The highly anticipated title Sleeping Dogs (Sleeping Dogs Hong Kong Secret Police in Japan) from developer United Front and publisher Square Enix has received a significant blow today after it was revealed that not only has Sleeping Dogs received an Adults Only rating in Japan, but also that the game will have some alterations and cuts. These alterations appear to be centered on civilian casualties, a gameplay element that the Japanese rating board isn’t too fond of.
Most notably, the game will now feature a penalty system for attacking civilians “during certain missions,” although it is unclear what the punishment may be at this point. Removals from the game include a character who signals the start of street race side missions, presumably so players don’t have the ability to run over the NPC, and a “less gratuitous sex scene.”
The AO rating means consumers will have to ask for the game by name as the game will not be visible on store shelves and will be kept behind the counter. Sleeping Dogs is currently scheduled for release on August 15.
Analysis: Censoring, alterations, cuts, and the like always suck, and this is no exception. To say I’m excited for Sleeping Dogs would be a severe understatement as the game looks utterly fantastic. The setting and story in particular catch my attention, and that’s before you talk about the great game mechanics that appear to be in play. I’m curious to see how other rating boards will view the content and what their plan of action will be on any content deemed too offensive.
This is all too familiar to me as an Australian gamer, and I’m glad we’ll finally be joining the rest of the mature world once next year rolls around. Sorry, Japan. If it’s any consolation, I know exactly what you’re going through. If you ever need to talk, you know how to reach me.