We’re not sure what it is. Maybe they’re both open world games that acknowledge criminal activities as a route towards enjoyment. Maybe it’s because Saints Row originally started out as a (better looking, more fun) clone of Grand Theft Auto. Maybe because Saints Row has been getting bigger and bigger in the years where GTA has been absent. And let’s not forget, while Rockstar Games delivered a “just good” game in Grand Theft Auto IV rather than the AAA blockbuster we all expected, that too with less bugs, it was Saints Row 2 that impressed people with the sheer amount of improvements and activities you could perform.
It was Saints Row: The Third that took a good hard look at the genre that it was in – and subsequently decided to screw it and just pack as much insane, randomness as possible into a single game. Saints Row 4 is continuing on in that tradition, and looks to be even crazier than ever while. Super heroes, aliens, gangsta presidents, reality simulators and sci-fi weapons only scratch the surface of what to expect.
So the question then: Why does Saints Row 4 have to compete with Grand Theft Auto V?
Granted, Saints Row 4 is coming out on August 23rd this year for current generation consoles. That’s just a month away from Grand Theft Auto V’s release on September 17th. It’d be foolish to assume that Deep Silver/Koch Media didn’t plan this. And why not garner some media attention and potential buzz by having your open world game release next to one of the biggest games of all year?
This strategy has been known to backfire in the past, for both movies and games. Consumers or viewers who couldn’t partake in one more popular property would be prompted to check out the alternative to pass their time. But it just so happens that the trickle-down doesn’t occur and the other property are left in the cold. After all, people have money to save. Not everyone can afford every single that comes out in a year. With a one month gap though, Koch Media can properly eliminate that possibility.
But that doesn’t answer the question. Prototype and inFamous came out around the same time; the latter was exclusive to the PS3, and the former was multi-platform. It just so happens that fanboys would get riled up on finding a challenger to their favourite console. Again, it doesn’t make sense but it could somewhat be understood. Especially since both games were open world, super-hero games.
What does GTA V have in common with Saints Row 4 though? One is an open world, action adventure centred on crime. The other is…insane. In fact, because Saints Row just does what it feels like after the third game, there is no clear indicator of trying to one up GTA V in the realism/missions/art style/plot departments. Maybe because they have a history? Friggin’ Mario and Sonic have a history and no one is talking about Sonic games competing with Mario anymore. Why GTA and Saints Row?
So the next time you look over Saints Row 4 and think it looks positively dandy, remember: That’s okay. And when you tell people you’re looking forward to Grand Theft Auto V, remember: That’s also okay. One makes more money than the other – one usually succeeds in the long run while the other succeeds less (or even outright fails). GTA V is already this year’s biggest success and it hasn’t released yet. But just because no other game will be as successful doesn’t mean they lost the competition. It just means they’re doing their own thing and having fun in the process. And if consumers also have enough fun in the process, then even better.
Like Saints Row 4.