Sleeping Dogs Wiki

Sleeping Dogs is an open-world third person action game developed by United Front Games and published by Square Enix. It was released on August 14th 2012 in North America, August 16th in Australia, August 17th in Europe (both the Spanish and Italian versions were released on August 31st instead), September 27th 2012 for Japan and nearby countries. The game was released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition was released on October 10th 2014 in Europe and October 14th in North America for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.


The game was originally pitched by developer Treyarch as Black Lotus, and was to star an Asian female assassin modeled after Lucy Liu. This concept was inspired by the hit films Charlie's Angels and Kill Bill. However, publisher ActiVision halted the project in 2007 under the belief that a game with a female protagonist would not sell well.[1]

Development was resumed the following year. It is speculated that the huge success of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto IV convinced ActiVision that they needed a sandbox game of their own. At this point, however, Treyarch was busy with the Call of Duty series, so the duties were handed to United Front Games. Not only the protagonist was changed into a male, the game was renamed True Crime: Hong Kong, making it the third game in an existing franchise.[2]

Yet the project was again canceled on February 9, 2011, due to the game’s high development budget and delays, as well as a belief that it was just not up to the standards set by Rockstar's hit. It is also rumored that many of the development difficulties stemmed from ActiVision demanding a GTA-quality game while providing the developer a much smaller budget.

Six months later, in August 2011, Square Enix bought the publishing rights from ActiVision, but renamed the game due to not purchasing the True Crime IP. Development was resumed and finally brought to fruition by United Front Games with assistance from Square Enix London.

Plot Summary[]

The game starts in Victoria Harbour, where undercover police officer Wei Shen is arrested after a drug deal goes bad. Thrown into jail, Wei meets his childhood friend, Jackie Ma, who offers Wei to join his gang after they are released. Wei later meets with his superiors: Superintendent Thomas Pendrew and his handler Raymond Mak in the interrogation room. Wei asserts that he now has links with the Sun On Yee. After meeting with Jackie, Wei is introduced to Winston Chu, a Sun On Yee Red Pole and leader of the "Water Street Gang". To prove his loyalty, Winston sends Wei on various missions to seize back territory from Winston's rival, "Dogeyes", the leader of the "Jade Gang". During one mission, Wei is arrested again by Inspector Jane Teng, but Pendrew bails him out and affirms his identity as an undercover cop to Teng.

After learning of Dogeyes' attack on the Golden Koi, Winston takes the offensive by attacking one of Dogeyes' warehouses. However, doing so will displease the Chairman and Dragon Head of the Sun On Yee, Uncle Po. Wei convinces Winston to spare Dogeyes' drug maker Siu Wah and give Uncle Po a bigger profit than what the Jade Gang offers. Wei successfully does so and fully earns the trust of the Water Street Gang. When Winston is contacted by Uncle Po, who wishes to meet with Wei, he relays the meeting to Raymond, who is concerned that Wei is becoming "one of them". However, Raymond relents as Wei has gotten ever closer to infiltrating the Sun On Yee. During Winston and his fiance Peggy Li's wedding day, the Sun On Yee is attacked by a rival Hong Kong Triad gang, the "18K". Amidst the fighting, Winston and Peggy are shot dead and Uncle Po is critically wounded, but Wei manages to get him to the hospital. For saving his life, Uncle Po promotes Wei to the rank of Red Pole and succeeds Winston as leader of the Water Street Gang. At the request of Winston's mother, Mrs. Chu, Wei captures a member of the 18K calledJohnny Ratface. Johnny confesses that Dogeyes was behind the attack as he is tortured to death by Mrs. Chu. Wei captures Dogeyes, whom she also kills and dismembers.

When fellow Sun On Yee red pole Henry "Big Smile" Lee threatens to take the Water Street Gang's territory, Wei refuses and Lee's henchmen unsuccessfully intimidate Wei. However, he agrees to an alliance with Red Pole Broken Nose Jiang to prevent Lee from achieving his goals. During a meeting with other Red Poles and a hospitalized Uncle Po, a temporary Chairman must be elected. Jiang suggests Po's nephew Two Chin Tsao, to avoid Lee nominating himself. On Jiang's request, Wei sabotages Tsao's residence to make him appear incompetent to lead, making the position of Chairman limited to Lee and Jiang. When Uncle Po suddenly dies and Wei plants a camera in Vivienne's apartment for Sonny Wo, Wei is told by Pendrew that his undercover duties are over, though he protests: if Lee becomes the Dragon Head, the Sun On Yee will be worse than it was under Uncle Po.

