Sleeping Dogs (video game)

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Sleeping Dogs
Cover art
Director(s) Roger Donaldson
  • Jeff O'Connell
  • Feargus Carroll[2]
Designer(s) Mike Skupa
Programmer(s) Dave Roberts[3]
  • Hani Ghazaleh[3]
  • Joshua Lee[4]
  • Jacob Krarup[5]
  • Tim Carter
Composer(s) Jeff Tymoschuk[6]
Engine Proprietary engine with Havok physics
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Optical disc, download

Sleeping Dogs is an open world, third-person action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London and released by Square Enix and Namco Bandai Games for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows. It was released on August 14, 2012, and a "Definitive Edition" rerelease is scheduled for release on October 10, 2014 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Set within a fictionalized present-day version of Hong Kong, the single-player story follows Wei Shen, an undercover Chinese-American police officer on assignment to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization.

The game focuses on Shen's fighting and shooting abilities, parkour skills, and gadgets that can be used in both combat and exploration. When not playing through the story, the player can freely roam the city of Hong Kong both on foot and in vehicles, and may participate in side activities such as street racing, cock-fighting, and drug busts. The character's criminal activities may incite a response from the police, measured by a "heat" system that governs the aggression of their response. Although the game has no multiplayer component, there are online stats and leaderboards that let players can compare scores. Through various activities such as fights, races, and driving, the player can accumulate Stat Awards that unlock achievements and trophies.

Sleeping Dogs had a difficult and prolonged development cycle. Work on the game first began in 2008, soon after its developer United Front Games was founded. It was initially announced in 2009 as True Crime: Hong Kong, the third entry and reboot of the True Crime series, but was canceled by Activision Blizzard in 2011 as a result of its delays and high development budget. Square Enix bought the publishing rights to the game six months later and renamed it Sleeping Dogs, without relation to True Crime. The game was finally released worldwide in 2012. Some developers visited Hong Kong as part of field research for the environment. The art leads took over 20,000 photos that were used as inspiration for the game's world, while the sound designers recorded several soundscapes and ambient noises that were used in the game.

The game received very positive reviews by critics, particularly for its combat, voice acting, experience system, and depiction of Hong Kong, but criticized for its graphics, camera, and animations. The game was a commercial success, and sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide within a year of its release. Six months of downloadable content packs with new outfits, missions, and add-ons were released, as well as three expansions. A sequel, Triad Wars, is currently in development.


Sleeping Dogs is an action-adventure game viewed from a third-person perspective. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer,[9] infiltrating the Sun On Yee Triad organization—named after the real life Sun Yee On[10]—as an undercover.[9] The first missions of the game are linear, serving as a tutorial for the moves and approaches available to the player.[11] After finishing the opening missions, the player can freely explore the game world, undertaking side-missions and several other activities that are available,[9] though some areas remain inaccessible until certain milestones in the main story are achieved.[11] Shen, a martial arts expert,[9] can run, jump, climb over obstacles, swim,[12] as well as use weapons in combat,[13] and drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats and motorcycles.[14] 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. Shen'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 it is full, then empties after a short time. When Shen is armed, an icon of his weapon and ammo count are represented on the top-right corner of the screen.[15]

Shen performs an environmental kill against an enemy. The health meter, minimap, and status buffs are shown on the heads-up display.

The game's melee combat is heavily inspired by Batman: Arkham Asylum's 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 quickly.[9] When full, the player's screen will turn yellow, Shen will be healed; his attacks will deal greater damage as well as give other benefits when the player is upgraded.[16] 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 doing so, an environmental attack is initiated, knocking out the enemy in one hit.[11] The player can also use melee weapons, such as knives, purses, and tire irons to attack enemies. These weapons, though they can cause greater damage to enemies than normal attacks, do not last long and break with overuse.[17]

The game also features a shooting mechanic using a cover system which can be used as assistance against enemies.[18] If the player takes damage, his health meter will gradually regenerate to its halfway point. The player respawns at hospitals when his health drains. If the player commits crimes while free roaming, police may respond as indicated by a "heat" meter in the head-up display (HUD). On the meter, the displayed number indicates the current wanted level (for example, at the maximum level of five, the police aggressively pursue the player). The meter enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes when the player is hidden from the officers' line of sight (as displayed on the mini-map). However, during this cooldown mode, police officers will continue to search for the player even if he leaves the wanted vicinity, and resume chasing him if he gets caught. If arrested or killed by officers during missions, the player can restart from the last checkpoint.[19]

