We might never see the sequel to 2012’s Hong Kong-based, action-adventure Sleeping Dogs, but a new report from Waypoint has just unearthed a ton of details about the game that could have been.
Though studio United Front Games has since closed its doors, the pitch for Sleeping Dogs 2 was being worked on as early as 2013. The initial idea went through several revisions, but the game never made it all the way into production.
According to Waypoint’s reporting, Sleeping Dogs 2 would have picked up right after the events of the first game, following undercover police officer Wei Shen. This time around, though, Shen would have a partner—a “conflicted, corrupt” man named Henry Fang—who would help explore China’s Pearl River megacity.
The team had an ambitious vision for incorporating 2013’s state-of-the-art technology into the game, “using mobile devices and the next-gen cloud.” The main idea seemed to be for players to make choices in the free-to-play mobile game that would influence what happened in the city in the console game, causing crimes to increase, different vehicles to spawn, and NPCs to change their behavior. Though the technology to make it happen was never worked out, the goal was for this system to expand across the entire network of games, with all mobile players affecting all console versions of the game—global influence, not just one mobile device affecting one console.
On top of that, Sleeping Dogs 2 would have supported co-op, giving players the ability to race vehicles, fight, or fend off waves of enemies in a series of procedurally generated missions. One example given by the developers details a corruption case that suddenly turns into a murder case when an NPC dies, all non-scripted.
Of course, since the game never entered production, it’s impossible to know if United Front Games’ vision would have ever worked out. Comparing data across the cloud saves of thousands of players is an incredibly ambitious undertaking, and one that could likely have run into pushback from Sony and Microsoft.
Since the studio is no more, it’s likely that we’ll never see Sleeping Dogs 2 as the developers intended it, though Square Enix does retain the rights to the series, should it ever choose to make another game.