Sleeping Dogs’ East Asian mafia-centric story isn’t the only thing reminding us of SEGA’s Yakuza series.
A trailer released yesterday shows off the heavy-hitting voice talent behind the game. Surrounding the main character, Wei Shen (Will Yun Lee) are a number of well-known Asian actors, as well as a few others. Wei Shen’s best friend is played by popular Hong Kong actor Edison Chen; Lucy Liu and Kelly Hu show up in the trailer as well. The big surprise is Emma Stone, who stands out as an even bigger star currently.
Similarly, when the first Yakuza game debuted in 2006, it boasted a voice cast including Michael Madsen, Eliza Dushku, Mark Hamill and quite a few other actors. Despite that, it hit with little more than a dull thud. Sleeping Dogs has the benefit of being a Western-made game, not having to suffer the pains of localization and the troubled marketing that so often seems to accompany Japanese-made games.
As a long-time fan of Hong Kong cinema, I can’t help but imagine what this might sound like in Cantonese, but it’s great seeing a predominantly Asian American cast behind something like this, and it’s great to see an open world game visiting location as rich as Hong Kong, rather than New York or Los Angeles again (I’m looking at you, GTA).