Square Enix sure has been busy strengthening its place in the Western market as today’s Game Of The Day shows.
The company, famous for its catalogue of Japanese role playing games, has taken charge of some big western titles like Hitman, Deus Ex and Tomb Raider after merging with Eidos in 2009.
Set in Hong Kong, players control Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer having to investigate the dark and seedy world of China’s Triads. It’s almost ironic seeing that Sleeping Dogs, developed by Canadian developer United From Games, is the ultimate in East meets West.
In 2011, to follow suit with its western focus, Square Enix acquired what is now known as Sleeping Dogs. The move was a surprise more than anything else seeing that the game had been dropped by Activision.
Here’s a bit of a history lesson: Activision’s True Crime: New York City failed to meet the publishers sales expectations in 2005 and the True Crime IP was put on hold for a number of years, cancelling the third game that was in development.
In 2008, United Front Games started developing a new open world action-adventure game set in Hong Kong. Originally planned to be an original IP, Activision decided that the True Crime name would help sell the concept, acquired it, and named it True Crime: Hong Kong.
It was unveiled in 2009, and subsequently delayed in 2011 to improve development time – but after a month the game was cancelled. Activision claimed the game just wasn’t good enough to compete against other open world games.
United Front Games had a near-complete game on their hands and, in 2011, Square Enix picked up the publishing rights for the game. Out was Activision’s True Crime brand and the publisher revealed that the game was retitled as Sleeping Dogs, followed by a fancy live-action trailer.
Of course, this caused some bickering between the publishers with Activision stating that the market had changed so much since they greenlit the project and Square Enix happily ridiculing the new IP that had so much potential.
But it looks like Square Enix’s gut instincts were right, with the game scoring an average of 80 on Metacritic on all formats from critics.
If this little history lesson has gotten you curious about the Hong Kong set title, then you can pick it up in stores today on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.