|Saints Row 4|
Publisher: Deep Silver, Koch Media
Developer: Volition Games
Platforms: PS3, PC, Xbox 360
Genre: Open World
Release Date: NA: August 20th 2013, EU: August 23rd 2013, AU: September 12th 2013, JP: January 23rd 2014
Saints Row 4 is an open-world action adventure game developed by Volition, Inc. originally slated to be published by THQ and now ready to be published by Deep Silver for the Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and PC.
It was officially unveiled in March 2013 after months of rumours and speculation and is a direct sequel to Saints Row: The Third. [reference]
Saints Row 4 was first hinted at on November 9th 2011 when THQ’s Danny Bilson stated, before the release of Saints Row: The Third that, “I already know what Saints Row 4 is about, and it is wilder than [Saints Row: The Third]”. It was later revealed that the upcoming expansion pack for the third game Enter the Dominatrix was being cancelled and merged with what would be the next game in the series. According to then THQ president Jason Rubin, this was done to allow the development team “more time, more resources and a broader scope for the project”.
Saints Row IV runs on the same engine as the previous game and has a similar user interface, with most of the new additions being in the environments, vehicles, weapons, super powers and other aspects of the game.
Earlier this year, THQ filed for bankruptcy and held an auction for its major franchises and studios, one of those being Saints Row and developer Volition, Inc. It was later revealed on January 23rd that Koch Media had made the winning bid for the series, bidding $22.3 million. Despite being in control of the studio, Deep Silver – part of Koch Media – revealed that Volition had full creative control and was allowing it time to polish the game for release. [reference]
In an interview with Scott Philips of whether they had other crazy ideas like dragons to include in the game He stated that, “We don’t have them in the final game, no. I wish we did, It was one of those things that I told the team – a lot of people asked how are we gonna fit this in the game and I was like, ‘Don’t worry, if it’s fun we’re gonna find a way to make it fit.’ But it didn’t work out. But with this game we have a really great premise that allows us to do what we want to do. And that was one of the key things that helped us keep the insanity up.” [reference]
Saints Row IV takes place after the events of Saints Row: The Third. The Third Street Saints have now risen to the level of the United States presidency with the protagonist being the President of the United States. However, not long after, an alien invasion lead by Zinyak is launched on the world. [reference]
The aliens transport the Saints to a computer simulation of Steelport – the setting for the third game – with slight futuristic styling. The role of the protagonist is to rescue the previous president. Given the nature of virtual reality, each member of the Saints now has super powers and use powerful weaponry to fight off Zinyak, destroy the alien oppression, escape the simulation of Steelport and eventual save the world from the aliens.
Saints Row IV begins with the player assuming the role as President of the United States (and is even addressed as the same throughout the game). In the beginning, players will be able to make choices in different scenarios, with various “what if?” situations prompting a “yes or no” answer.
The majority of the game appears to take place in the simulation of Steelport. The major change with Saints Row IV is the addition of super powers. The protagonist will be able to use telekinesis to hurl objects and enemies, super strength, jump great heights, freeze and shatter enemies/people, run up to 90 miles per hour and even fly.
The developer indicated that Radical Entertainment’s open world superhero game Prototype was an influence on the superpowers of Saints Row IV. Enemies are of different types with the low-level Zin grunt representing the basic foot soldier for players to beat up by the dozens. The supreme warlord and leader of the alien invasion Zinyak was revealed to have a British accent and speak in somewhat Shakespearean tones, revealing a more intelligent and refined personality.
Other new additions include new weapons, vehicles and items. One such addition is the ability to customize weapons with skins – for example, using a guitar case skin to disguise a rocket launcher, which is a nod to Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado which featured the same weapon. You can also make the rocket launcher look like a Super Scope, a light gun released by Nintendo for the Super NES in the late 90’s.
New weapons include the Inflate Gun where you can inflate people until their heads pop; the Dub Step Gun which causes people to stop what they are doing and start dancing, and much more. Other weapons include the standard laser guns and the like.
The game also features Mech Suits, which form the basis for a new kind of Mayhem mission called “Mech Suit Mayhem” where the player must navigate around in the mech and cause as much damage as possible. It has been confirmed that the Dub Step Gun can be used against Mech Suits to make them dance and vehicles to bounce up and down on hydraulics.
There will also be new vehicles and environments to explore. One of the new vehicles is a monster truck which the protagonist can drive. It has been revealed that enemy police offer will be driving souped up police cruisers (in a nod to Need for Speed) in order to keep pace with the protagonist’s super speed. Some of the environments include Zinyak’s stronghold, floating above the simulation of Steelport, and numerous miniature floating sky cities.
It has also been revealed that the player will fight against a giant monster that resembles a mascot from earlier Saints Row game. At one point, Saints Row 4 was to feature dragons, monkey summons and even talk show host Stephen Colbert but this was later cut.
To help keep the gameplay varied and interesting over a longer period of time there has been multiple pieces of game changing DLC, from simple costumes to brand new (and often explosive) super powers.
The recently announced Commander in Chief Edition is also available as a free upgrade for those who pre-order Saints Row 4 at select retailers. It will include the ‘Merica, a weapon that combines rocket launchers, Dub Step Guns and flamethrowers; the Uncle Sam suit; and the Screaming Eagle jet, which fires rockets from its talons and can use a sonic scream for stunning enemies. [reference]