Despite campaign missions being 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 carjacking, joining a fight club, singing karaoke, visiting gambling dens, betting on cockfights, and participating in street races.[9] There are also several potential girlfriends for Wei Shen to date.[20] Going out with girlfriends will grant bonuses to the player, including map locations for collectibles and extras.[20] The successful completion of the side missions offers the player rewards such as new missions,[21] vehicles, and outfits.[22]

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 Shen'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 Shen, 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.[9]

Although the game has no multiplayer component, there are online stats and leaderboards so players can compare scores.[9] Through various activities such as fights, races, and driving, the player can accumulate Stat Awards. Each Stat Award comes in three levels—bronze, silver and gold[23]—and they unlock achievements and trophies.[24]


Actor Will Yun Lee voiced lead character Wei Shen.


Sleeping Dogs is set in a fictionalized version of the island city of Hong Kong, off the coast of mainland China. In the game, Hong Kong has four districts which are named after areas present in the city in real life.[9] The game tells the story of Wei Shen (Will Yun Lee), an officer of the San Francisco Police Department, who was transferred to the Hong Kong Police Force with a mission to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization and destroy them. There are two sub-plots contained within the main storyline; the first is Shen'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 involves completing missions assigned by a Triad lieutenant, including assassination of Triad members loyal to other lieutenants.

In the events of the game, Shen is accompanied by several supporting characters. His mission to infiltrate the Triads is coordinated by Police Superintendent Thomas Pendrew (Tom Wilkinson), and progress made by Shen is reported to a police handler, Raymond Mak (Byron Mann). Shen is able to infiltrate the Sun On Yee using his childhood friend and low-level Triad member Jackie Ma (Edison Chen), and then has to prove his loyalty to the Triad boss "Red Pole" Winston Chu (Parry Shen). Other characters appearing in the game include the head of the Sun On Yee, David Wai-Lin "Uncle" Po (James Hong), his love interest Amanda Cartwright (Emma Stone), Winston's right hand man, Conroy Wu (Robin Shou), singer Vivienne Lu (Lucy Liu), Red Pole Henry "Big Smile" Lee (Tzi Ma), Inspector Jane Teng (Kelly Hu), Winston's mother, Jiang (Elizabeth Sung), rapper Naz Singh (TJ Ramini), Red Pole Sammy "Dogeyes" Lin (Ron Yuan), Winston's fiancé, Peggy Li (Lindsay Price), Sonny Wo (Chin Han), Shen's girlfriend Not Ping (Celina Jade), and Russian prostitute Ilyana (Megan Goldsmith).[25]


The game starts in Victoria Harbour, where Wei Shen is arrested after a drug deal goes wrong. Thrown into jail, Shen meets his old friend Jackie Ma, who offers to introduce Shen to the members of the Sun On Yee Triad once they are released. Shen meets with Superintendent Thomas Pendrew and another police officer, Raymond Mak; there it is revealed that Shen is an undercover police officer, and his arrest is a ploy to meet Jackie. Jackie introduces him to Winston Chu, leader of the Water Street Sun On Yee, at the Golden Koi restaurant, owned by Winston's mother, Mrs. Chu. Winston sends Shen on various missions to seize back territory from rival Red Pole Sam "Dogeyes" Lin, leader of the Jade Gang. While making an example of one of Winston's thugs, Shen is arrested by Inspector Jane Teng, and Pendrew is forced to reveal Shen's identity to Teng in order to free him.

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

On the day of Winston's wedding, Shen takes his fiance Peggy to get her wedding dress a few hours before her wedding. After doing so, Shen drives Peggy to the wedding and then heads back to get his suit from a store. After finally Shen arrives at Winston's wedding, the Sun On Yee is attacked by a rival Triad gang, the 18K, during the ceremony. Winston and Peggy are shot dead by 18K member Johnny Ratface and Uncle Po is critically wounded, but Shen manages to get him to the hospital. As a reward for saving his life, Uncle Po promotes Shen to the rank of Red Pole, succeeding Winston as leader of the Water Street Gang. At the request of Mrs. Chu, Shen captures Johnny, who confesses that Dogeyes was behind the wedding massacre. Shen captures Dogeyes and delivers him to Mrs. Chu, who kills him.

When fellow Red Pole Henry "Big Smile" Lee attempts to take over the Water Street Gang's territory, Shen 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, Shen 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, Pendrew tells Shen that his undercover duties are over; Shen protests, thinking if Lee assumes leadership of the Sun On Yee, matters will be worse than they were under Uncle Po.

