Bit-Tech: Zynga has been in the news a lot lately for its supposed tendency to clone existing games in a stunningly brazen way, throwing up the difficult question of how similar one game can be to another while also remaining original. Is it enough to just change the colour palette or do you need to replace the graphics wholly? What about if you keep the graphics but change the gameplay? Where, precisely, is the line?
All of which is to say that Sleeping Dogs is very - very - much like Grand Theft Auto IV... while also being nothing like it at the same time.
The similarities are what leap out first, with developer United Front apparently unashamed in showing Rockstar's influence on the game. It's not just the macro-level urban sandbox stuff that speaks to it, but the details too - how Wei Shen's mobile phone pops up out of the lower right corner, how you escape police by leaving the search radius on the mini-map. There's a whole load of stuff tying Sleeping Dogs to GTA IV; Square's Social Hub even sounds like Rockstar's Social Club.