Dildo bats. Adult video stars. Alien anal probes. Yep, this is the world of Saints Row. That doesn't mean everyone making the games have been happy with how Saints Row has been handled or happy about porn star producers.
In an interview with Edge, Saints Row IV associate producer Kate Nelson talked about how the series has been viewed—and sold—in the past.
"I did not always love how much THQ put an emphasis on porn stars,” says Nelson. "In Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 3 there was an emphasis on the Penthouse girls, and earlier Tera Patrick. I think it’s important in marketing games to make sure that the essence of the game is what’s being marketed, and I think the porn star angle didn’t really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart, which is a parody. We like to poke fun."
Nelson does bring up a good point. The schtick with Tera Patrick (below), who was a "special producer" on Saints Row 2, didn't feel like parody. It felt like porn.
"Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualised as a producer of our project," Nelson continued, "or saying the Penthouse girls are our QA staff—I just...I can see the humour in that angle of promotion but for me that’s the line where it gets into reality."
According to Nelson, Saints Row has, in many ways, empowered both minorities and women.
"You can be an important female character—you don't have to have a D cup either," she told Edge. "You can be large woman, a small woman—you can be blue. You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative.
"I think our game actually does represent women in a positive way," Nelson continued, "but the press will focus on, oh hey, there are strippers, or there's a dildo bat—it's unfortunate from my perspective that that doesn’t come through. Because I hear women talk on panels and they're like, 'There are no people that look like me in games.' Well, actually in my game [the main character] can look like you as our customization system is so extensive. We don't get that across in our marketing or in the press because it's difficult—we only have 30 seconds to explain."
And dildo bats, porn stars, and alien anal probes only take a second to convey.