Sleeping Dogs (video game)

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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,[2]
Feargus Carroll[3]
Designer(s)Mike Skupa[4]
Programmer(s)Dave Roberts[5]
Artist(s)Hani Abu-Ghazaleh,[6]
Joshua Lee[7]
Writer(s)Jacob Krarup,[8]
Tim Carter
Composer(s)Jeff Tymoschuk[9]
EngineProprietary engine with Havok physics
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release date(s)
DistributionOptical disc, download
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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,[2]
Feargus Carroll[3]
Designer(s)Mike Skupa[4]
Programmer(s)Dave Roberts[5]
Artist(s)Hani Abu-Ghazaleh,[6]
Joshua Lee[7]
Writer(s)Jacob Krarup,[8]
Tim Carter
Composer(s)Jeff Tymoschuk[9]
EngineProprietary engine with Havok physics
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release date(s)
DistributionOptical disc, download

Sleeping Dogs is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix. It was released on August 14, 2012 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms, and a remastered edition is scheduled for release on October 10, 2014 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Set within a fictionalized 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. Players freely roam the city of Hong Kong on foot and in vehicles, complete story missions, and participate in side activities such as drag racing, cock-fighting, and drug busts.

The game's development began in 2009, soon after its developer United Front Games was established. It was initially announced 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 six months later and renamed it Sleeping Dogs, without relation to True Crime. The team visited Hong Kong as part of field research for the environment.

Critics praised the game's combat, voice acting, experience system, and in-depth, convincing depiction of Hong Kong, but criticized for its subpar graphics, clunky camera, and stiff animations. It received generally favorable reviews, and was a commercial success with over 1.5 million copies sold 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, Sleeping Dogs: 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,[12] infiltrating the Sun On Yee Triad organization—named after the real life Sun Yee On[13]—as an undercover.[12] The first missions of the game are linear, serving as a tutorial for the moves and approaches available to the player.[14] Once the player finishes the opening missions, he can freely explore the game world, undertaking side-missions and several other activities that are available,[12] though some areas remain inaccessible until certain milestones in the main story are achieved.[14] Shen, a martial arts expert,[12] can run, jump, climb over obstacles, swim,[15] as well as use weapons in combat,[16] and drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats and motorcycles.[17]

The game features several "environmental kills" and lets players use a selected number of objects featured in the environment to defeat the enemies.

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.[12] When full, the player's screen will turn yellowish, Shen will be healed; his attacks will deal greater damage as well as give other benefits when the player is upgraded.[18] 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, knocking out the enemy in one hit.[14] The player can also use melee weapons. The game also features ranged combat using a cover system.[19]

Players may take cover behind objects during firefights to avoid taking damage from enemies.

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 carjacking, joining a fight club, singing karaoke, visiting gambling dens, betting on cockfights, and participating in street races.[12] There are also several potential girlfriends for Wei Shen to date.[20] The successful completion of the side missions offers the player rewards[clarification needed].[citation needed]

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.[12]

Since there is no multiplayer component, the game features online stats and leaderboards so players can compare scores.[12] Through various activities such as fights, races, and driving, 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.[citation needed] Every Stat Award has 3 levels: bronze, silver and gold.[21] The awards unlock several capabilities[clarification needed] and can be viewed from the Social Hub menu.[citation needed]

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.[22]



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 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 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.[23]

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), Shen's police handler Raymond Mak (Byron Mann), Shen'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).[24][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; Po gave Pendrew high-ranking Triad members, gaining Pendrew, a promotion and Po, a dramatic rise in power[clarification needed]. 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 put away 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".


