Have you been soaking in the sights of the fictional Hong Kong in United Front Games' Sleeping Dogs? Have you enjoyed beating the crap, mercilessly, out of ordinary NPCs and gang members alike? Do you revel in the game's ultra-violence? Well, if you though it was all fun and games, for an ex-Triad gang member, the art is pretty much an accurate imitation of real-life.
I'm sure there are brewing pitchfork and torch sessions over in parent-teacher forums and communities involving mothers against violence over the recently released Sleeping Dogs. The game is an unforgiving look at the dangers of Triad gang-life and the uncompromising antics that follow suit with being in one of the most feared gangs in the world.
Over at Pocket-Lint, they managed to talk to a real-life ex-Triad member who lived in Hong Kong for a while and worked as a bouncer at a Triad night club. Sounds kind of spiffy, eh? Well, former-Marine Chris Thrall explained that his first day in Hong Kong was anything but spiffy, saying...
“My first time in Hong Kong I was in an area called Sheung Wan," Thrall explains. "While I was in the street, a gun and grenade battle broke out between a triad group who had attacked a very upmarket jewellery shop.
Oh well that sounds awfully cheerful. Grenades being chucked down a mainstreet near a high-end jewelry store...yeah...spiffy.
If you thought that's all, think again. Oftentimes in open-world action games we're surrounded by a colorful cast of caricatured personalities and tropes. However, according to Thrall his two partners in crime consisted of a 6 foot 7 inch assassin (I kid you not) and a burly ex-street fighter. That sounds like a Steven Soderbergh movie waiting to happen. Thrall stated that...
“We had a guy come to our club one night, a very small chap wearing a scruffy suit, he must have been about 50,” ... “Our 6 ft 7in mate is literally running towards the door with this man in a scruffy suit strapped over his shoulder."
According to Thrall his tall and dangerous comrade doubled-down as a part-time assassin for the Triads, oftentimes hitching a ride on a boat to carry out hits for the gang in mainland China.
The story sounds too ridiculous to be true and something right out of a video game. Well, it's no surprise that a lot of the story-missions in Sleeping Dogs are mirrored off some of the experiences and stories that the production crew from United Front Games were told by Triad members while they were visiting Hong Kong for research. It definitely doesn't make the popular Asian destination sound like a very hospitable place if you're planning on spending time planting flowers and practicing a state of zen.
You can read up on the entire story from Mr. Thrall over at Pocket-Lint. For those of you curious what Hong Kong is like in the open-world action game from United Front Games and Square Enix, you can do so by picking up a copy of Sleeping Dogs for home consoles or PC.