Not All Saints Row Developers Were Thrilled with the Porn Stars

Illustration for article titled Not All Saints Row Developers Were Thrilled with the Porn Stars

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.

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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.

Illustration for article titled Not All Saints Row Developers Were Thrilled with the Porn Stars

"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.

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"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."

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And dildo bats, porn stars, and alien anal probes only take a second to convey.

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Volition on courting controversy, gender equality and Saints Row IV [Edge via MCVUK]

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

DISCUSSION

Pibbles
Pibbles

You know, thinking back to the early 90s, Nirvana were huge. There was something about their bleak world view and perennially unkempt fashion sense that really spoke to teens of the day. Knitted cardigan sales sky-rocketed. Razor blades gave jeans a new lease of life. But most importantly, the excess of 80s music was delivered a killing blow, and a new grunge trend became the face of alternative music for the next couple of years.

There's an old saying in the music industry that goes a little something like "If they like this band, let's find every other band that sounds and looks remotely like them to see if people will eat it up". And so in the months and years that followed, every band that sounded anything like Nirvana got signed up. Bands that looked like Nirvana got signed up. Bands from Seattle that had once been sat behind Nirvana in a traffic jam were getting signed up by record companies. The market became over-saturated.

Say what you will about Nirvana, but they had something. They had that vital X factor that makes a band icons. They inspired millions, and in turn, their success paved the way for other (often lesser) bands to be heard.

Looking back at some of the absolute dross that was around at that time, it's hard not to feel a little bit of contempt for Nirvana. I liked them, and I occasionally still listen to In Utero all these years later, but because of them and their success our air-waves were inundated with dozens more bands who had nothing. They had neither the frantic energy nor the desolate lyrics of the band that inspired them, but they were reaping the success regardless.

And so when I'm at the pub, pint of ale in hand, scouring through the selection of music on the jukebox and I come across Candlebox, I cringe to myself and think, "Fucking Nirvana!".

I get the exact same feeling of contempt toward Grand Theft Auto whenever I see news articles about Saints Row.

The Saints Row series has seemingly been designed for people who didn't get the "Taste of Come" billboard gag in GTA: San Andreas because it was a little too subtle. It strips away most of what makes the Grand Theft Auto series exceptional, leaving the open world bare bones, filling up that world with anything that qualifies as wacky and kerraazzeeee (spelt like that), before beating the whole package to death with big purple rubber cock.