Despite the name, this isn’t the adorable puppy fueled thrill ride you might be expecting. Instead, it seems United Front Games was hoping to tap into the noir-ish “let them lie” kind of thinking. And why not? When you’re creating an open-world game where your protagonist is an undercover cop trying to infiltrate and take down one of the Triads in Hong Kong, maybe you’re allowed to put down a title that awkward when someone asks what to call the project.
Regardless of how “meh” the name and box art might be, the game certainly seems to have potential. Which is surprising seeing as it was almost True Crime: Hong Kong, thanks to Activision. Yes, before Bobby Kotick determined it wouldn’t help him fill his pool with gold doubloons, this was supposed to be another entry in the universally disappointing True Crime series. Bearing that name, it definitely would’ve had an uphill battle for legitimacy and sold poorly, so who knows why it was tacked on in the first place. Known best for attempting to collect successful elements from other games and tie it into one pretty package without ever succeeding, each installment in the franchise was more or less dead on arrival. Not the best use of brand recognition, but we’re talking about Activision after all.
With Square-Enix set to publish and no affiliation to the hot mess that was True Crime: Streets of LA, there’s a long list of things that look awesome about this title. Let’s start with the live action trailer, shall we?
Based on the bit of footage out there on the interwebs, the look and feel of that trailer does a pretty good job of translating the action of the game world into something real world-y. It’s like Internal Affairs or The Departed with the visceral fights of Ong-bak. Is that a crazy description? Maybe! But check out the fighting gameplay here and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re wondering how all of that feels to play, apparently folks are saying it’s like Batman: Arkham Asylum/City, the free running sections of Assassin’s Creed, the mission structure of GTA, and the cinematic feel of Mafia II were thrown in a juicer. So basically we should get ready to make it rain (66) dollar bills all over this bitch. Unless the tendency to over promise and under deliver remains ingrained in this “not really, but at one point kinda sorta” True Crime title.
A few weeks back, drunk off the delicious frozen offerings of Yogurtland, I wandered into a GameStop to scout 3DS titles. En route, I was flanked by a ton of those stupid, oversized boxes GameStop seems hellbent on displaying to promote upcoming releases. The most prominent was Sleeping Dogs. The box art doesn’t really present a compelling argument for its existence, or even give you much in the sense of what it is. This existential ambiguity extends into the name, as well. The necessary question seems to be one of visibility. How many others who should be stoke about this title are likely to glance at it and dismiss it with the subconscious “don’t know, don’t care” process?
Personally, it’s likely I wouldn’t have known or cared about Sleeping Dogs (pre-release) if it weren’t for the intervention of this article over at Destructoid. Which is my way of saying they’re really gonna need to market the shit out of this unless they’re okay with being praised as the sleeper hit of 2012. Given the name, that would certainly be poetic, though.
Sleeping Dogs is set to launch August 14th of this year. You’ll likely see further ramblings about it as inch toward the release date, as it’s shaping up to be a pretty sweet mash-up of a love song to Hong Kong action flicks.