Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Sleeping Dogs AKA Live-Action Trailers Are Cool but Dumb
Above is the announcement trailer for Squeenix's newest game, Sleeping Dogs, which you might know better from it's former name of True Crime: Hong Kong. Last year, it was announced that a plethora of games under Activision were getting the axe in an attempt to separate themselves from the downfall of the Plastic Instrument Genre and among those games was True Crime: Hong Kong for some reason. It was a real shame, of course, since True Crime: Hong Kong was quite a ways finished, or at least it seemed that way to anyone on the outside looking in, but those are just the breaks as they say. That is to say, that would have been the end of the line, had Squeenix not bought the rights, but not the name for the game and have been working on it with United Front Studios since. Clearly, the game needed a little more than a name change and some tweaks here and there, but it's looking to be about ready given the fact that it was officially announced now.
Of course, what degree of 'ready' the game actually is can't really be gauged by anything tangible at the moment. This is because, as you can tell, the live-action trailer does little to show off the actual game, which is a major downside of these types of things. The upside being that it looks really cool. I imagine it gives a rough approximation of how the game could theoretically be played, maybe, but unless I see that in game footage and not in a cutscene, it's not really relevant whatsoever. Aside from, again, being really, really cool. Because it is, I have to give them that. I've been watching it again and again as I've typed this up purely for reference points and I can't help but enjoy it.
So let's pretend, for a moment, that we can actually take away something from this trailer that represents the actual game itself. Besides the obvious, like the main character, his involvement as an undercover cop, and who might be his handler for the mob, or at least one of them. Let's just talk gameplay elements here since there are quite a few things shown off that could conceivably be in the game proper. First off, we could infer possible 'stealth' elements to the game, if just in hiding weapons on your person, possibly getting weapons on-scene of wherever you have to go. Second, as our main character grabs the guy with the briefcase, this indicates, possibly, a way of taking 'hostages' or 'body shields' which would certainly not be out of character, I suppose. Then we have possible environmental interactions when our main character snags his hostage onto a meat hook and then throws the chain of the handcuffs to the briefcase over a pipe, ensuring that he couldn't get anywhere. This is all from roughly 20 seconds of footage here.
Following that, we have a fight scene which would indicate a melee system that isn't a surprise whatsoever. Of course, over the fight itself, there's various elements that, if they could be implemented, would certainly 'deepen' it and tempt people to call it a Third-Person Shooter/Brawler, rather than a Third-Person Shooter, but I'm not entirely convinced. First off, we have counter-attacks and, beyond that, environmental counter-attacks which might not be so hard to implement on their own. Then we have a crude weapons system, which is likely a given, though it's laced with another element of environmental involvement that I really really don't see happening, but would like to. Namely the guy bursting into flames when a flammable substance (the alcohol from the bottle) is ignited from a nearby open flame in the kitchen. While more Hollywood than facts, that's kind of what action games are, and would certainly add another layer to melee combat, though I don't see it happening.
Evidence of the weapon system actually having depth itself could be inferred from the disarms our main character takes advantage of through the entirety of the fight. Namely grabbing the Fire Extinguisher from one of the guys attacking him, as well as picking up the knives scattered about that have been used and lost by their wielders in a multitude of ways. More evidence of environmental factors come up when one of the enemies is pinned to the wall by the one of the knives I just mentioned, that becomes a wielded weapon by the MC again moments after it's used. As is the butcher's knife, which shows the possibility of weapons being used as projectiles as well which isn't too far-out, I suppose. Though I really, really doubt weapons will be multiple use like the trailer leads you to believe.
Dismemberment, as it's shown in the trailer, is highly, highly unlikely, but it does once again show off the 'hostage' mechanic, as well as how you can use one to your advantage defensively and offensively. That is followed by another example of weapons used as projectiles which is itself followed by another example of counter-attack, though this one is with a weapon and shows off something more specific; a counter-kill disarm. Then you have the staple cover system, another disarm, and more melee fighting, complete with a full-on melee finisher. Which would be exceedingly awesome and add, once again, another layer of depth that I would really, really appreciate myself. Anything to make it a brawler with gunplay rather than the other way around would make me happy, but again, I'm not getting too worked up about it.
As for the chase scene, that could either indicate driving mechanics, interactive cutscenes, or just really neat looking cutscenes; the kind you wish you could be playing. If I had to wager anything, I'd say the jump would be purely scripted/done in cutscene, rather than with a QTE or even a command, but as I've said with the rest of this, it's hard telling. And that's really the entirety of it there: all I have to go on is this really cool, but not really helpful whatsoever trailer. Is it entirely possible that absolutely nothing about the trailer will be true to the game? Of course. Is it possible that they actually -tried- to make sure the trailer included elements that are going to actually be in the game? Absolutely. We'll only be able to know when we see actual gameplay and, thanks to me being incredibly nit-picky about this one single trailer, we have a few things to be on the look out as far as possible offerings go. We all know what I'm hoping for, so only time will tell.
Update!: Because I am apparently kind of dumb or something, I didn't really look around and it turns out there are a few screenshots of gameplay, and Chance has been so kind to upload them. So go on over and give them a look; As expected, it shows the MC taking a human shield, then shows him about to punch a guy, and also on a motorcycle which could still be Driving, Interactive Cutscene or QTE. We won't know for sure for a while, but at least we know a tiny bit more than we did.