Electrified by its unique history, Hong Kong is a unique blend of East and West. Its dense, modern cityscape and bustling ports are set against a glorious jagged coastline and it remains one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Because of this, alongside the wealth of creative talent located there, Hong Kong has a rich history in media. Hong Kong cinema, from Wong Kar-wai to Jackie Chan to John Woo covers everything from romance to comedy to punchy action.
This combination of its unique geography, history and history in cinema has lead many game developers to look to Hong Kong for inspiration in their own games. Here are ten games inspired by Hong Kong!
Sleeping Dogs (2012)
Wholly set in Hong Kong itself, Sleeping Dogs is pretty much the most Hong Kong you’ll get in any of these titles. Taking cues from the city’s police flicks, Sleeping Dogs gives you control of an undercover cop investigating the city’s criminal underbelly. If you were a fan of Infernal Affairs, or The Departed for that matter, Sleeping Dogs might be for you.
Yakuza 6: Song of Life (2016)
Being a Yakuza game, most of Yakuza 6 is set in Japan; but that won’t stop you from taking an excursion to the density of Hong Kong. What’s great about this rendering of Hong Kong is that it brings the city to life in true Yakuza fashion; bringing the beat-em-up alongside the plethora of culturally relevant mini games.
Shenmue II (2001)
Another iconic Japanese title, albeit much older, Shenmue II also features a brief section in Hong Kong. While this game may be considered ancient by many, it’s wonderful to see the old-school rendering of 2000s Hong Kong, which is still able to translate the hustle and bustle of the city into game form.
Sleep Tight (2018)
While Sleep Tight may not be set in Hong Kong it’s neon-baked aesthetic and dense city streets are undoubtedly inspired by the city. If you’ve always wanted to try a Hong Kong inspired twin-stick shooter, this is it.
Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (2011)
Going bigger again, this reboot of the landmark 2000s original takes place in a cyberpunk and dystopian imagining of the city. Drawing from the original game, Deus Ex thrives through its RPG and immersive sim elements. Although fans of the original might lament the slightly more on-rails experience.
Little Nightmares II (2021)
Unlike some of the titles on this list Little Nightmares II certainly isn’t set in Hong Kong… But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t draw inspiration from the city. One level, around mid-game, is a densely populated metropolis filled with monolithic concrete buildings just like the Chunking Mansions; so it’s definitely drawing lots of it’s visual language from Hong Kong and simply adding way more eeriness to the cityscape.
Ever seen the movie Hard Boiled? Ever wanted to play as the protagonist? Well, this is your chance. Created as a direct sequel to the movie, this game pays homage to John Woo’s iconic Gun-Fu style. It even features legendary Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat voicing the protagonist!
Enter the Matrix (2003)
Speaking of Gun-Fu, The Matrix is a series which draws heavily from both Japanese and Hong Kong media… And the game is no different. In fact, in this classic 2003 rendition of The Matrix there is a whole level set in Hong Kong’s red light district; immersing you in the city while simultaneously serving up the same John Woo style Gun-Fu as Stranglehold.
Inspired by the table top RPG of the same name, this FPS is simply dripping with Hong Kong aesthetics. From the neon-soaked cyberpunk aesthetics to the fast paced combat and dense environments. Although released in 2007, Shadowrun still holds its own today thanks to its developers and community.
Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012)
While this is your run of the mill Call of Duty title in spirit, it does feature a standout level and multiplayer map that is a gorgeous rendition of Hong Kong… Well, it’s a luxury yacht moored just outside the main city, but you get a flavour for the city’s iconic skyline and strong aesthetics even if it’s from a distance!
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Step into Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an iconic city, I don’t think anyone can argue with that. Because of its legendary status, it’s welcoming nature to business and tourism and, perhaps most importantly, it’s noteworthy history in cinema, the city has inspired all of these games and more. If you’re looking to wander the streets, jump into a Gun-Fu fantasy or explore reimaginings of the iconic locale, these games have a lot to offer. While the city has gone through a turbulent decade, it’s influence is still incredibly strong in the hearts and minds of artists and game developers the world over, so I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of Hong Kong in video games!