Yesterday saw the long-awaited reveal of the new Saints Row game from Volition. While many expected a remake or remaster of another game from the series, it turned out to be a reboot of the whole franchise, a brand new Saints Row with a new setting, new characters, and a new sensibility. We’ve gathered all the juicy information that’s out there so far.
According to Volition chief creative officer Jim Boone, the rebooted Saints Row has been partly inspired by three films: Baby Driver, John Wick, and Hobbs And Shaw. Speaking to Games Radar, Boone explained that Baby Driver influenced the game’s “commitment to driving,” John Wick informs the intended “brutality,” and Hobbs And Shaw is “a little bit of that Saints Row sort of flavor, the over-the-top kind of nature we’re known for.”
This time set in the fictional Santo Ileso, 2022's Saints Row is themed around cities in the American South West. Each, Volition says, will be distinct, including their version of Las Vegas, here called El Dorado. There will also be the rundown area of Rancho Providencio, while at the other end of the capitalist spectrum, Monte Vista will offer white picket fences in pretty suburbs.
Across all nine, you’ll fight for territory against three other factions, The Idols, Los Panteros, and the Marshalls, while attempting to establish your own start-up crime business. Accompanying you are three new characters, Neenah, Eli, and Kevin, each booted out of one of the other three gangs. Which, yes, does mean there’s no sign of Gat, Kinzie, nor Shaundi. Nor indeed Keith David nor Jane Austin. This is a completely separate story from the previous four games.
As the Saints Row series got sillier, it also got taller. By the fourth game, players spent most of their time flying in futuristic ships or just flying like a superhero. While that’s all being dialed back here, the team ensures there’s still plenty of in-air action, with Polygon reporting the game will include aircraft, hoverboards, and most importantly, wingsuits. The latter will apparently have their own set of side-quests attached.
Aside from that rather peculiar statement about Baby Driver and its “commitment to driving,” the new Saints Row is said to take a new approach to being behind the wheel.
Polygon quotes Boone as saying, “We did spend a lot of time with a driving model to try to make it as drivable as possible,” which means...I suppose...he could be saying... no, I’ve got nothing. But he continues that while the game will still let you fire weapons and drive at the same time, it will be different from before, taking away the car’s automatic controls when in combat.
“We’ve gone a different route in terms of the way the car combat works. You’re using the car more as a weapon in Saints Row than you are using your firearms. As a result of that, we didn’t feel like we needed to try to come up with that cruise control mechanic from the past.”
The game is coming out for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, as well as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, and Volition promises that the game’s co-op will be cross-generation. Every mission in the game will be playable in co-op, the developers say while sharing the good news that you’ll be able to team up with your lucky buddy who managed to get a new-gen console. There’s no clear word on whether things will also be cross-platform, but that’s always far less likely.
While couching everything with promises that the new game will still feature the “trademark” humor of the franchise, there’s definitely a strong emphasis being put on how this isn’t a continuation from Saints Row IV.
The gang is made up of Gen Z characters, super-young and, from the footage seen so far, much more optimistic and enthusiastic than the series’ previous collection of cynical, fed up Gen Xers.
Games Radar reports Boone saying Volition wants to shift the tone, describing the previous games as “of a time,” clearly conscious that such deliberately offensive writing and content would be a much harder sell in 2022. But he also points out that considering SRIV ended with the player as the ruler of the galaxy, having defeated an alien super-being within a computer construct of planet Earth, in a story told by Jane Austin, they hadn’t left themselves much room.
Saints Row is set to release February 25 next year, but we’re guessing it will inevitably slip into April.