Sleeping Dogs, an upcoming open-world crime thriller game by Square Enix, has a rather interesting backstory. Formerly developed as a new entry in the True Crime series, one that was set to take place in Hong Kong, it didn’t fare well in development. After a long and costly gestation period, Activision cancelled the project and the publishing rights eventually fell into the hands of Square Enix and Namco Bandai Games jointly. No longer part of the True Crime series, Sleeping Dogs is set for release this summer, and it is being given a boost by an impressive roster of voice talent. Fans of both Hollywood and Hong Kong cinema are bound to recognize a few of the name that come up.

The plot of Sleeping Dogs concerns the central character Officer Wei Shen, a San Francisco police office originally born in Hong Kong. He is sent back to his birthplace to help combat a Triad criminal organization by going undercover to infiltrate and take down from within. Throughout the game, he becomes torn between his mission for the Hong Kong police, which is at odds with the Triad code of honor he has adopted. A good guy getting ingrained into the criminal underworld is a well-worn plot device that has been used countless times, but the multiple plot threads and the overarching story definitely make Sleeping Dogs a game that we’ll be keeping on our radar as the launch date approaches.

The voice talent in Sleeping Dogs is also first rate. Taking on the part of Wei Shen is Will Yun Lee, best known to western audiences for his roles in Die Another Day and the upcoming remake of Total Recall. Central to the plot is his police inspector companion Pendrew, voiced by British actor Tom Wilkinson, who you may remember from Batman Begins and his brilliant (and quite revealing) performance in The Full Monty. Rounding out the pool of well-known voice talent is Emma Stone (of The Amazing Spider-Man fame) and Lucy Liu. Several other actors lend their voices as well, including many familiar faces to fans of Hong Kong action cinema.

Sleeping Dogs is an open-world, third person action game, developed jointly by United Front Games and Square Enix London Studios. It is scheduled for release on August 14, 2012 in North America, with subsequent releases for Europe, Australia and Japan also confirmed. The game will be available on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC platforms.