Saints Row Reboot Announced for February 2022; More Grounded and Packed with Lots of Customization
Roughly two years after announcing the development of a new Saints Row game, Volition finally unveiled it in the gamescom 2021 Opening Night Live event. Check out the trailer below; the game is coming out on February 25th, 2022 for PC (via the Epic Games Store) and consoles.
During a recent press event, the developers shared plenty of details on the game's features and content. This will be a reboot and a very ambitious one, according to Chief Creative Officer Jim Boone:
This is the biggest, richest and most ambitious Saints Row game we’ve ever created here at Volition. As a full reboot it’s a return to our series strengths and criminal roots. For the first time in the Saints Row series, players will build their game from scratch and get to witness the birth of the Saints. This is only the start of the journey we’re taking players on and we can’t wait to show you all the toys we’ve created in Saints Row. You can of course expect our ‘only in Saints Row’ type of moments, in an original story that charts the Saints’ remarkable rise to power.
As you can already see from the footage, the new installment isn't quite as crazy as Saints Row IV, where the player character had superpowers and dealt with an alien invasion. This will be more grounded by comparison while retaining the trademark Saints Row fun.
This reboot will take place in Santo Ileso, a fictional city set in the American Southwest, which the developers described as one of the most iconic and colorful regions in the entire United States. Santo Ileso is divided into nine unique districts, each featuring its own inhabitants, themes, and lifestyles. Art Director Frank Marquart said:
This is the most variety that we’ve ever packed into a Saints Row game. Rancho Providencia has a grittier, weathered identity to it that reflect the Panteros home turf. The El Dorado district is grime mixed with glitz, with colorful and illuminated nighttime displays competing for attention. And in contrast Monte Vista offers pools and parties. Home to gated communities of the rich and powerful.
Creative Director Brian Traficante added:
Our districts are built with traversal variety too. Our financial district, for example, has tons of verticality, which you’ll appreciate when jumping and wingsuiting off tall skyscrapers. In contrast, the Rodeo District’s picturesque city planning house exclusive restaurants, bars and retreats for the rich and famous. Inspired by the weird, wild American Southwest, which is a fusion of the exaggerated and the eccentric creations of the people that inhabit this world. The history of this region has permeated into so much of our world and created something that you’ll never have seen before. We’re taking you to an area rich and unique in games. And so all this is surrounded by the beautiful Southwest playground full of mystery and wonderful Saints Row things for you to find. With landmarks to gaze at, dirt tracks and ridges to jump off, and tons of opportunities for sandbox fun. Our world is built for players. It’s a core principle of ours that everything should deliver gratifying fun.
The story sees four characters banding together to create their own criminal empire, as explained by Lead Mission Narrative and Principal Writer Jeremy Bernstein.
The first of these friends is Eli. Eli is the planner. Eli is an MBA who came to Santo Ileso in order to make his fortune as an entrepreneur, to build a business for himself. He just didn’t quite realize that the business he was going to build was a criminal empire.
The next of the friends is Neenah and Neenah’s the driver who grew up in her parent’s garage, she’s a mechanic, she’s had a deep seated love of cars all her life, but she also has a deep seated love of art. She went to school for art history and anthropology and came to Santo Ileso to get a job at a museum and wasn’t able to. So she found herself working as a mechanic for Los Panteros, one of the factions in Santo Ileso. As she comes into the group, her journey of wanting to work for herself, instead of working for someone else is what brings her into this core of the Saints.
Kevin is the next of our major characters. Kevin is a DJ. He is a people pleaser. He loves people, he loves his friends, he’d do anything for them. He’s also a bit of a thrill seeker and he grew up in foster care. He’s always looking for somewhere that he can belong. At the start of the game, he thinks he’s found it with the Idols, one of the criminal factions in town. But over the course of the game he comes to realize pretty quickly that the real place that he belongs is with his friends as they found the Saints together.
And then of course the last of our characters is The Boss, our charismatic murder machine as we like to refer to them. The Boss is you, you get to decide who you want to be and how you want to be, with customization options, player voice options. You literally get to be Self Made as you make your own Boss, who is really the impetus. Who says “hey, why are we working for other people, why are we busting ourselves trying to get through the daily grind when we could be working for ourselves. Let’s come together, let’s take all of our skills together and let’s do something that’s us. Let’s create our own thing – the Saints.”
The key element to the game will be building new criminal ventures and Volition is providing the utmost freedom in this regard; for example, you could build a toxic waste dump in the financial district if you wanted, though that probably wouldn't go over well with the inhabitants. Each criminal venture opens up its own related gameplay activities, letting players choose what they're going to be doing.
Volition also stressed that customization is still a core feature of Saints Row. In fact, this new game features the most extensive and powerful toolset to date.
Following the presentation, the developers kindly answered several questions in a group interview. We've listed the most interesting facts below.
- The game is running on a new engine.
- The Saints Row reboot will be available on next-generation consoles, too, but specific details haven't been shared yet.
- Santo Ileso is the biggest open world ever made by Volition.
- Co-op is two-person, untethered, and it works with every mission. Volition also teased something special that couldn't be shared as of yet.
- The core gameplay is still driving and shooting, but it's much deeper than in previous entries. This game will feature the best driving in a Saints Row title yet, and players can outfit any vehicle for desert off-road exploration if they want to.
- The combat will also feel a lot more precise and responsive than it ever did. It will still be easy to pick up, but players who want to dig a bit more into it will get the chance to do so.
- There are a few wacky activities from previous titles that are being brought back, not just because of nostalgia but just because they fit really well according to the developers.
- Since this is a Saints Row reboot, it should be considered a whole new world. There are a couple of easter eggs here and there dedicated to long-time fans, but there won't be any clear-cut references to existing franchise characters.
- Inspirations include movies like John Wick or Hobbes and Shaw.
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