Saints Row developer Volition uploaded a story trailer for the soon-to-be-released game today, finally giving us a look at what the upcoming reboot’s narrative has in store for players.
Volition’s reboot to its long-running open-world crime comedy series, Saints Row, was first revealed in August 2021. Originally slated for a February release, it was delayed so the developers could have more time to “fine tune” the game.
Saints Row’s reboot isn’t just ditching its old cast of characters, it’s also leaving behind the fictional urban cities of Stilwater and Steelport for the fictional Southwest city of Santo Ileso. You play as The Boss (not that one), a young gang member who decides to leave their old crew and start up a new gang whose raison d’etre is to seize control of Santo Ileso from the three gangs that occupy it: the muscle-bound grease monkeys of Los Panteros, the anarchist outfit the Idols, and the private military corporation known as Marshall Defense Industries. In typical Saints Row fashion, the trailer features action movie shots of characters performing wrestling move takedowns, driving a car up the side of a billboard, and riding the wings of a crashing plane.
While the new crew in Saints Row don’t evoke the same sense of camaraderie that the series’ previous cast did (at least not in this two-minute trailer), they do give off similar vibes to Watch Dogs 2’s band of hacker misfits known as DedSec. In other words, they’re a young, ragtag group of inoffensive millennials looking to make a name for themselves in a crime-filled city. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering Watch Dogs 2 star Marcus Holloway and crew were the shot of fresh air that franchise desperately needed after the series’ original star, a boring, scruffy 40-something white guy #5 named Aiden Pierce, kicked things off on a drab, dull note. Let’s just hope that come Saints Row’s release, the new crew’s dialogue is akin to the dynamic of the good ‘ol 3rd Street Saints, rather than dipping into Borderlands-esque memey internet talk.
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The original Saints Row released back in 2006 and spawned three sequels, the most recent of which, Saints Row IV, released in 2013. With each new entry, the series moved further away from being regarded as a Grand Theft Auto imitator and toward becoming its own bonkers open-world shoot-bang series. Saints Row’s act of coming into its own came with replacing the somewhat serious street gang roots of the first game with a more cartoonish, action-movie sensibility, complete with a cavalcade of ridiculous weapons like the dubstep gun and the appropriately named dildo sword, the Penetrator. Plus, Saints Row had the one-and-only Johnny Gat, which for me is more than enough to chalk up the series as GTA’s betters. Love that Johnny Gat.
It’s looking like Saints Row’s reboot won’t feature series mainstays like Gat, Shaundi, and Pierce. Which is probably for the best considering Saints Row IV and its stand-alone expansion Saints Row: Gat out of Hell had the former-street-gang-turned-political-influencers face off against aliens in an Avengers: Endgame-type misadventure. It’s safe to say there isn’t anything left for Stilwater’s 3rd Street Saints to do. Let’s just hope the new kiddos are able to fill the very large shoes of their predecessors.
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Since its announcement, Volition has drip-fed players with nuggets of information about the game, as well as released Saints Row Boss Factory, a free-to-download character creator in which players could mess around making all kinds of monstrosities. If the reactions from the game press who were invited to Volition’s 40-ish minute hands-off preview game press event in May are anything to go off of, Saints Row’s reboot will maintain the series’ balls-to-the-wall action while giving fans something fresh to get lost in.
Saints Row is slated to release on August 23.