Furious at Wei's insubordination, Pendrew leaks information about his undercover operations to Lee, who orders Jackie's kidnapping in order to lure out Wei. Although Wei frees Jackie, Jackie is once again kidnapped and killed by Lee's assassin, Mr. Tong. Captured and tortured, Wei manages to escape and sets out to assassinate Lee, slaughtering his men. After a long arduous chase, Wei corners Lee and kills him by shoving him headfirst into an ice chipper, grinding the upper half of his body into pieces. Raymond congratulates Wei on a case well done, but informs him that Pendrew has been promoted to Interpol and cannot be touched.

The following day Wei receives a package from Jiang, who has become the new Sun On Yee Dragon Head, with her package referring to her as "Aunt" Jiang. Although the package is addressed to Officer Shen, revealing her knowledge of his undercover activity, it contains a video of Pendrew killing Uncle Po at the hospital. Po reveals that he had made a deal with Pendrew in the past to further his career in exchange for allowing the Sun On Yee to continue operating, but Pendrew admits that Po has outlived his usefulness to him. With this incriminating evidence, Wei throws Pendrew into jail, knowing he will not survive long in a place filled with Triad members he has put away throughout his former career.

Jiang is later seen monitoring Wei as he is conversing with Teng. She tells her triads to leave Wei alone as he has proved his loyalty to her, "one way or another".


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The game takes place in modern-day Hong Kong. Each of the sections were divided by four real parts of Hong Kong, only to be fictionally combined: North Point, Central, Kennedy Town, and Aberdeen. Each district provides different resources, different purchasable items, and different missions for the player. It is just the island which is known to the locals as Hong Kong rather than the whole area of the new territories.


United Front Games brings exciting combat and driving to the open-world genre. For newcomers about to start this game, see this quick starter guide here.


Screen Shot 2012-08-12 at 7.43

Wei Shen's Heat level, health bar, GPS, and Face XP bar

In the game, the minimap is located on the left-hand side at the bottom of the screen (which shows the player's surroundings, objectives, side missions, retail shops, and safehouses, etc). Wei's red health bar (colored blue if the player has an upgraded health bar) is fitted around the left of the map. Above the health bar is the heat level, represented by a small flame with a number in the center, the heat level is increased by committing a crime (for example, murdering innocent civilians). The higher your heat level the more cops will try to take Wei down, which forces the player to hide or escape -- or ram them off the road while driving a vehicle -- from the police to instantly lower the heat level that the player has. On the right side of the minimap is the Face XP bar (also fitted around the map). Above the minimap are the mission objectives. On the right-hand side in the upper corner is the icon of the gun/melee weapon the protagonist is using, and next to the icon is the magazine size (the small vertical lines also representing a magazine size) and amount of ammo (NOTE: magazine size and amount of ammo is replaced with D-pad icons if the player is wielding a melee weapon). Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 11.42.04 AM

Close Quarters Combat[]

The combat system heavily revolves around hand-to-hand fighting, with fluid controls and movement, but it lacks the ability to counter multiple attackers at once. In Sleeping Dogs the player can opt to use combos, melee weapons, can counter enemies, and use the environment to defeat Wei's enemies. The player can face up to 5-10 people at once during a single hand-to-hand combat encounter. During combat, Wei Shen specialises in mixed martial arts, using real attacks and counter techniques with Kung Fu, Wing Chun, Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Eskrima, and more, at his disposal. There are more attack moves available via triad upgrades or bringing zodiac jade statues back to Sifu Kwok to earn exclusive/powerful attack prompts. Countering can only be done if an opponent is about to attacking a player (indicated by the attacker being highlighted in red). Pressing the counter button with the exact correct timing will prevent Wei from taking damage and allows the player to strike back automatically without the player's control (wielding melee weapons replaces counters with a dodge animation, for example crowbars and wrenches. If hostiles are attacking with a melee weapon held in their hand (most commonly a knife), the player can disarm an enemy and take the weapon for themselves (the player must be in front of the attacker to counter an attack with a weapon instead of being at the side or back of an enemy). Players can use any nearby melee weapon (e.g. knives, shovels, etc.) to use against Wei's adversaries, however, the condition of melee weapons will gradually degrade and will eventually break if the weapon is used repeatedly.

