Saints Row 4 Preview - PAX East 2013
We get the first look at the upcoming open world action title
When THQ went bankrupt earlier this year and Volition Inc was purchased by Deep Silver, one could not help but hope the essence of the Saints Row series would be preserved. It was hard to gauge what stage of development the game was in, and where the series would go after its third installment set a new standard for craziness in the open-world crime genre. But many questions were answered when the trailer for Saints Row IV dropped less than a month ago.
In response to any doubts about the preservation of Volition’s creative influence, Deep Silver is making a considerable effort to show off its newly acquired title, and brought the creative minds behind Saints Row IV to PAX East this past weekend. Senior Producer Jim Boone and Creative Director Steve Jaros were on hand to show off some of the gameplay for Saints Row IV.
“We were actually in production on Saints Row IV while we were working on Enter the Dominatrix,” said a very excited Boone. “But we eventually decided to roll Enter the Dominatrix into our work on four.” Thus players can expect to see some elements from the previously cancelled DLC in Volition’s new offering.
Boone started up the demo, which showed the lead character wearing a stars and stripes top hat with a matching vest. Volition explained they felt the natural progression to make Saints Row IV even bigger and better than its predecessor was to have the leader of the Saints become the President of the United States. The POTUS wasted no time in showing off the signature sliding crotch grab from Saints Row: The Third, but he also had some new tricks up his sleeve.
The first new weapon that Volition demonstrated was the Inflator Gun. The Inflator was showed off in the trailer, expanding enemies’ bodies so that they look like balloon caricatures of themselves. The next gun (and what seems to be a crowd favorite) was the Dubstep Gun. When you pull the trigger of the gun it plays generic dubstep music, but once the drop hits everyone in the gun’s range immediately stops what they’re doing and starts dancing.
After wreaking havoc on the citizens of Steelport, The President hopped in a monster truck and started cruising through his hometown. That was when he was attacked the Zin. The Zin are an alien force that have abducted the President and invaded Earth, significantly raising the stakes for Saints Row 4. With the aliens come a slew of new weapons, vehicles, and other goodies for you to play with in the game world. “With alien invaders we thought we’d level the playing field,” Boone said as the President battled his extraterrestrial foes. “So we decided to give your character superpowers.”
Right on cue the President broke into a super speed run, tearing down the streets of Steelport looking like DC’s Flash. Other superpowers were shown off as well, like an ice blast ability, and super jump/gliding ability which can end in a powerful slam. Leaping off of one building and dive bombing down onto another, the President took out a handful of aliens with a powerful punch. It was described to the room that these powers would be given to the players fairly early in the game, but more would be added and upgraded as the players progressed.
When asked how Volition comes up with their wacky, off-based style of humor, Jaros responded: “We sit down in a room and open it up for discussion. We try out a lot of ideas, but the good ones always seem to stick around.”
The team then showed off the new version of Steelport, under its alien invasion. The city had a more sci-fi look to it than in previous games, with what looked like alien aircraft hovering over some of the buildings. Between the art direction, invading aliens, and super powers, science fiction has a strong presence in this Saints Row entry.
Things won’t be too different though. Boone and Jaros promised that many of the favorite characters would be back in Saints Row IV and there would be notable celebrity cameos just like in the previous game. Also, player characters from Saints Row: The Third would be transferable to the new game.
The message was clear in the response to questions after the demo. Volition went back into their writing room after Saints Row: The Third and decided to make the sequel even bigger. This goal is clearly present in the zaniness and scope of Saints Row IV, which was described as a much larger world than the game before it.
The transition from THQ to Deep Silver seems to have barely affected Volition. The only hiccup was in deciding how to roll out the DLC which Boone said would be significant. More costumes, weapons, and some of the elements from Enter the Domniatrix that didn’t make it into Saints Row IV for narrative and thematic reasons will be released later as DLC.
It looks like Saints Row IV has its eyes on pleasing fans. The same nonsensical style and over-the-top action is back in full force and the creative team at Volition seemed excited to let you play it. Saints Row IV is slated for release August 20th, 2013 on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.