Furious at Shen's insubordination, Pendrew assists with an attack on the Sun On Yee at Uncle Po's funeral. He then reveals Shen's identity to Lee, who attempts to lure Shen out by having Jackie kidnapped, tortured, and brutally murdered. Distraught, Shen is attacked and captured by the Sun On Yee torture master Mr. Tong. Shen manages to escape, killing Tong and his enforcers before hunting down Lee. Following a chase, Shen corners Lee and kills him by shoving him headfirst into an ice chipper. Raymond congratulates Shen 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, Shen receives a package from "Aunt" Jiang addressed to "Officer Shen". Inside, Shen finds a video of Pendrew murdering Uncle Po at the hospital to permanently conceal their prior relationship. It is revealed that Po gave Pendrew high-ranking Triad members to distract him from Po's own business operations, leading to Po's rise in power, and Pendrew murdered him upon finding this out. With this evidence, Shen gets Pendrew sentenced to life in prison, knowing he will not survive long in a place filled with Triad members he has arrested throughout his career. Later, while Shen meets with Teng, he is unwittingly observed by Jiang, now the leader of the Sun On Yee. She tells her Triad underlings to leave Shen alone as he has proven his loyalty to her "one way or another".


Near the end of 2007, Sleeping Dogs publisher Activision approached the newly founded, ten-person United Front Games about developing an open world game.[26] United Front accepted, and Activision provided a budget large enough to let the team expand to 180 employees.[27] United Front began to brainstorm initial concepts. They were intrigued by a game idea where an undercover cop infiltrates a criminal organization, and felt it would be a fresh addition to the open world genre. The game was designed to exhibit a similar tone and atmosphere to that of an "HBO crime drama": mostly dark, but with some humorous elements.[26] Their working title was Black Lotus. The project advanced to full production in early 2008.[26]

A little over a year into development, Activision thought Black Lotus would sell more copies if it were part of an existing franchise and pointed out similarities between the game and another Activision franchise, the True Crime series. Both Black Lotus and True Crime were set in open worlds and told stories of an undercover cop in a criminal organization. Previous True Crime games had not lived up to their sales expectations, but Activision felt that the innovations Black Lotus promised to bring to the genre might not only revitalize the franchise but make the game successful in its own right. Activision then officially attached the game to the series and unveiled it to the public as True Crime: Hong Kong in November 2009.[28] A year later, Activision delayed the game to give the developers more time to refine it.[29] Improvements during this period include the hiring of Hollywood action editor Tony Ciccone to consult on the game's visual identity and animations.[30]

Despite the progress developers had made to the game, Activision cancelled True Crime: Hong Kong for "quality reasons" in their February 2011 quarterly financial report.[31] The publisher said that further investment would not make the game "good enough" to compete in the genre, to which United Front agreed.[31] United Front Games laid off 120 employees almost overnight,[27] and their solvency remained uncertain until August, when Square Enix picked up the publishing rights to the game.[32] Square Enix did not buy the True Crime intellectual property,[32] and as a result, they revealed several weeks later that the game was renamed Sleeping Dogs. Sixty people were added to the development team,[27][33] and the game was released worldwide in late 2012 as both a critical and commercial success, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide within a year of its release.[34]


Kowloon Nathan Road, Hong Kong in 2007. The developers extensively researched Hong Kong during the game's development. Their goal was to create an immersive and realistic depiction of the city.

The game's designers extensively researched Hong Kong, because they aimed to create a realistic and authentic portrayal of the city.[35] The team sent some of the art and sound designers to spend two weeks in Hong Kong studying the city's environment, in order for it to serve as inspiration for the game. The art leads took more than 20,000 photos that were used as references for the buildings, characters, vehicles, signs and props that populated the world of the game.[35] They also walked around on foot to experience both old and new locales, including clubs and malls, and interviewed locals, ex-Triad members and retired members of the Hong Kong Police Force Anti-Triad unit.[35]

The sound designers spent their weekdays overseeing the first dialogue sessions conducted in Hong Kong, and on the weekends they traveled around the city capturing soundscapes and ambient noises. The team recorded environmental sounds such as crowds shopping at the Lady's Market, "ambient sounds" near Victoria Peak, and karaoke bars. The game's audio director, Saki Kaskamanidis, found that there are only a few differences between the "sounds" of Hong Kong and the sounds of other cities in the world, most of them related to the language used.[36]