When grabbing an enemy, the player can either continually beat up their victim, use the environment (any environmental hazard highlighted in red) to finish their victim violently, or throw their helpless victim with ease. Dealing enough damage to some enemies increases Face XP. Increasing this by a large amount in a battle will result in Wei delivering more

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 10.21

Wei finishing off a victim using a Head Saw

brutal/bone-breaking attacks and counters, which changes the color scheme into a sepia tone and brings fear to opponents. Some enemy types require a strategy to defeat them (e.g. some enemies can and will always counter Wei's grab, dealing high damage (moderate damage during a successful attempt at a QTE) to Wei every time the player tries to grab a bouncer-like enemy.

Gun Play[]

Wei's Casual

Wei Shen shooting while vaulting over an object

The shooting mechanics in Sleeping Dogs plays a major role in the game's playing. Some of the gameplay shares some similarities with the Max Payne game series (with the exception of dual-wielding), Sleeping Dogs plays as a modern third-person shooting game. The player can opt between standing in the open and shooting down enemies, and taking cover with the use of the slide-in cover system which is described as "Aggressive Cover" or shoot an explosive object (gas barrels, cars, or any objects that blows up) to take out nearby hostiles. While in cover, the player can blind-fire at their target to keep an enemy a distance away from the player, or lean around their cover and shoot the target for better aiming with the risk of taking damage. If the player does not have a gun, the player can disarm an enemy and take the gun for themselves (there is a faster disarming animation if the player has the police upgrade for this move). The player (if without guns) can disarm an enemy while vaulting over an object, and takes the gun after delivering one punch to knock out a gunman.

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Wei Shen using a Triad as a meat shield

In heavy situations, the player can use an enemy as a human shield, but the player is vulnerable at their sides and back during this.

Screen Shot 2012-07-29 at 11.07

While driving a vehicle/watercraft, Wei can shoot while driving. If the player shoots the tires on an enemy's vehicle, the player automatically goes into slow-motion thus making it easier (if annoying for some players) to finish off a vehicle's passengers. What is unique to Sleeping Dogs is that, when the player vaults over an object after taking cover and enters slow-mo even after jumping over an object. While in slow-motion every single living/non-living thing slows entirely down (including the player, but aiming capabilities are retained from reality) for amazing effects. The player can extend the duration of slow-motion by scoring kills (headshots extends the slow-mo effect for longer) on enemies while using a gun, however, slow-motion ends if the player does not kill a certain amount of enemies by a certain amount of time or by manually letting go of the over-the-shoulder zoom button.


While on foot, the player has the ability to walk, run, sprint, jump, climb over obstacles, swim, vault over objects, and perform professional free-running feats. The player can interact with people (buying food for temporary power-ups and regaining up to 100% of their health, clothing or accepting favors), as well as with objects (praying at health shrines -- finding and praying at a certain amount of health shrines grants an upgrade to the player's health). While not on a mission, the player can free-roam around Hong Kong, and participate in optional activities such as betting on cockfights, join fight clubs, engage in gambling-den minigames, karaoke, having a massage in parlors, texting or calling friends from Wei Shen's hacking smartphone, stealing cars for money, and participate in side-missions. In Sleeping Dogs there are several girls (Amanda Cartwright, Vivienne Lu, etc.) that potentially the protagonist Wei Shen can date and share his love with.

Wei Escaping

The driving segments have been inspired by the Need for Speed series (the cars are capable of high speeds but are incapable of nitrous boosts), and take some inspiration from a 2009 Vin Diesel game, Wheelman (both the action hijack maneuver and ramming sideways). The player can opt to hijack a car by using a slim jim (police upgrade required) to enter the locked car door, or by just breaking the glass and entering if the car door is locked. Similar to the Need for Speed series, driving a vehicle is incredibly smooth and very fast, and useful during races depending on which type of vehicle the player is using. While riding a land vehicle the player can ram the vehicle that is to the side and in front (not the back) of the player with a press of a button.

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Wei Shen performing the "Action hijack" Maneuver

There are ramps around Hong Kong. These ramps are useful for performing stunts or taking advantage of an enemy while in mid-air. While driving a vehicle (a car, a motorbike, etc.), Wei can perform what is called an "Action hijack". An Action hijack is a functionality in Sleeping Dogs where Wei Shen jumps from his vehicle and lands on the designated target vehicle and takes the car for himself, reminiscent of the Pursuit force series. To properly perform this maneuver, the player must press the button to hijack while driving a car to prepare Wei for performing the action. If the player is too far from the target vehicle the player cannot perform this action (the target vehicle shows a grey arrow). If the player is close enough to that vehicle (the target vehicle shows a green arrow) the player can perform that maneuver; However, Wei cannot perform an Action Hi-Jack if he is driving the Yun Song and some scooters such as the Citta, Little Bear and the MVR.