The development of Sleeping Dogs began in 2009, a couple of months after its developer United Front Games was founded. The game had a difficult and prolonged development cycle, and was passed back and fourth between publishers before it saw a release. Codenamed "Black Lotus", Sleeping Dogs was initially designed as a new IP, featuring a female lead modelled after actress Lucy Liu.[26] However, publisher Activision decided that the game would be more successful if it was part of a franchise and had a male protagonist, so they attached the game to the True Crime series, and swappped in a male lead.[27] Sleeping Dogs was officially announced in November 2009 as True Crime: Hong Kong, the third entry and reboot of the True Crime series.[28] Months later, on August 2010, the game was delayed by Activision in order to give the developers more time to work on the game.[29] During this phase, several additions were made to the it, including bringing in Hollywood action editor Tony Ciccone to consult on the cinematics as well as the visual identity of the game.[30]

Despite that, Activision cancelled the game in February 2011 due to the game "not being good enough" to compete in the open world genre.[31][32] According to Activision, even with the firm's most optimistic projections, they could not see True Crime reaching the top of the open-world genre.[33][34][35][36] After a couple of months, in August, 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] 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.[39] Development was initially conducted by a team of 180 people, which shrinked to 60 people almost overnight after Activision cancelled the title. Aterward 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 was up to 120 employees.[40] Sleeping Dogs was released worldwide in late 2012 and was both a critical and commercial success, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide within one year of its release.


United Front felt that Hong Kong fit the story, gameplay, and overall open world experience they wished to create.[41] 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.[41] They also walked around on foot to experience both old and new locales, including clubs and malls, and to speak with locals and ex-Triad members.[41] 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."[42]


One of the goals the developer, United Front Games, had for 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. 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. The team recorded environmental sounds such as crowds shopping at the Lady's Market, "ambient sounds" near Victoria Peak, and karaoke bars. During this process, audio director Saki Kaskamanidis "would close my eyes and just listen" for differences between Hong Kong and other cities. He found few differences, most of them related to the language used.[43]

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. 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 them, from which the developers chose the ones they liked best and discarded the unfit parts. Kaskamanidis did not have trouble reviewing dialogue in a language he did not understand, because "you can always detect quality acting through a person’s performance." The language choice was a controversial one. Some members of the development team were pushing for English, since most gamers would not understand Cantonese. Regardless, the team eventually decided that most of the ambient dialogues would be in Hong Kong Cantones, as it would contribute to the immersive atmosphere.[43]

United Front Games hired Joe Best as the producer; he was responsible for integrating the soundtrack into the in-game radio stations. 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." Initially, all the Asian in-game radio stations were in place, but that necessitated a lot of licensing for the existing tracks to be redone.[clarification needed] The publisher, Square Enix, suggested the team 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 such that each station's music selection contains music from that label. 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.[44]

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.[44] 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.[44]

Marketing and release[edit]

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.[45] 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.[46][47] Sleeping Dogs also appeared at game conventions with its own booth, including at Game Developers Conference '12,[48] PAX East,[49] MCM London Comic Con,[50] E3,[51] Comic Con[52] and Gamescom.[53]

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".[54] 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".[11] 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. 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.[55][56][57]

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.[58]

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.[59][60][61] An enhanced version, subtitled Definitive Edition, is scheduled for release on October 10, 2014 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.[62]

The game was released in North America on August 14, 2012,[10] followed by August 16 in Australia[1] and August 17 in most of Europe.[11] 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?).[63] 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.[64] The German version was also censored to pass the classification by the USK, and its release delayed by several weeks.[65]

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[66]

Square Enix announced six months of downloadable content to follow the game's release.[67] Packs included new outfit items, vehicles, experience point boosts,[68] new tasks like money hidden around the city,[69] vehicle races,[70] weapons,[71] missions,[72] and fight movesets.[73] Square Enix released five content packs and the game's preorder bonuses in one bundle in November as the Dragon Master Pack.[74] Packs were released through February 2013 with the Wheels of Fury upgradeable supercar expansion.[75]

The first story-driven game expansion, Nightmare in North Point, was released in October. Its theme is based upon Chinese horror and folklore, and features Chinese vampires—the jiangshi.[76] In the expansion, 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.[77] The expansion adds a new island to the game, with new fight arenas, enemies, bosses, outfits, and cutscenes. In the expansion's story, Shen is invited to an exclusive fighting tournament held away from Hong Kong.[78] 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 snaps his neck.