In the early stages of development, the dialogue for the game was recorded in Los Angeles by Asian actors born in the city.[36] However, the developers did not think the actors sounded authentic enough, so they decided to re-record most of the dialogue in Hong Kong.[36] The team had a contact in Hong Kong called Eddie Cheung, owner of a recording facility that specializes in music composition and dialogue production, called Drum Music.[35] Cheung provided the castings for the team remotely; the team sent him the scripts from Vancouver, and he sent the recordings back to them, from which the developers chose the ones they liked best and discarded the unfit parts.[35] Kaskamanidis did not have trouble reviewing dialogue in a language he did not understand, because according to him, "you can always detect quality acting through a person's performance."[35] The language choice for the game's ambient dialogue was a controversial one among the developers. Some of the team members pushed for English, since most gamers would not understand Cantonese dialect. Regardless, the team decided that most of the dialogue would be in Hong Kong Cantonese, as it would contribute to the immersive atmosphere they aimed to create.[37]

The music present in the in-game radio stations was handled by Joe Best; who was responsible for integrating the licensed tracks into the game.[38] One of the developers' key goals 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 [sic] a bit of cool into the game."[38] After the Asian radio stations had already been implemented, legal issues forced the team to secure additional licensing for some of the tracks.[38] The publisher, Square Enix, suggested the team approach Tsunami Music in order to license the tracks they wanted.[38] After contacting the company, Tsunami's suggested the developers to get a package deal: license record labels and name each station after a label such that each station's music selection contains music from that label.[38] The developers had a list of songs they wanted in the game, but they had to negotiate and approve each tracks from record labels. Individual track selection was an agreement between producer Joe Best, Tsunami Music and United Front Games.[38] The developers wanted to add DJ's to the in-game radio stations as well, since they did not want the stations to just have plain music.[38] Several voice actors hired by the team to portray fictional DJ's created by the developers. The team wanted to find voice actor who had an accent and feel that reflected the actual style of music for each station. Each voice actor was chosen in order to keep in theme with the environment and the themes in the game's plot, as the developers did not want to get to the point where there was a level of parody with the stations.[38] Despite most of the DJ's in the game being fictional, real DJ's were hired by the team, such as DJ Kerrang.[38]

Marketing and release[edit]

Prior to the release, United Front Games relied heavily on viral marketing. Sleeping Dogs was promoted through the use of various internet and TV trailers; monthly videos were posted on the company's official website and on YouTube offering fans a preview of upcoming content. 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.[39] Sleeping Dogs also appeared at game conventions with its own booth, including at Game Developers Conference,[40] PAX East,[41] MCM London Comic Con,[42] E3,[43] Comic Con[44] and at Gamescom.[45]

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 offered the "Georges St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", GameStop offered the "Police Protection Pack", and Amazon offered the "Martial Arts Pack".[46] 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".[8] 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 August 3, 2012, information on cross-promotional content for the PC version of Sleeping Dogs was posted on the game's official website.[47] Players who purchased the game on Steam were given the "Triad Pack" for Team Fortress 2, consisting of eight battle-type items. The other players who purchased the game on other distributors could also purchase these items in the in-game store. A Hong Kong-themed map, Kong King, was released for Team Fortress 2, and made available on all distributing services.[48][49]

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.[50]

The game was released in North America on August 14, 2012,[7] followed by August 16 in Australia[1] and August 17 in most of Europe.[8] The release in Japan fell on September 27, 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?).[51] The Japanese version of the game was censored to pass the classification by the Japanese ratings board CERO. Tweaks include a penalty for attacking civilians during certain missions, removal of a character who signals the start of a street race, and a less graphic sex scene.[52] An enhanced version, subtitled Definitive Edition, is scheduled for release on October 10, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.[53] Besides updating the graphical resolution, this edition includes a number of changes inspired by fan requests: gameplay alterations, "add[ing] to the ambi[a]nce of Hong Kong", and increased sound and visual quality.[54]

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[55]

Square Enix announced six months of downloadable content to follow the game's release.[56] Packs included new outfit items, vehicles, experience point boosts,[57] new tasks like money hidden around the city,[58] vehicle races,[59] weapons,[59] missions,[59] and fight movesets.[60] Square Enix released five content packs and the game's preorder bonuses in one bundle in November, 2012 s the Dragon Master Pack.[61] Packs were released through February 2013 with the Wheels of Fury upgradeable supercar expansion.[62]

The first story-driven game expansion, Nightmare in North Point, was released in October 2012. Its theme is based upon Chinese horror and folklore, and features Chinese vampires—the jiangshi.[63] In the expansion's plot, Shen's girlfriend is abducted by the ghost of Smiley Cat, a gangster ordered dead by Uncle Po who has risen up from the underworld to take his vengeance on the Sun On Yee. Shen fights Cat's army of jiangshi, Yaoguai, and possessed gangsters, and the ghosts of Dogeyes, Johnny Ratface and Ponytail, who reveals that Wei can defeat Cat by burning the last remnant of his original body. Upon incinerating the pinky finger, Cat returns to the underworld and Shen's girlfriend is freed.