Sleeping Dogs features online stats and leaderboards to compare scores with friends, however, there is no multiplayer component to the game. If the player has a Just Cause 2 save data on their hard drive (on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC) the player has an opportunity to earn "Rico Rodriguez's outfit" for Wei Shen to wear right from the start when he enters his wardrobe, note that wearing that outfit provides an improved Action Hijack maneuver, allowing the player to perform the Action Hijack maneuver from great distances and several changes in animation for the Action Hijack maneuver. Sleeping Dogs also features three different types of XP: Triad XP, Face XP and Police XP. Each one of the XPs both provides different upgrades to the player and is affected by the gameplay choices that the player makes. If the player has too many side-quest icons on the player's minimap, the player can re-arrange the route for the player to go to their certain desired side-quest by pressing the left stick/a certain button. Performing specific tasks will result in players earning achievements/trophies.


A full listing of tracks can be found here.


A full list of achievements and trophies can be found here.


A mission-by-mission walkthrough of Sleeping Dogs can be found here.


For more DLC see here.

There were pre-order bonuses for North American Best Buy, GameStop, and Amazon shoppers. Each chain offered its own exclusive in-game content for the retail versions of the game. Best Buy offered the "Georges St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", GameStop offered the "Police Protection Pack", and Amazon offered the "Martial Arts Pack". A Limited Edition of the game was available at all UK games retailers for consumers who pre-ordered, which included the "George St. Pierre (GSP) Pack" and the "Police Protection Pack". A special edition for Australia was available at EB Games and JB Hi-Fi, and carried the same price tag as the standard edition, but was limited stock only. The special edition included the "George St. Pierre (GSP) Pack", the "Police Protection Pack" and the "Martial Arts Pack". A "Deep Undercover Pack" was also available to Walmart Canada and Hong Kong PSN pre-orders as well as the "HK Exclusive" PC retail version. Exclusive content for the digital PC version of Sleeping Dogs is to be announced at a later date.


The cast is made up of actors that provided their voice for their role(s). Cast-related spoilers are in this category, read with discretion.

Definitive Edition[]

Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition was announced on August 8th 2014. It features many improvements upon the original release. The game was released on October 10th in Europe and October 14th 2014 in North America.

PC System Requirements[]

System requirements[]

  • Windows Vista (with Service Pack 2), Windows 7 supported
  • DirectX 10, 10.1, and 11 supported
  • 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems supported

Advanced PC Features[]

  • NVIDIA 3D Support
  • NVIDIA Multi Screen Monitor Support
  • AMD EyeFinity Multi-Monitor Gold Status Support
  • Window and Full Screen Mode Support
  • Benchmark Mode

DirectX11 Specific Features[]

  • Contact-hardening shadows
  • HD-AO
  • Use of Direct Compute

Performance Enhancements[]

  • Enhanced Performance on Dual Core and Quad Core Processors
  • Enhanced Performance on NVIDIA SLi
  • Enhanced Performance on AMD Crossfire

Mouse, Keyboard, and Controller Support[]

  • Xbox 360 Controller Support
  • Keyboard and Mouse Support including Partial Key Remapping (some of the keys like arrows are hardcoded and cannot be remapped for movement. It is possible to override by GlovePie but in several cases 2 or 3 functions are assigned to single key and this is not possible tweak in any way)
  • Auto Pad, Mouse and Keyboard Switching

Advanced PC Graphic Features[]

  • Increased Small Object Detail
  • High Resolution Texture Support
  • High Resolution Shadows
  • High Quality Shadow Filters
  • Soft Particles
  • High Quality SSAO (Screen Space Ambient Occlusion)
  • High Quality Motion Blur
  • Super Sample Anti-Aliasing

Steamworks Features Supported[]

  • DLC Support
  • Achievements
  • Auto Patching
  • Pre-Download
  • Player-to-Player Chat

Minimum requirements[]

  • OS: Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Processor: Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz or Althon X2 2.4 GHz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Graphic card: DirectX 19 or 20 compatible Nvidia or AMD ATI card, ATI Radeon 3870 or higher, Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT or higher.
  • Graphics card memory: 512 MB
  • Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Hard drive: 15 GB

Recommended system requirements[]

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Quad-core Intel or AMD CPU
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Graphics card: DirectX 11 Nvidia or AMD ATI card, Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 or ATI Radeon 6950.
  • Graphics card memory: 2 GB
  • Sound card: DirectX compatible sound card
  • Hard drive: 15 GB

International Releases[]

The game has been released in many countries such as Japan, United Kingdom, and of course itself Hong Kong, the setting where the game take place.

