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7 QUESTIONS; ..with Feargus Carroll of United Front Games.

Sleeping Dogs is out now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC Sleeping Dogs is far and away the best game of 2012 so far, comfortably knocking MaxPayne 3 off that coveted spot in our affections.

This sensational open world romp sees the player struggle with a moral battle as well as countless enemies and tasks.

You are Wei Shen, an undercover cop working his way up in a Triad gang in Hong Kong - and trying to cope with divided loyalties.

With fewer guns than normal for this sort of game, there's a more thoughtful, strategic feel to combat, while the driving elements are utterly astounding.

If you're desperate for the next GTA game, get Sleeping Dogs right now.

As far as we're concerned, this is even better than the last outing in that series. The stakes have been raised - massively.

We talked to Feargus Carroll, senior producer at United Front Games.

The game has had a difficult time in production - was it all worth it? Yes, definitely, although they were dark times. But looking at the reception the game is getting now, I know that the whole team would do it again in a heartbeat.

The city looks incredible and plays a huge role in making the game different. How hard was it to bring it to life this way? While Hong Kong is not the largest city to recreate, it is jam-packed with a huge variety of neighbourhoods, architecture and natural features, such as Victoria Peak.

The biggest challenge was doing justice to this hotchpotch of elements, and yet making the city playable and memorable, not just a big mess.

The game has a really fresh twist thanks to Wei's moral battle. Was it important to make it more than another gangster rising through the ranks-type-thing? We were heavily influenced by Hong Kong crime cinema, especially Infernal Affairs (later remade as The Departed).

In Hong Kong cinema, there is no good and bad - heroes and villains each have both a dark side and moral code.

The great part of this game is that it allows us to explore that idea - just how far can Wei Shen go without losing his moral compass and turning into the very thing that he's out to bring down... a Triad gangster.

Why are there only two dates with each girlfriend? Amanda was foxy! The internet is outraged - we want more!

We all want more Amanda (voiced by Emma Stone) but Wei is supposed to be bringing down the most dangerous Triad gang in Hong Kong - he doesn't have time for long-term relationships. There's much more unarmed combat than gunplay - again, was this to make it different, more thoughtful and strategic? As we reference in the game, there are surprisingly few firearms in Hong Kong - the Triad weapon of choice is, in fact, the cleaver or machete, anything sharp and/or pointy. And by focusing on Wei's superb kung fu skills, we empower the player to be a Hong Kong cinema hero.

The driving elements are superb - almost like a whole other game. Exactly how big a priority were they? Many of the original UFG studio members were the guys who started Black Box studios, which made Need for Speed Underground 1, 2 and Most Wanted. Driving around an open world city should be fantastic fun and we felt there was a space to make our driving the best in an open world game.

Do you feel you have raised the stakes for GTA and when will you start work on the sequel? Personally, I think they will struggle to match this game. You're very kind. Of course ROck Star Games have a tremendous track record of great open world games. However, we like to think they will stand up and take notice.

If I told you when the sequel work starts, several chefs with cleavers would chase me down a back alley!


FINE LINE... Will you stay true to your cop morals... or become a Triad crook for real?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Aug 26, 2012
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