‘Saints Row’ developers promise that the reboot will still be fun

It was last August that Saints Row developer Volition . The new title was intended as a swerve away from the series’ trademark preposterousness and juvenalia. Now, , the team would like to clarify that just because it’s grounded, doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun. Saints Row hasn’t suddenly become a po-faced exploration of organized crime, and it remains just as cartoonish as you may expect, it’s just a bit more grounded in its cartoonishness.

Last year, Chief Creative Officer Jim Boone and Lead Mission Designer Jeremy Bernstein said that the Saints Row series had burned out its narrative runway. After all, when your character has conquered the Earth, descended into Hell and fought a hair-rock opera duel with the Devil, street-level crime is going to feel like a big comedown. “I’ve been wanting to clarify that!” said Creative Director Brian Traficante, “I believe you can continue that runway […] but we didn’t want to.”

“In terms of going back to the grounded tone, it took some time,” said Traficante, as the team sought to analyze and define “what is Saints Row?” That series-defining formula seems to focus on meshing fun gameplay, silly jokes, cartoonish violence and a hefty dose of reference gags. “At times, it’s a gag for a gag’s sake, but there’s a consciousness of making sure that it’s exactly what we want to do, and it’s the right time to do it,” he said. There was a focus on ensuring that there’s plenty of light moments to balance out the times in the story when things go dark.

Writer Jennifer Campbell said that the team abides by “the rule of making sure that you’re punching up, not punching down.” Campbell added that “we’re exploring a more diverse group of characters so it gives us a lot more avenues to explore, anyway.” Traficante said that the developers created “internal mechanisms” to help ensure that a broad group of people could weigh in on some of the edgier gags in the game. He added that the team wanted to craft jokes that would enable “everyone [to] be a part of the joke.”

Saints Row’s use of parody reached a fairly extreme level during the fourth game, where it ran a series of relationship-simulation sequences in the vein of Mass Effect. (Except, of course, the camera wasn’t cutting away as quickly when two characters decided to spend some alone time together.) These parodies are “definitely in the recipe,” said Traficante, but that they aren’t “front and center” in the new title, so players will need to hunt out the nods.

A pair of friends dance along inside a Cowboy-themed bar.


And players will spend a lot of time being encouraged to hunt through the world of Santo Ileso in pursuit of storytelling, gameplay and entertainment. The team has laced the city with randomly spawning discoverables, like a security fan loaded with cash, for you to find as you walk around. Traficante said that it takes testers around a week, playing full time, to work their way through the bulk of the title, which is vast and ever-growing.

As well as the breadth of the city, Volition also wanted to emphasize the depth of features like character customization. Users can expect a level of tweaking that looks to be beyond the level offered in, say, Cyberpunk 2077. You’ll be able to customize your appearance, voice and clothing, as well as the looks of your cars and weapons. And none of these features will be pay-to-use, mercifully, with everything instead unlocking the further into the game you progress.

Interestingly, the new title has a little less narrative freedom than some of its predecessors as a consequence of this richer, deeper world. This, says Jennifer Campbell, is to help imbue the game with a greater sense of purpose and meaning, bolstering the story. “We were really focused on keeping a causal chain, because you’re doing things in response to something,” she said. “You’re shooting at things because you did something earlier in the mission to elicit a response from an enemy faction,” she added, with the aim of putting “reason behind the things that we asked the player to do.” Players will feel that “their actions are affecting the game state.”

Having now seen around 45 minutes of gameplay footage, I can say that the new title focuses on a narrower definition of silly. You can melee an opponent, stick a grenade down their throat and then throw their body over to a group of enemies to blow them up. Or you can ask a friend in co-op play to pick up your car with a helicopter’s trailing electromagnet and drop you off at a mission location. There are piñata guns and footballs that stick to people hurling them up into the air, as well as a new wingsuit mechanic that enables you to bounce off a pedestrian to give yourself more flight time.

Certainly, the arrival of this Saints Row game feels like it’s going to be more of an event than it did previously. The enduring success of GTA Online’s ever-present crime simulation sandbox has sucked so much air out of the genre that having a new alternative should be a big deal: We haven’t had a true “GTA-like” game since 2016’s Watch Dogs 2. The one risk is that Saints Row is looking to perfect a game that users have now moved on from.

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‘Saints Row’ reboot gets pushed back to August 2022

Saints Row, the reboot of the open-world shooter with an emphasis on gonzo fun and campy excess, has been delayed. Volition’s chief creative officer, Jim Boone, has announced that the title will now land on August 23rd, 2022, back from the original launch date of February 25th.

In a statement, Boone reiterated that the title wasn’t undergoing any wholesale changes and that the team had adapted well to the adversities imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. But that the original deadline did not offer the team enough time to “do our vision justice,” especially given the “size and scope” of the new game.

Boone added that the extra time will be spent ensuring that the game gets further “fine tuning,” with an emphasis on improving the title’s “overall quality and polish.” He closed the statement by saying that the finished product will have “been worth the wait,” especially given how much is riding on the launch.

Saints Row (2022) is a clean-sheet reboot of the series, which had lain dormant since 2015’s Gat out of Hell (we’re still not counting Agents of Mayhem). Earlier this year, Volition’s developers said that while there was a degree of affection for the series, narratively it had run its course — especially since the last title was a rock musical-themed journey into hell.

Consequently the new title is set in the Four Corners region of the US, with the player character flanked by a trio of new associates. And whereas the previous series spun out into parodying whatever genre was en vogue at the time, this new title is focused more explicitly on the material concerns of its crew. Except, you know, it’s a Saints Row game, so put your tongue in your cheek while you’re doing all of this.