The second story-based expansion, Zodiac Tournament, was released in December 2012.[64] The expansion adds a new island to the game, with new fight arenas, enemies, bosses, and outfits. In the expansion's story, Shen is invited to an exclusive fighting tournament held away from Hong Kong.[65] Inspector Teng asks Shen to investigate an illegal fighting tournament. After defeating several fighters in lethal matches, Shen wins and chases the Tournament Master, who offers to share his earnings in return for his life. Shen declines his offer, and snaps the master's neck.

The third and final story-based expansion, Year of the Snake, was released in March 2013. It adds six missions set after the game's story.[66] In the story, Teng demotes Shen for his recklessness in the main story. While on patrol in his new job, Shen chases a suspicious car to a dragon dance attraction. His investigation leads to a warehouse and a group of cultists. Teng and Shen interrogate the cultists and disrupt their operations. He apprehends the cult leader during the climax of the Chinese New Year celebrations, where the cult anticipated the start of an apocalypse.


Critical reception[edit]

Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings (PC) 84%[67]
(PS3) 84%[68]
(X360) 82%[69]
Metacritic (PC) 81/100[70]
(PS3) 83/100[71]
(X360) 80/100[72]
Review scores
Publication Score
Computer and Video Games 8.4/10[73]
Destructoid 9/10[79]
Edge 6/10[74]
Eurogamer 7/10[19]
Game Informer 7.75/10[75]
GamesRadar 4.5/5 stars[76]
GameSpot 8/10[11]
IGN 8.5/10[9]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK) 9/10[78]
Official Xbox Magazine UK 9/10[77]

Upon release, Sleeping Dogs was generally well received by critics. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively, gave the PlayStation 3 version 84% and 83/100,[68][71] the Xbox 360 version 82% and 80/100,[69][72] and the PC version 84% and 81/100.[67][70] The game was NeoGAF's "Action Game of the Year" and fourth on their "Game of the Year" list in 2012.[80] It was nominated for "Action Game of the Year" and "Outstanding Achievement in Story" at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards.[81]

The combat system was very well received; Eurogamer writer Dan Whitehead summarized it as "robust and intuitive".[19] IGN's Colin Moriarty compared the combat to that of Batman: Arkham City and said that, despite its simplicity and repetitiveness, it "works really well and makes Grand Theft Auto IV look subpar and archaic by comparison."[9] Hollander Cooper from GamesRadar stated that the combat is "always fast, it's always rewarding, and it's always fun, pulling from the best in the genre", singling out the unique melee attacks for praise.[76] Andy Kelly of Computer and Video Games specifically welcomed the slower-paced missions.[73] Carolyn Petit from GameSpot found the combat enjoyable in general but highlighted the environmental attacks as "empowering and effective."[11] Ben Wilson from PlayStation Official Magazine felt likewise.[78] However, Cooper, Allistair Pinsof from Destructoid, and Edge found the missions as a whole to be generic and overly linear,[74][76][79] a sentiment reserved by Dan Ryckert of Game Informer for the shooting missions.[75] Petit disagreed, stating that the missions were sufficiently varied and more enjoyable than roaming freely.[11] A related point of criticism from Whitehead and Ryckert was that there is too little to spend one's mission earnings on.[19][75]

The leveling system was widely commended, being described by Ryckert as "stand[ing] out from the open-world pack".[75] Moriarty praised the system for its use of the "abstract" yet "interesting" Face system and the ability to replay missions if one is unsatisfied with the stats gained during them.[9] Petit thought similarly and praised the "pleasant sense of growth" given to Shen by the experience system over the course of the campaign.[11] Pinsof called the system "one of the greatest innovations Sleeping Dogs brings to the genre".[79] Jon Blyth of Official Xbox Magazine enjoyed the "pleasingly absurd" missions needed to gain Face.[77]

Hong Kong as depicted in the game's open world. Reviewers praised the authenticity and charm of the city, which was considered a welcome departure from the likes of Grand Theft Auto IV's Liberty City and Saints Row: The Third's Steelport.[82]

