacket with extra protection against gunfire.[73] The Tactical Soldier Pack adds the game's "most powerful weapon and armour". The free Community Gift Pack adds an exclusive UFG tuned Bisai car, a UFG t-shirt, and a luchadore wrestler mask.[74] On 24 October 2012, The SWAT Pack and Screen Legends Pack were released. The SWAT Pack adds 20 new cop missions, a SWAT outfit with extra damage resistance and an armoured SWAT van. Screen Legends Pack adds the Wing Chun Master outfit which improves the melee counter strikes, and the Lightning Warrior outfit with an everlasting sword.[75] United Front stated at Comic-Con that

"with the DLC, we feel that we can explore other aspects of Hong Kong cinema."[76]

On 14 November 2012, Square Enix released the five already-released Sleeping Dogs DLC add-ons and pre-order bonuses, in one bundle, Dragon Master Pack. The Dragon Master Pack includes: Triad Enforcer Pack (two new missions, a new vehicle, outfit and a golden cleaver weapon), Police Protection Pack (a new police racing mission, police car and SWAT assault rifle), Martial Arts Pack (Shaolin Showdown mission, outfit and Wing Chun decoration for your safehouse), GSP Pack (GSP-branded outfit with stat and move bonuses) and Deep Undercover Pack (Plain clothes outfit, police car and CB Radio decoration).[77]

Square Enix released four DLC packs (Dragon Master Pack, Drunken Fist Pack, Square Enix Character Pack and Gangland Style Pack) over the holiday season.[78] The Drunken Fist Pack (boozey new fight moves) was available to download from 20 November 2012.[79] The Square Enix Character Pack (a Hitman, Deus Ex and Just Cause outfit and weapon) were also released the same day.[80] The Gangland Style Pack (stat-boosting tattoos) was released on 27 November 2012.[81]

In January 2013, two DLC packs were released, Movie Master Pack and Monkey King Pack. Movie Master Pack adds three costumes and Monkey King Pack adds the Monkey King costume which has its own weapon, buff and vehicle.[82][83] In February 2013 one DLC pack was released, Law Enforcer Pack which It added two outfits, a weapon and five police vehicles.[84] On 26 February 2013, Wheels of Fury expansion was released. It adds a prototype supercar which allows upgrades to be unlocked through five missions.[85]

Nightmare in North Point[edit]

On 30 October 2012, the first story-driven game expansion titled Nightmare in North Point was released. Nightmare in North Point's theme is based upon Chinese horror and folklore along with featuring Chinese vampires, the jiangshi.[86]

The plot starts after a late night movie, where Wei's date, Not Ping, is suddenly abducted by the ghost of Smiley Cat, who has risen up from the underworld to take his vengeance on the Sun On Yee. Smiley Cat was formerly Big Scar Wu, a gangster who was ordered to be killed by Uncle Po for his recklessness. His posthumous name, which he despises, was acquired when his corpse was ground up into the namesake brand of cat food. He has raised an army of jiangshi and Yaoguai to help carry out this task, as well as possessed members of the 18k. When Wei finds his fighting skills have no effect on the spirits, an apothecary brews a special tea for him that imbibes his moves with the magic necessary to defeat them.

Smiley Cat summons the ghosts of Dogeyes, Johnny Ratface and Ponytail, a lieutenant of Big Smile Lee who carried out Wu's execution. Wei defeats each one of them and sends them back to the underworld, but not before Ponytail tells Wei how to defeat Smiley Cat: he must burn Wu's pinky finger, the last remnant of his original body.

Wei manages to fend off the hell-spawn and incinerate the finger, sending Smiley Cat back to the underworld and freeing Not Ping. However, as the two leave the temple, a final shot shows that Not Ping is possessed and the scene fades to black with Smiley Cat's laughter.

