bill-swift - July 6, 2012
We're taking a look at the different sides of the law you'll be balancing as Wei Shen in the upcoming Sleeping Dogs. We've had to chance throw questions at the folks working on the game at both Square-Enix and, the developer, United Front Games and we went pretty deep in exploring just how the Cop versus Criminal dynamic is going to play out. We've realized that all of the shooting, driving and fighting you'll be doing in Sleeping Dogs is ultimately driven by how you, as the player, will be managing Wei's identity as either a law enforcement officer or an organized crime figure.
The quotes below come from senior producer Jeff O'Connell on the subject of how we'll feel like we're stuck between two worlds while playing as Wei Shen.
"We mainly (convey Cop vs Criminal tension) through the story, through the cut scenes, as opposed to some gameplay meter that you had to watch, always wondering "Am I going to blow my cover?"
"So during gameplay what we have is Cop Points and Triad Points and that actually ties into our upgrade system. The way that works is, if you're in a mission kicking ass and using combat props in the environment like a violent triad guy, you get Triad Points. And that opens up an upgrade path for you."
"If you're doing a mission and you're not taking out innocents and you're not taking out cops and you're not damaging public property, you get Cop Points and that opens up a whole other upgrade path for you. So depending on how you play the missions, you can upgrade your character differently. We've also made it so you can go back and replay your missions if you're not happy with your score. If you want maximum upgrades on both (Cop and Triad paths), you can do that."
And so it seems like the idea of conveying how "good" or "evil" your character is was an early decision when UFG went to work on Sleeping Dogs. An always-present good/bad meter of any kind floating on the screen in front of you would probably make you want try different activities just to see if you can make that thing move. You'd be trying to finely tune your character's morality and that's definitely a unique type of gameplay. You'd want to have a deep arsenal of activities that would allow you to influence your morality meter one way or the other. The Mass Effect series is a good example of how you get plenty of chances to be a mean bastard or a virtuous hero with every conversation. Sleeping Dogs takes a different tact.
As Wei, it seems you'll be confronted and challenged by your Cop and Criminal sides in cut scenes. And then how you're regarded by other gangsters and police officers after you've completed a task, that will be communicated through cut scenes as well. And then running parallel to all of this is the point system that will give you a quantitative measure of what you've been up to especially when it comes time to spend those points.
Stick with our Good Cop, Bad Cop series as we take this deeper look including an examination of just how you'll be spending those Triad/Cop points.