With GTA V failing to turn up at this year’s E3, the open-world sandbox crime sim was depressingly under represented.
It fell to United Front’s Sleeping Dogs to save the day.
And with news surrounding it focusing on the studio’s dealings with Activision and the True Crime franchise, it’s about time we started looking at Sleeping Dogs on its own merits.
To do this we caught up with Sleeping Dog’s senior producer Jeff O’Connell to ask a few crucial questions.
X360: One significant potential game-changer that’s occurred during your development is the announcement of GTA V. Did that make you rethink any of Sleeping Dog’s concepts or strategies?
Jeff O’ Connell: No, and it’s an interesting question because it’s definitely the 1,000lb elephant in the open-world genre. But we’ve got a very experienced crew – we’re fans of those guys, but we also always felt really comfortable about what we were bringing to the genre, as something different to what those guys were doing.
You can boil it down to three things: the depth of action mechanics that we have, in particular the melee, the martial arts, which just feels fantastic. The cop aspect of the IP – there’s not too many games out there where you get to be a police officer and do police-related stuff.
The third thing is the Hong Kong setting that’s really different and fun, and I think recognisable to people – hopefully we’ve piqued their interest enough that people want to see a game that’s not set in a city they know that much about; a city that to them is curious and new and fun and fresh.
I feel really good about where we are – I’m sure those guys will be great, but we just looked at it and said ‘okay, that looks awesome – let’s move on and do what we always wanted to do’.
X360: There have been a lot of bumps in the road, and it’s been a long time coming. Has it shifted in terms of what was initially being developed?
JOC: I’ve been on this title since day one: when we opened our doors here at United Front in the fall of 2007 and shortly after that we started working on this game.
Myself and the other leads always wanted to make an original IP – we’d envisioned this as [that] and I think it was a matter of business circumstance that it became True Crime.
Getting rid of that brand and Square coming in and actually asking us ‘What is it you always envision this as? What did you always want to make it?’ and then allowing us to do that and streamline and refocus, really brought us back to what we wanted it to be originally.
Read the full interview with Jeff O’ Connell in the latest issue of X360, on sale now!
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