I’m running after a bandit through North End’s night market, crashing over colorful stalls and sending skewers of meat flying as onlookers shout in Cantonese. I catch up to my target in a dusty alley packed with dumpsters and scattered bin bags, and I’m suddenly surrounded by thugs. I grab one, knee him in the stomach, and smash his head into a whirring air-conditioner, spraying blood on its spinning white fans. Five minutes later, I’m weaving through traffic on my motorbike, staring up at the neon signs. I park up on the east coast of Honk Kong Island, away from the traffic and noise, and amble down a wooden dock. Houseboats bob slowly up and down, a fisherman flicks bait into the water, and an old man slowly sweeps dust from the boards. Peace at last. Sleeping Dogs’ open world is one of my favorite in gaming. It captures the variety, buzz and character of Hong Kong as well as any action movie, and the setting feels as believable now as it did when it came out in 2012. I wanted to find out how the now-defunct United Front Games managed to capture this world, so I spoke to design director Mike Skupa, who told me about the “battle” between making a fun, accessible game and recreating Hong Kong faithfully – and how a trip to the city changed the way the team thought about its world. Compact cities and idyllic islands Sleeping Dogs’ skyscrapers give the impression of a… [Read full story]
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