Sleeping Dogs is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game developed by United Front Games in conjunction with Square Enix London Studios and published by Square Enix, released on August 14, 2012, for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Sleeping Dogs takes place in Hong Kong and focuses on an undercover operation to infiltrate the Triads.
The game started development as an original title, but was announced in 2009 as True Crime: Hong Kong, the third installment and a reboot of the True Crime series. As a result of the game’s high development budget and delays, it was canceled by Activision Blizzard in 2011. Six months later, it was announced that Square Enix had picked up the publishing rights to the game, but the game was renamed Sleeping Dogs in 2012 since Square Enix did not purchase the True Crime name rights.
The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. The player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.
The combat system revolves around hand-to-hand fighting, similar to Batman: Arkham Asylum/Batman: Arkham City's "Freeflow" combat system. The cover system allows the player to move between cover, fire blindly, aim freely, and target a specific enemy. Individual body parts can also be targeted. Regarding the driving segments, several developers had worked on previous Need for Speed titles. While driving, Wei can get out and jump onto other moving vehicles.
Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain content and parts of the city, players can complete them at their leisure. When not attempting a storyline mission, players can free-roam, giving them the ability to participate in activities such as carjacking, joining a fight club, doing karaoke, visiting gambling dens betting on cockfights and participating in street races. There are also several potential girlfriends for Wei Shen to date. Successful completion of side missions offers the player rewards.
Sleeping Dogs features role-playing elements with three different experience point values: Triad XP, Face XP, and Police XP. Triad XP and Police XP measure Wei's devotion to the triad and police, respectively, while Face XP is a measure of his general reputation. Clothing, accessories and vehicles are available for purchase by Wei, and have an effect on non-player characters' reactions. Sleeping Dogs tracks acquired skills in areas such as hand-to-hand combat, which improve through use in the game.
Although there is no multiplayer component yet, the game features online stats and leaderboards so players can compare scores.