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.