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Report: Sleeping Dogs 2 would have used the cloud, smartphones to be ‘massively single-player’

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A look at the canceled follow-up

sleeping dogs Square Enix/United Front Games

An ambitious follow-up to Sleeping Dogs was in development at United Front Games, a new report from Waypoint reveals, but Square Enix put the kibosh on the project before it ever made it too far.

United Front Games began pitching Sleeping Dogs 2 to the publisher in early 2013, not long after the release of its predecessor. Waypoint obtained portions of this document, which suggest how the sequel would have followed and expanded upon the open-world cult hit: branching narrative paths, procedurally generated mission content, co-op support and even the ability to play the game with a mobile device.

Players could command Pearl River Megacity’s police force using their smartphone, which would be a feature available apparently even to those who didn’t have the game themselves. Operating the city’s police would have in-game effects on which gangs were in power and vehicles players would see driving by. Without Sleeping Dogs 2, the mobile feature would work as a free-to-play, stand-alone title.

These would reverberate through other players’ games as well, based on what United Front Games called “massively single-player” functionality. Copies of Sleeping Dogs 2 would connect through players’ cloud saves so that they could develop their own communities in the larger world, which would appear in various other games.

None of this came to fruition, of course. The game didn’t make it past the pitch phase, as Square Enix chose to focus on Hitman and Tomb Raider projects instead. But Sleeping Dogs wasn’t quite dead, as some fans may remember: A free-to-play multiplayer mobile game, Triad Wars, launched in closed beta in 2016. A tepid response led to its early cancelation, and United Front Games itself shut down in the following months.

The studio is no more, although Square Enix retains the rights to Sleeping Dogs. Waypoint’s source speculated that there could be a future yet for the franchise, but the publisher has said little to support that theory.