The Year of the Snake expansion was released in March 2013. It adds six missions set after the game's story.[79] In the story, Teng demotes Shen for his recklessness in the main story. While on patrol, 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
GameRankings(PC) 84%[80]
(PS3) 84%[81]
(X360) 82%[82]
Metacritic(PC) 81/100[83]
(PS3) 83/100[84]
(X360) 80/100[85]
Review scores
Computer and Video Games8.4/10[86]
Game Informer7.75/10[89]
GamesRadar4.5/5 stars[90]
Official PlayStation Magazine (UK)9/10[92]
Official Xbox Magazine UK9/10[91]

Sleeping Dogs received "generally favorable" reviews, according to video game review score aggregator Metacritic.[83][84][85] It was nominated for "Action Game of the Year" and "Outstanding Achievement in Story" at the 2013 D.I.C.E. Interactive Achievement Awards.[94] Additionally, the game was NeoGAF's "Action Game of the Year" and fourth on their "Game of the Year" list.[95]

The combat system was very well received; Eurogamer writer Dan Whitehead summarized it as "robust and intuitive".[88] 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."[12] 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.[90] Andy Kelly of Computer and Video Games specifically welcomed the slower-paced missions.[86] Carolyn Petit from GameSpot found the combat enjoyable in general but highlighted the environmental attacks as "empowering and effective."[14] Ben Wilson from the British PlayStation Official Magazine felt likewise.[92] However, Cooper, Allistair Pinsof from Destructoid, and staff of Edge magazine found the missions as a whole to be generic and overly linear,[87][90][93] a sentiment reserved by Dan Ryckert of Game Informer for the shooting missions.[89] Petit disagreed, stating that the missions were sufficiently varied and more enjoyable than roaming freely.[14] A related point of criticism from Whitehead and Ryckert was that there is too little to spend one's mission earnings on.[88][89]

The leveling system was widely commended, being described by Ryckert as "stand[ing] out from the open-world pack".[89] 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.[12] Petit thought similarly and praised the "pleasant sense of growth" given to Shen by the experience system over the course of the campaign.[14] Pinsof called the system "one of the greatest innovations Sleeping Dogs brings to the genre".[93] Jon Blyth of the British Official Xbox Magazine enjoyed the "pleasingly absurd" missions needed to gain Face.[91]

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.[96]

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."[12] 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."[87] Pinsof praised the city's massive scale and believable AI.[93]

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.[90] 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.[87] Blyth called the supplementary characters "brilliantly recognisable 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.[91] Wilson believed that the characters were "fleshed out brilliantly".[92] Pinsof claimed that the game's premise "grants a perfect excuse for Shen to do terrible things while remaining a sympathetic, level-headed lead."[93] Similarly, Kelly thought Shen's two-faced nature was the main factor behind the missions being entertaining.[86] 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."[88]

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;[12] Whitehead noted some framerate issues and environmental glitches.[88] 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."[14] Edge stated that character animations in a variety of contexts "can look robotic",[87] while Kelly said that "everything in the distance looks like it's been smeared in Vaseline."[86] In contrast, Pinsof described the graphics as unilaterally "gorgeous" and conducive to an immersive experience in Hong Kong.[93] Aspects of the game's camera were criticized: Moriarty noted that it was particularly problematic while driving and less so during combat.[12] Cooper called the camera "occasionally finicky",[90] while Edge found the vehicular camera restrictive.[87]

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".[97]


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.[98] It retained the top spot during its second week, despite sales dropping by 15%.[99] It returned to the top spot after four weeks on sale.[100] Sleeping Dogs sales rose by 8%, despite five weeks on the chart, defeating new release Tekken Tag Tournament 2.[101] In the United Kingdom, Sleeping Dogs was the 20th best selling title of 2012,[102] and the best selling original game.[103] According to NPD Group, Sleeping Dogs was the sixth-best selling game in the U.S. in August 2012,[104] at 172,000 copies.[105] PC sales for Sleeping Dogs were unable to be counted, as it is only available digitally in the U.S.[106]

According to Square Enix, Sleeping Dogs shipped 1.5 million copies through the end of September 2012.[107] 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.[108] On 26 March 2013 Square Enix announced that the game was expected to sell about 1.75 million copies at retail in 2013.[109] 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.[110]


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,[111] 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."[112]


  1. ^ a b c d Harris, Leigh. "Sleeping Dogs to receive ANZ exclusive special edition". MCV Pacific. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 
  2. ^ "Sleeping Dogs with senior producer Jeff O'Connell". Joystiq. 2012. Retrieved August 11, 2014. 
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