The Zodiac Tournament[edit]

The second story-driven expansion, Zodiac Tournament, was released on 18 December 2012.[87] The Zodiac Tournament added a new island to the game, as Wei Shen was invited to an exclusive fighting tournament held away from Hong Kong. New fight arenas, enemies, bosses, outfits and "story-extending cut-scenes" were also included.[88]

In the plot, Inspector Teng requests Wei to investigate an illegal fighting tournament taking place on a nearby island. Teng has managed to get Wei an invitation to compete. After arriving on the island, the Tournament Master, Dr. Zhang, arrives and informs the competitors are "the best of the best of the best" and the tournament is being attended by the richest and most powerful men in Asia. Wei chats with the other competitors as well as Little Fu, who claims to be a fan of Wei since he helped her father in the Night Market. After defeating several fighters in some brutally lethal matches and traversing some dangerous booby-trapped paths, Little Fu gives Wei some tea before his next match. Unfortunately, the tea turns out to be poisoned, since Fu had bet on an opposing fighter. Despite being handicapped, Wei manages to defeat his next opponent on a one on one battle and cure himself via some medicinal flowers. Wei, along with the rest of the contestants, are, then, summoned to the final match. Midway through the match, however, Zhang insists that they battle each other unto death until only one remains. When the contestants refuse, Zhang reveals that the arena ceiling is covered in spikes and rigged to lower, and it will only stop if only one is left standing. The contestants have no choice but to battle, but Wei makes everyone promise that whoever survives will kill Zhang. Wei wins and chases Zhang. After the battle with Wei, Zhang claims that he made 50 million dollars by hosting the tournament and betting on Wei and promises to give Wei half the money if he spares his life and become his partner, calling the money "a fair price for swallowing your pride, wouldn't you say?". In response, Wei snaps Zhang's neck and belatedly replies "No. Not even close" and returns alone to Hong Kong.

Year of the Snake[edit]

On 12 March 2013, Year of the Snake expansion was released. It adds six missions which are set after the story of the main game.[89]

The story begins with Wei at the undercover HQ (made over as a police station) meeting with Inspector Teng, who tells him that the officials were unhappy with Wei's recklessness when he infiltrated the Sun On Yee. Wei is subsequently demoted as a patrolman. One night, when Wei is about to put a ticket on a sports car, he sees a suspicious looking blue Enterprise and chases it (while he calls dispatch over the radio and tells them the license number, which the dispatcher finds, belongs to a rented car). The car stops near a dragon dancer attraction, where Wei asks people around about men in yellow shirts. Wei quickly apprehends the suspects and makes his way to the blue sedan, which turns out to be wired with a bomb. Wei quickly drives the car to the harbour and into the sea. After this incident, Wei asks for the address of the driver who rented the car and discovers that the address is a warehouse. He investigates the warehouse and discovers that the suspects he arrested were a part of a group of cultists. After investigating further, Wei is ambushed but manages to escape with help from a fellow officer. At the town's police station, Wei and Teng interrogate one of the cultists and find out that the cult has predicted an apocalypse when the Chinese New Year starts. Throughout the rest of the crisis, Wei disrupts the cult's operations, and manages to apprehend the cult leader during the climax of the Chinese New Year celebration.


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 84.07%[90]
(PS3) 83.66%[91]
(X360) 81.61%[92]
Metacritic (PS3) 83/100[93]
(PC) 81/100[94]
(X360) 80/100[95]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 8.4/10[96]
Destructoid 9/10[105]
Edge 6/10[97]
Eurogamer 7/10[98]
Game Informer 7.75/10[100]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[102]
GameSpot 8/10[99]
IGN 8.5/10[101]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 9/10[104]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 9/10[103]


The previewers, who had access to the game in February 2012, compared the game's elements to several other critically acclaimed games,[106] praising the parkour-style movement aspect of the game (similar to the Assassin's Creed series),[107] the melee combat system (similar to Batman: Arkham City),[107][108][109] the slow-motion while shooting (similar to the Max Payne series),[108] the vehicular combat (similar to Just Cause 2),[108] the mission structure (similar to the Grand Theft Auto series),[108][109] the atmosphere (similar to the Yakuza series),[110] and the depth of the storyline.[20][108] The game is also seen as an homage to the crime films of Hong Kong action cinema, such as Infernal Affairs, Flash Point, SPL: Sha Po Lang, and Exiled.[111]


Sleeping Dogs received generally positive reviews upon release. Aggregating review websites, GameRankings and Metacritic, gave the PC version 84.07% and 81/100,[90][94] the PlayStation 3 version 83.83% and 83/100[91][93] and the Xbox 360 version 81.61% and 80/100.[92][95]