The game's depiction of Hong Kong was acclaimed; Moriarty lauded it as "alive and well-populated". He summarized, "The AI in the game is smart, the passing chatter of NPCs well-executed, and the ebbs and flows of the city as it vacillates between day and night make it a believable setting worthy of exhaustive exploration." Moriarty also enjoyed the voice acting, in particular the intertwining use of Cantonese and English: "This approach is bold and risky, but it's also top notch and worth commending."[9] Edge gave similar praise: "Offering a view of Asia through the filter of its action film industry, this is a depiction of Hong Kong that could have come straight from the reel."[74] Pinsof praised the city's massive scale and believable AI.[79]

Shen and the other characters were mostly well received. Cooper applauded the conflicted nature of Shen's personality as a result of being "thrown into the middle of something big", arguing that this detail solidified him as a "well-developed, likable character." However, Cooper found the Triad members subpar by comparison, explaining that they "lack the colorful flare" of Grand Theft Auto characters and are difficult to connect with.[76] Edge called Shen "an engaging lead" but also praised the other characters, praising the voice actors for bringing life to characters who might otherwise have been forgettable.[74] Blyth called the supplementary characters "brilliantly recognizable stereotypes that have been given enough extra edge for you to care about them", though he found some characters distractingly unbelievable in their attitude shifts.[77] Wilson believed that the characters were "fleshed out brilliantly".[78] Pinsof claimed that the game's premise "grants a perfect excuse for Shen to do terrible things while remaining a sympathetic, level-headed lead."[79] Similarly, Kelly thought Shen's two-faced nature was the main factor behind the missions being entertaining.[73] Whitehead took a mirrored stance: he found the player's ability to switch allegiances as needed to wear away at "the already fragile grasp the narrative has on Shen's conflicted loyalties."[19]

The game's graphics were also criticized. Despite his strong praise of the title overall, Moriarty found them only "good" and had issues with the game's draw distance and texture loading;[9] Whitehead noted some framerate issues and environmental glitches.[19] Petit said that, in spite of generally convincing non-player character design, "character models look like plastic dolls when viewed up close, and some gestures characters make are rigid and unnatural."[11] Edge stated that character animations in a variety of contexts "can look robotic",[74] while Kelly said that "everything in the distance looks like it's been smeared in Vaseline."[73] In contrast, Pinsof described the graphics as unilaterally "gorgeous" and conducive to an immersive experience in Hong Kong.[79] Aspects of the game's camera were criticized: Moriarty noted that it was particularly problematic while driving and less so during combat.[9] Cooper called the camera "occasionally finicky",[76] while Edge found the vehicular camera restrictive.[74]

Anita Sarkeesian's YouTube web-series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games cites the game as an example of sexual objectification in video games, where female non-playable character sex workers serve as background decoration, providing the player with stat buffs and fulfilling "basically the same function as the beverages the player can purchase from vending machines".[83]


Sleeping Dogs was the best-selling game in the United Kingdom during the week of its release, later claiming the fifth-highest first-week sales of any game released in 2012.[84] It retained the top spot during its second week, despite sales dropping by 15%.[85] It returned to the top spot after four weeks on sale.[86] Sleeping Dogs sales rose by 8%, despite five weeks on the chart, defeating new release Tekken Tag Tournament 2.[87] In the United Kingdom, Sleeping Dogs was the 20th best selling title of 2012,[88] and the best selling original game.[89] According to NPD Group, Sleeping Dogs was the sixth-best selling game in the U.S. in August 2012,[90] at 172,000 copies.[91] PC sales for Sleeping Dogs were unable to be counted, as it is only available digitally in the U.S.[92]

According to Square Enix, Sleeping Dogs shipped 1.5 million copies through the end of September 2012.[34] 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.[93] On 26 March 2013 Square Enix announced that the game was expected to sell about 1.75 million copies at retail in 2013,[94] however, on September 10, 2013, the company announced that Sleeping Dogs, alongside Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution, although successful in their game development, did not meet their sales expectations, and were considered by the publisher "failures".[95]


Main article: Triad Wars

In October 2013, United Front Games confirmed that a game, titled Triad Wars, set within Sleeping Dogs' universe was in production. The developer confirmed that it would be published by Square Enix,[96] and would be shown to the public in 2014. Triad Wars was described by United Front Games as "something we've wanted to do for ages."[97] In September 19, 2014, United Front teased that Triad Wars would be a PC online game,[98] and that a full reveal is planned to take place three days later, on September 22, 2014 [99]


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External links[edit]