  • Hong Kong: 訓教狗 (Cantonese jyutping: fan3 gaau3 gau2) literally translated to "sleeping dogs"
  • Japan: スリーピングドッグス 香港秘密警察 translates into Sleeping Dogs: Hong Kong Secret Police



The Japanese version of Sleeping Dogs was censored in order to pass the legal classification by the Japanese ratings board CERO, mainly in that the player now earns penalties for attacking random civilians while doing certain missions. Other things that were removed was the removal of a grid girl that signals the race during any illegal street-racing side-quests (so that the girl won't be run over accidentally or deliberately), and less graphic sex scenes.

The differences are listed in detail below (taken from Japanese Square-Enix official homepage):

  • graphic fix on exposure of organs in one scene.
  • fixing of camera angle in one sex scene.
  • invincibility of the character who signals the start of the race event.
  • adding penalties to attacking civilians while on some missions.

Similar to the Japenese version, the German version of the game was also censored in order to pass the legal classification by the USK, which caused the release date to be delayed by several weeks.

Critical Reception[]

Review scores
Office Playstation Magazine UK
Office Xbox Magazine UK
Computer and Video games
Game Informer
4.5/5 stars
Aggregate Scores
Metacritic 83/100 (PS3)
80/100 (Xbox 360)

Sleeping Dogs has received positive reviews upon its release. The PS3 version currently holds 83 on Metacritic, while the Xbox version holds 80. The PC version holds 84.07% on GameRankings.

The first review of the game was written by the Office PlayStation UK magazine, which awarded the game its highest score (so far) of 9 out of 10. The editor Ben Wilson praises the game by describing it as "the best bits of a load of games you love pooled together with intelligence and humour". The editor finishes his praise by saying, "It's unquestionably 2012's most brilliantly brutal surprise, and you're duty-bound to check it out."

The second review was written by the Office Xbox UK magazine, which awarded the game the same 9 out 10 score, and described it as "a gripping vision of Hong Kong which sports majestic driving, a sharp, well-acted storyline and varied missions", but criticises the length of the story as "too short".

The latest issue of the magazine (September 2012) Game Informer gave the game its lowest score (so far), the magazine editor Dan Ryckert giving it 7.75 out of 10. He had issues with what he described as the story's lack of creativity and the "stiff animations" of characters during cutscenes, and criticised the shooting aspect of gameplay as "cookie-cutter" shooting mechanics, and the presence of bugs that might ruin game progression. Ryckert, however, did praise the in-game graphics, combat system, levelling up mechanics, and the driving segments.

Gamespot gave the game a score of 8/10, praising the brutal hand-to-hand combat and the excitement of the driving segments and gameplay. It did, however, criticise the character models and environmental textures.


There are more than 65 vehicles featured within the game, as seen in the game's driving trailer. This line-up includes a broad variety of vehicles from light and agile sport-bikes up to high-end supercars, average sedans and MPVs to large vans and trucks.

Land-based travel isn't the limit of the vehicle range featured in Sleeping Dogs, aquatic travel and boats are also included.

Film adaptation[]

In March 2017, a live action film adaptation of the game was announced. It is being produced by Neal Moritz, with Donnie Yen starring as Wei Shen. A release date for the film has not been announced as of yet.

Proposed sequel[]

Not long after release, the company had plans for Sleeping Dogs 2. However, it was still in a very early pre-production stage when it was cancelled.[3] Instead, Square Enix had them develop the spin-off Triad Wars, an open world free to play online game for Windows. It was in beta from early 2015 until it was cancelled in January 2016. Later that same year, United Front Games went out of business.


  • When the project was True Crime: Hong Kong, it had a different art direction, level design, character models, slightly different storyline, different cutscenes. Some of the clothing, icons, brands, place names and voice over actors were removed and/or changed.
  • The name of the game may be a reference to the phrase "let sleeping dogs lie". If someone is told to let sleeping dogs lie, it means that they shouldn't disturb a situation as it would result in trouble or complications. Another possibility for the meaning of the name is more literal: in English,sleep also means lurk, hide or infiltrate and the word dog (狗), in Chinese, used by many triads especially Hong Kong gangsters, refers to those who betray or are undercover police individuals.
  • One of the radio advertisements in the game is a vacation ad for the island of Panau, the setting of another Square Enix game, Just Cause 2, possibly meaning the two games are set in the same universe.
  • The game is also seen as a homage to the crime films of Hong Kong action cinema, such as Infernal Affairs and Triad Election.



Sleeping Dogs and True Crime Hong Kong comparison[]