Siliconera had a neat interview with a couple of the head dudes from United Front Games to find out a little information about the upcoming game, Sleeping Dogs, which I have been really interested in as you might know by now. It has a storied history already because of its inception and rebirth, but we've been over that before, and this post is more about the future of the game anyway. Information has been a little scarce on it so far, as is normally the case, but with this interview, we get a nice little peek into the inner workings and the thought put into the game so that we might be able to think and imagine how the end-product will actually turn out. A few nice little tidbits have been parceled out here and there but there's one little factoid that I am particularly interested in, and it's pretty much the single bit I picked out and went "Yep, making a post about that" when I saw it.
The actual name of the article at Siliconera is "Sleeping Dogs' Fighting System Inspired by Tony Jaa Action Flick "The Protector"", which is....a little familiar round these parts. I mean, I may have talked about it a while back because I thought it was a fantastic martial arts movie. Oddly enough, I was beginning to think that I was the only person to actually know about the movie since trying to talk about it to others always ended the same way: Showing them two clips and then going "Yeah, I told you it was awesome" when they're blown away. But I've never actually been able to talk about the movie with someone who has shared knowledge of it prior, which is a little frustrating. So seeing it referenced by an outside source was a little surprising at the least, as well as highly encouraging. If I may quote a section...
I think the first piece of reference material we used was a scene from Tony Jaa’s The Protector. What we knew from the get go is we really wanted to have a combat system that incorporated multi-directional combat, the ability to grapple and counter enemies. We wanted to combine strike based gameplay with a lot of environmental interaction. Environmental interaction has always been what we consider the key hook of our gameplay. It’s something we try to bring about in all of our systems. Making one big violent sandbox was our initial concept.
[...]I remember when Mike first came aboard and started working here he sent me this clip from The Protector – it’s the scene where he goes up the spiral staircase. It’s an amazing fight scene because he uses melee and he uses the environment. There are no camera cuts. It’s all continuous. Mike said with the team’s experience I feel confident we can deliver that and that was in the fall of 2007.
I hate linking the same video twice, but it's topical and totally worth it:
If you're going to reference anything for a combat system for a video game this is definitely on the fucking list and I'm absolutely ecstatic that Sleeping Dogs is going to have this influence in it. I can only hope they really get to this sort of level of interactivity with the environment and the surroundings, because that would be amazing. It does seem like, at the very least, they're taking the core to heart, since it's at least -attempted- at length in several different areas and in several ways, though they won't go into detail. "There is a fish processing plant action scene that has particularly violent props in there. I won’t spoil them, but those are some of the my favorites." Is about as in-depth as they'll go which, on one hand, I can respect that. On the other hand, goddamnit, stop holding out on us. I want to look forward to some environment interaction as seen in the live-action trailer the game lead with, which makes a whole lot more sense now.
Something else that is a little more exciting for me personally is their approach to guns, which saw a fairly heavy focus so far as well. The team understands the difficulty in trying to balance melee with shooting and, no matter what, you're going to have to have your feet firmly planted in one camp, even if you're leaning into the next. For Sleeping Dogs, it sounds like the feet are planted in melee as they try to really have firearms that are worthwhile but not too good, nor too bad. Described as "power ups", guns seem like they'll supplement the core combat, which will more focus on you getting to a foe to melee them, rather than hanging back and pumping round after round. You're not going to keep guns for a while; it seems when it's out, it's gone, meaning as I said, the focus seems to still be on melee. As you all know, I love me some friggin' melee combat, so this is making yet another tantalizing game for me to purchase in this flood of games.
It's safe to say that Sleeping Dogs has had a place on my radar, but with every mention it seems to move closer and closer to the center...which is good and bad. As I said, I have too many games already, both unpurchased and purchased, so it's not like I need another one to look forward to. On the other hand, it's always nice to be excited about something because, well, how often do you really, truly get to be genuinely excited for things? Fairly often, yes, but it's not reliable, and it's not a constant, so we really should enjoy every single time and every single moment that real feeling kicks in. Here's looking forward to part two of the interview which will likely either get a few bits editted here, or if it's big enough, will be a post all on its own. Until then, I'm going to go watch The Protector again and see if I can count just how many bones get broken during the fight scenes. Because it is a lot.