'True Crime Hong Kong' Is Dead, Hello 'Sleeping Dogs' [Update]

[Update: In the original version of this post, I identified developers United Front as the team behind the Just Cause series. That would actually be Square Enix London Studios and has been corrected in the article.]

The True Crime series was Activision's answer to GTA: a somewhat tongue-in-cheek open world action game with a focus on melee combat, featuring real-world locations and a decent amount of above-tier voice acting (even if the gameplay itself wasn't much to write home about. For a while, the third game in the series, True Crime: Hong Kong was a thing before Activision chose to divest themselves of the franchise, handing it off to Square Enix two months later.

Well, Square has had the Just Cause collaborators at Square Enix London Studios along with United Front hammering away at the game for the last few months and it's been rechristened Sleeping Dogs.

Find out more after the break.

Based on the press release below, it looks like the melee component is what's being pushed this time out, as well as the boilerplate story of betrayal and revenge (name one open world action game that doesn't have "betrayal and revenge"). The big question is how is the material being handled and has United Front been able to reform a title that was once described by Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg as "not at the top of [the] genre?"

While all that remains to be seen, there's a new live-action trailer to announce the arrival of the new game, and I'm holding out hope that the United Front guys are able to inject that same measure of insanity into Sleeping Dogs while still figuring out a way to avoid the shaky narrative of the True Crime series.

Here's the official copy from Square Enix:

Sleeping Dogs catapults players into the role of undercover cop Wei Shen, tasked with taking down one of the world’s most fearsome criminal organisations from the inside... the Hong Kong Triads. As players explore the bustling and crowded Hong Kong island, through its neon-lit side streets and sprawling street markets, an incredible story unfolds of loyalty and betrayal where Wei begins to question his own motives as he is sucked in deeper than he could ever imagine.

Offering players an island packed with action, every street corner, market stall, harbor dock or city skyscraper can become an opportunity for intense shoot-outs, adrenaline-fuelled street races and intense, brutal martial arts combat. Featuring one of the most intuitive and imaginative combat systems, Sleeping Dogs empowers players to perform an extensive set of martial arts moves, singlehandedly taking on numerous opponents. Players perform bone-crunching kicks and combos, vicious counters and a cinematic set of environmental takedowns making use of countless real-world items from circular saws to phone booths, incinerators to refrigerator doors.

Sleeping Dogs will be hitting the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in the second half of 2012.

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