Sleeping Dogs 2 would have been set in a Chinese megacity and had online co-op but it was cancelled

The abandoned sequel to open-world martial arts game Sleeping Dogs would have had online co-op and other ambitious features that would change your city depending on the actions of other players, according to a trove of documents obtained by Waypoint. There were also plans to have a tie-in mobile app that affected events in the base game. All this is academic, however, since plans for a sequel were stuffed down the back of the couch in 2013. Even more unfortunately, United Front Games, the developers of the original, appears to have shut down just one month after releasing their last game, Smash + Grab.

If you missed it, Sleeping Dogs was a GTA-like game of cracking heads as an undercover policeman in Hong Kong. A small but happy bunch of folks remember it fondly for its setting and focus on fist-fighting over gunplay (although there was still the odd shoot-out). Some fans hoped for a follow-up and now it seems a sequel was in the (very) early stages of design, according to Waypoint’s sources.

It would have taken place in the Pearl River Megacity, where Wei Shen, the original protagonist, would return and be paired up with corrupt partner Henry Fang. The game would let you play as both characters in a “branching storyline” and you would be able to arrest any NPC in the city. Meanwhile, the actions of other players would have influenced the atmosphere of your own city. This idea wasn’t fully fleshed out but the gist of it is that cleaning up crime in one area would move it to another. A tie-in app for a tablet device could also be used to call in helicopters and keep tabs on crime levels in different neighbourhoods.

The whole caboodle can be checked out in more detail on Waypoint’s site, where their source makes the important caveat that the design documents are a “snapshot in time” and the project was cancelled in 2013, before it even entered any kind of production. But if nothing else it’s an interesting look at how game designs are pitched, full of the expected jargon and attempts to come up with a unique selling point. I think “massively single player” was probably the wrong way to word their particular vision for what Sleeping Dogs 2 could have been but it’s still sad that we won’t be walking around an open world recreation of Shenzhen, busting noses and planting evidence in the manufacturing capital of the world.

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24 Comments

  1. CartonofMilk says:

    not a big loss, i never understood why sleeping dogs was so well received. I tried it for about 6 hours and couldn’t find the will in me to go on. It felt souless.

    • Paul says:

      Soulless is the opposite of what Sleeping Dogs was. The game oozed atmosphere and its story had heart and soul, to greater degree than many more celebrated games.

      • LexW1 says:

        Indeed, I can think of many criticisms of Sleeping Dogs, but “soul-less” is completely off-the-mark.

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        PoulWrist says:

        Yeah. Game was brilliant. I absolutely loved the setting and the way the gameplay and story were so integrated in it. Wasn’t there a remastered version coming out… I want to play that now.

    • haldolium says:

      Maybe give it another try.

      I remember when playing it for the first time, I wasn’t sold on it. Coming back a bit later, getting really into the game made it one of my favorites.

      Great combat especially.

      Although I must admit, people driving on the wrong side of the street still drives me mad.

  2. satan says:

    A MAN WHO NEVER EATS PORK BUN IS NEVER A WHOOOLE MAN!

    Was great to have a gta type game outside of the usual American cities, I even found myself wanting to visit Hong Kong when I’d finished the game.
    Such a shame the sequel never happened.

    • DuncUK says:

      Agreed, still my favourite not-GTA game. I loved the combat, the setting and the not-Infernal Affairs storyline and setup. Such a shame we’ll never see a sequel.

    • udat says:

      I have been off work a fair bit recently after badly breaking my collarbone and needing surgery. While I’ve been off I replayed Sleeping Dogs and enjoyed it just as much a second time through as I did originally. I also made it a point of principle to buy a pork bun every single time I came across a vendor.

      Other street food was only consumed when required, but pork buns? Every time.

    • zoog85 says:

      I actually visited Hong Kong in March which was mostly inspired by playing Sleeping Dogs :)

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    keefybabe says:

    Sleeping dogs in my eyes was the GTA clone that was better than GTA. Sad news.

  4. vorador says:

    Too bad, i liked Sleeping Dogs quite a bit. The barehanded combat mechanics were fun, the story was interesting and the setting was intriguing for someone who has never gone to Hong Kong.

  5. Legion23 says:

    I am still angry at Squeenix for puting this game behind a region lock for no reason. Would have loved to play this.

    • Christian says:

      But you can (and should, as it’s a great game as others have stated).
      Just buy a key from a key-shop you trust and it’ll activate and play perfectly on Steam (although to be honest I can’t remember if I needed to vpn in order to activate it). But none of that Wolfenstein-nonsense where you needed a vpn to actually play..

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    heretic says:

    Shame, sleeping dogs was good fun! Very refreshing to have a GTA-like set in an Asian city.

    • SaintAn says:

      China Town Wars

      • Poor People says:

        Any game set in an American city with [Insert Asian location here]town or Little [Insert Asian location here] doesn’t count. It’s still an American location with an Asian theme as a peripheral.

        He’s talking about crime games set in Asia proper (outside Japan). The only games that come close are Just Cause 2 and FarCry 3 (which are technically more Southeast Asia than East Asia)…and Kane and Lynch 2.

  7. SlimShanks says:

    Awwwww. Dammit, I knew it wasn’t likely, but I was still hoping for another game. I guess True Crime is truly dead now. A great series.
    I was blown away the first time I saw the rain in Sleeping Dogs. So amazing. And the soundtrack was quite good. The ending of the game was… intense. And of course Jackie is the sleazy chinese gangster homie you never knew you needed.
    :(

  8. howard6blue says:

    Great game but the driving wasn’t good. Very bad indeed.

  9. Radiant says:

    Legit wanted to move to Hong Kong because of Sleeping Dogs.
    RIP in peace.

  10. skyturnedred says:

    Best GTA game ever made. Hope someone makes a spiritual sequel at some point.

  11. Megadestructo says:

    Damn. Sleeping Dogs is one of my favorites! I’ve played it a few times through and loved each one. It’s depiction of Hong Kong was pretty accurate also (though I’ve never seen a triad shootout).

  12. Niko says:

    I had so much fun with Sleeping Dogs (and added quite a few songs from it to my playlist). The only problem I had was having to switch to KB/M for the shoot-outs.

  13. biff says:

    Sleeping Dogs was by far, my favorite open world game ever, and the only one I finished. Though I’m not sure why so many open world games have cars that sound like scooters.

    Would have bought Sleeping Dogs 2 for sure.

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