Sleeping Dogs 2 Was Pitched Years Ago, But It Got Folded Into Triad Wars Instead
United Front Games, the makers of Sleeping Dogs, have shut down, but rest assured that they tried to pitch to Square Enix to make Sleeping Dogs 2 during the time the PS4 and Xbox One was still using codenames. The studio was clearly up for it, based on the full report on Waypoint, but Square Enix just could not find the right time (and probably budget) to green light it.
What could have been Sleeping Dogs 2 was interesting for its time, but sounds totally unoriginal nowadays. You get to play both Wei Shen, now not undercover anymore and a partner named Henry Fang who’s a bit more crooked. There’s online co-op, and there’s instances where both characters/players take a different approach to an objective. Wei beats up thugs for information while Fang just go into a suspect’s house and plant evidence. All these add up to an ever-changing look of the city, the Pearl River Megacity, that will change how the NPC look, the cars and the density of them in any location based on your actions.
There’s also a mobile app tie-in being pitched too, and also procedural generated missions.
This was around 2013, when Square Enix was not that good in shape financially, to the point of calling Tomb Raider 2013 at one point having disappointing sales despite shipping three million copies. So the pitch for Sleeping Dogs 2 opened the opportunity for United Front Games to make Triad Wars, a free-to-play game based on the same universe but with asymmetrical multiplayer. It didn’t pan out well as they struggle to make a Sleeping Dogs game work entirely for multiplayer when it was known and loved for its single-player experience. It never went out of beta until its closure in January 2016.
And their last ditch effort to salvage the studio, SMASH+GRAB, while decent, was not enough to stop the studio from being shut down.
So we could have seen a Sleeping Dogs 2- Square Enix was still onboard with another entry given that Triad Wars was given a go, but not for an open world third person game. It was just the wrong time, with the publisher not doing well financially. That explains why Hitman went episodic (to a pretty decent success of a first season) and Rise Of The Tomb Raider was an Xbox-exclusive game for a year (it only got a PS4 release recently).