News: United Front Games want to tell a very directed story with Sleeping Dogs, resulting in a linear narrative “without a whole bunch of branching.”
“Oh noble hero, our village will be destroyed if you don’t hurry and eliminate this evil that has befallen us!” – “Sure thing, but first I’m going to collect nine gemstones that this merchant wants for no real reason.” Ah yes, the conundrum of open world games with a story. You need a sense of urgency in the narrative throughline, but you don’t want to limit the player either.
With Sleeping Dogs, United Front Games have decided to tip that balance in the favour of spinning a good yarn. It’s being designed as an open world game, but player freedom will be curtailed.
In an interview with Gamasutra, executive producer Stephen van der Mescht says: “The story we wanted to tell from the get-go was a very directed story. We did not want to bring in a whole bunch of branching with people deciding: ‘Oh, I’m going to do this. Oh, I’m going to do that.’ The story is fairly linear. As you play it, from beginning to end, there’s very little impact that you’re going to have on the outcome of the narrative.”
Most of the side missions will be focused on fleshing out the characters that protagonist Wei Shen will be dealing with. ”While our core storyline is fairly linear, you can really push when and how you want to move it forward as well as flesh out more detail through doing a lot of the secondary content or investigating different aspects of the world – and that is scalable to each player’s different level of experience,” design director Mike Skupa says.
“People come to the game potentially with two different mindsets. They might play a bit of the story and go: ‘I just want to screw around now.’ Then you’ve kind of lost the drama and tension [of the linear story],” van der Mescht continues.
“When we need to get you from one scene to the next because it’s absolutely pivotal, we can do that. We can just say, sequentially, this is the thing you have to do next – or just force it to happen.”
Our own Danny Palmer had a go with Sleeping Dogs recently and came away suitably impressed, calling it “one of the potential sleeper hits of 2012.”
Stay with BeefJack as we keep you informed of everything Sleeping Dogs!