Ben Wilson of UK's Official PlayStation Magazine awarded the game a score of 9 out of 10 and described it as "the best bits of a load of games you love pooled together with intelligence and humour." Wilson concluded: "It's unquestionably 2012's most brilliantly brutal surprise, and you're duty-bound to check it out."[104] The second review was published by UK Official Xbox Magazine, who also awarded it 9 out of 10, calling it "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.[103] In Game Informer, Sleeping Dogs received a 7.75 out of 10 rating with magazine editor Dan Ryckert citing issues such as a lack of creativity vis-a-vis the story line and mission, "stiff facial animations" during cutscenes, "cookie-cutter" shooting mechanics, and developmental bugs that impede game progression. However, Ryckert did compliment the overall game graphics, the combat, leveling-up, and driving systems.[100]

For the 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards, the game was nominated for "Action Game of the Year" and "Outstanding Achievement in Story".[112] Sleeping Dogs won NeoGAF's "Action Game of the Year", and was placed fourth on their "Game of the Year" award list.[113]


Sleeping Dogs was the best selling game during the United Kingdom in the week of its release, becoming the fifth-best first week sales of 2012.[114] It retained the top spot during its second week, despite sales dropping by 15%.[115] It returned to the top spot after four weeks on sale.[116] Sleeping Dogs sales rose by 8%, despite five weeks on the chart, defeating new release Tekken Tag Tournament 2.[117] In the United Kingdom, Sleeping Dogs was the 20th best selling title of 2012,[118] and the best selling original game.[119] According to NPD Group, Sleeping Dogs was the sixth-best selling game in the U.S. in August 2012,[120] at 172,000 copies.[121] PC sales for Sleeping Dogs were unable to be counted, as it is only available digitally in the U.S.[122]

According to Square Enix, Sleeping Dogs shipped 1.5 million copies through the end of September 2012.[123] Square Enix President, Yoichi Wada, defended the game's sales, stating Sleeping Dogs sales had not been poor, but that the firm might have had unreasonably high expectations for the game and he saw Sleeping Dogs as a strong new intellectual property. Wada also said that titles such as Sleeping Dogs tend to sell better over long periods of time in the West, unlike games in Japan, where lifetime sales are more or less achieved within the first one or two months on the market.[124] On 26 March 2013 Square Enix announced that the game was expected to sell about 1.75 million copies at retail in 2013.[125] However on September 10, 2013, Square Enix announced that Sleeping Dogs, along with other of their major releases, did not commercially meet their expectations, but recognized that it was a success in terms of game development.[126]


Sleeping Dogs was involved in a few controversies before and after its release. In 27 June 2012, it was reported and later confirmed that the game was censored in Japan, receiving a CERO Z rating, the equivalent of adults-only in the United States. The Japanese version had several modifications; a scene where a person's organs were exposed was cleaned up, a scene with sexual references was cleaned with alternate camerawork, and the character that signals the start of street races was removed.[127] The decision of censoring the game in Japan was criticized by the gaming community, which pointed out that the Japanese version punished players for running over and killing civilians.[128] The censoring led to Japanese gamers having to prove that they were of legal age before purchasing the game at store counters.

On 16 June 2014, Sleeping Dogs was one of the games featured in the YouTube web-series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, created by blogger Anita Sarkeesian on her channel, "Feminist Frequency".[129] In the episode, "Women as Background Decoration", Sarkeesian commented on several open-world games that let players sexually objectify female non-playable characters. She criticized Sleeping Dogs (alongside the Grand Theft Auto series) for being a "textbook" example of a component of objectification referred to as, "Fungibility"; defined by Merriam-Webster as "being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation".[130] She also criticized the game's logic which rewarded the player with health regeneration, power-ups, and statistics boosts for buying and using women for sex. In the video she states: "...these women fulfill basically the same function as the beverages the player can purchase from vending machines and convenience stores in the game".[129]


In October 2013, United Front Games confirmed that a sequel, set within the Sleeping Dogs universe, was under production. Titled Sleeping Dogs: Triad Wars, it is also to be published by Square Enix.[131] United Front Games said that the project is "something we've wanted to do for ages" and that it would be shown to the public in 2014.[132]


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External links[edit]