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Saints Row delayed deeper into 2022

Earlier this year, we learned that the Saints Row franchise is making a comeback. When this new game, which is simply titled Saints Row, was revealed, it was given a release date of February 25th, 2022, which seemed ambitious when it was announced. As it turns out, it was a little ambitious – at least for the COVID-19 era – as Saints Row has now been delayed.

New Saints Row release set for August

The delay was announced in a post to the Saints Row website today, with Volition chief creative officer Jim Boone announcing it. “Saints Row will no longer release on the originally announced date of 25th February 2022, instead it will launch worldwide on 23rd August 2022,” Boone’s announcement reads.

That’s nearly a six-month delay for the title, with Boone saying that Saints Row needs more “fine tuning” in order to do justice to Volition’s vision for the project. Boone notes that if Saints Row had been released in February, it “wouldn’t be up to the standards we’ve set ourselves.” He also suggests that the game is mostly finished on the content front, with Volition focusing on “overall quality and polish” during this extra six months.

As with so many other game delays, COVID-19 is at the center of this one, with Boone saying that Volition underestimated the pandemic’s impact on the project. While this delay is indeed a sizable one, Boone says that it’s necessary in order to craft the best game possible, which he reiterates will be the “biggest and best Saints Row game ever.”

COVID-19 claims another release date

It’s not a shock at all to hear that the COVID-19 pandemic was one of the driving factors behind this delay, as it’s turned game development on its head. Saints Row is just the latest on a long list of games that have been delayed because of the pandemic, as teams are forced to work remotely and progress on development slows.

In this case, Boone says that even though the pandemic did impact the project, the team at Volition was able to swiftly adapt to working from home and continued being productive despite the changes. Indeed, it seems that delays caused by the pandemic are commonplace even when teams can make the change to working remotely without losing much in the way of productivity.

This almost certainly isn’t the last COVID-related game delay we’ll see either, as the pandemic is still very much a reality in many parts of the world. We’ll keep our eyes peeled for more from Saints Row, but otherwise, look for the game to launch on August 23rd, 2022.

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Amazon is adding ‘DIRT 5’ and ‘Saints Row The Third’ to its Luna+ game library

Amazon has announced the titles it’s adding to the Luna+ channel in July, and they include DIRT 5, Saints Row The Third: Remastered and Valkyria Chronicles 4. The e-commerce giant offered Prime subscribers no-invite access to its Luna game streaming service last Prime Day, giving you the chance to try it out for seven days. If you’re wondering whether to pay for a subscription after the trial period is over, perhaps knowing what’s coming to Luna+ can help you decide.

DIRT 5 is an off-road racing game featuring over 70 routes in 10 global locations. On Luna, you can play in Free Play and Local Split-screen Multiplayer mode, and you can also play the narrative-focused career mode that pits your player against Bruno Durand in a series of championships. The Online (Races and Party Games), Time Trial, Playgrounds and RaceNet features are not available on the version coming to Luna+. If the omissions don’t bother you, the game will be available on the channel starting on July 15th.

While it doesn’t have an exact release date yet, the remastered version of Saints Row The Third will also be available on the service next month. In the action-adventure game, the Third Street Saints are no longer just a street gang but celebrities with merch like sneakers and energy drinks. The game pits them against a criminal organization called the Syndicate, which now demands tribute from the group.

If you’d rather play Valkyria Chronicles 4, though, you can do so starting on July 8th. The tactical role-playing game will have you commanding a squad of soldiers in the battlefield as they fight the Empire in the Second Europan War. You’re getting access to the Complete Edition of the title on Luna+, including all bonus content, add-on missions and unlockable rewards. These titles join DiRT Rally 2.0, Killer Queen Black, The Falconeer and Yakuza 0, which Amazon added to Luna+ earlier this month. 

Amazon’s Luna streaming service gives you the ability to play the games it has on offer on devices you already own, such as Windows and Mac PCs, Fire TVs, iPhones and iPads (via the web) and supported Android phones. You’ll have to request for an invite or own a supported Fire TV device to access it, and after you get in, you’ll have subscribe to one of the channels available. At the moment, your options are the $6-a-month Luna+ channel and the Ubisoft+ channel. As you can guess, the latter gives you unlimited access to Ubisoft’s games, though it will cost you $15 a month instead.

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Saint’s Row, TimeSplitters Will Not Appear at E3 2021

Saints Row, Dead Island, Metro, and TimeSplitters will not make an appearance at Summer Game Fest or E3 2021.

This news comes by way of publisher Deep Silver, explaining these beloved franchises will be absent from its parent company Koch Media’s E3 showcase. It adds that these games will not appear “at any other E3 event.”

Our parent company @KochMedia_HQ is making an announcement as part of #SummerGamesFest on June 11th. To give you a head’s up, you won’t see Dead Island, Saints Row, Metro or TimeSplitters there (or at any other E3 2021 event). We’ll let you know when we have news to share.

— Deep Silver (@deepsilver) June 4, 2021

This is surprising to many fans, as some were expecting to get a reveal for the new Saints Row game that has been in development for quite some time. Aside from that, Dead Island 2, which has been in the works for the better part of the past decade, was rumored to make an appearance at E3 2021. It was first revealed at E3 2014 and has since changed developers from Yager Development to Sumo Digital and then to Dambuster Studios.

Recently, Deep Silver announced the revival of TimeSplitters, noting that Free Radical would be reformed to develop a new game in the series. As part of the announcement, the publisher explained the game hadn’t started development yet, so it’s unsurprising that it’ll be skipping E3 2021. Aside from that, Metro Exodus, the most recent entry in the series, released in 2019, and although it’s likely a new game is being created, it’s still too early to have anything to show at E3.

Despite these beloved franchises not making an appearance, Koch Media has numerous properties under its belt, so fans will still have plenty of reveals to look forward to this summer.

Koch Media will hold its E3 2021 presentation at noon PT on July 11.

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