In developing the remastered version of Sleeping Dogs, United Front Games did its best to ensure that the final result lived up to the "Definitive Edition" moniker, according to senior producer Dan Sochan.
Because United Front Games, the game's original developer, was making the Definitive Edition instead of a third-party port house, the studio wanted to give the project an extra dose of TLC. The remastered package offers the usual slate of visual upgrades, but United Front didn't want to stop there. The Windows PC version of the original Sleeping Dogs remains one of the best-looking games of the last generation, and Sochan told Polygon that the Definitive Edition isn't merely "catching up" to that level on the new consoles.
According to Sochan, the original game with the PC version's high-resolution texture pack served as the starting point for the Definitive Edition. From there, United Front spent a year tweaking the way Sleeping Dogs looks and plays.
"It's a lot more than just jacking up textures and turning up knobs and dials," said Sochan.
The Definitive Edition runs in 1080p at 30 frames per second on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Graphical improvements that Sochan listed include new fog, mist and smog effects; "completely redone" lighting that lends the game a higher-contrast look; secondary animations for objects on bodies, like a chain hanging from a person's neck; additional frames of animation, for smoother movement; hand-modeled upgrades to characters; extra neon signs throughout Hong Kong; and animated lighting for those signs. Sochan pointed out that the sign lighting is something that really sets apart the Definitive Edition: Not even the original PC version had animated neon signs.
United Front also made some gameplay changes for the Definitive Edition. Sochan said the studio was able to crank up the amount of pedestrians by 200 percent, but because the game wasn't fun to play at that point, the developers ended up with a more modest increase in population density. Other changes were based on telemetry data and player feedback from the original game. United Front was able to see where players were getting stuck and frustrated, and in response, the studio tweaked vehicle handling, increased the timing window for counterattacks and smoothed out some difficulty spikes.
Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition seems like it will be worthy of its name. The package, which contains 26 of the 28 add-ons that were released for the original game, launched last week on PC for $29.99 and today on PS4 and Xbox One for $59.99.