Canonical: Saints Row 3 Officially Official

By John Walker on March 3rd, 2011 at 11:50 am.

There's not enough wing walking in games.

Thank goodness for that. Saints Row 3 is officially official. We’ve known it’s happening for a while, and a recent leak of images made it even more undeniable, but nothing’s real until the publisher says so. THQ said so. And this is good news, because I want it. And what I want counts.

My love for Saints Row 2 slightly confuses me. Having always struggled with the excellent GTA games pre-IV, wondering why I’m playing as the guy I really ought to be shooting or arresting, the sheer wanton wrongness of SR2 really ought to trigger the same issue. But it turns out what I really want is to drive a sewage truck around, spraying shit on all the buildings. Who knew?

I went to see the original Saints Row be announced in the States. It was a very strange event, set in some seedy club, with the rather intense awkwardness of everyone realising they were playing the most overt GTA mimic ever seen. It was uncanny, watching the animations of throwing someone out of their car seeming frame for frame the same as their “inspiration”. Interviewing the developers afterward was a truly awkward experience. “So, er, you seem to be making GTA.” Their response was as hilarious as it was ballsy: “GTA is a genre”. They were making a game in the Grand Theft Automobile genre, and thus its seemingly identical look and feel was perfectly normal. Got that?

But the sequel came into its own, understanding what it did differently – gleefully puerile mucking around. And that’s what I’m really hoping for for a third game. And according to Eurogamer, THQ game boss man Danny Bilson notes that it’s going to be original.

“There’s no delivering pizza, no shuttling family members about in a long series of taxi missions. Instead, you take all the power of the Third Street Saints and you take the world by storm.”

Good times.

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71 Comments »

  1. Bilbo says:

    Yup, ‘ll be lookin’ forward to this one, by gum

  2. Moni says:

    The important question is: Does it use the brilliant Geo-Mod technology?

    • Delusibeta says:

      Probably not. I recall an interview of one of the Volition guys, and he said that a GeoMod building requires about four times the amount of memory that a non-GeoMod building requires, even ignoring the result of one building collapsing into another. Hence why the buildings in Red Faction: Guerrilla was considerably more spaced out than in Saints Row 2. Apparently, Red Faction: Armageddon is going to have a more dense area (in terms of buildings), so I wouldn’t rule out GeoMod use for Saints Row 4.

  3. Legionary says:

    Good old Saints Row — a game series that hasn’t forgotten gaming should be about fun.

    • Xocrates says:

      I was under the impression that a major issue with current game development is that most people haven’t realized games could be serious, and therefore games as a whole were still too focused in being fun (regardless of success in that particular point) do the detriment of meaning.

      Unless by “fun” you mean intentionally silly.

    • Legionary says:

      Currently there aren’t enough “serious” games? Goodness, so many of them are that! Take a look at the thousand and one po-faced shoot-arab-in-face-with-gun displays of pompous frippery and tell me that developers remember fun.

      Incidentally, you can look at Saints Row’s obvious direct inspiration. In Vice City I was drugging people from an ice-cream van. By GTA IV, I was cleaning bird shit off my car.

    • Xocrates says:

      You think those games sell millions for their story?

      Those things are the gaming equivalent of a Michael Bay movie and you know it.

    • JackShandy says:

      For “Fun”, read “Silly Fun” – as apposed to “Dramatic Fun”, which does exist.

    • anonymousity says:

      When I recommend saints row 2 to people I say it’s like gta iv but fun.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Olero says:

    Is that drawing a “find the 10 errors” or is it really meant as a good impression of the game? The longer I look at it, the freakier it gets. Wheelhigh cars, kneehigh cars, giant woman, freak lighting…

    But as long as the game has proper shooting and driving, without the pizza’s, taxis and soap episodes, I’m (mildly) interested.

    • CMaster says:

      Giant levitating woman.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That’s probably because it’s not meant to be accurate, just to set the tone. It’s more about the colours, characters, vehicles and atmosphere than any kind of accuracy.

      /being boring

  5. vash47 says:

    Not really interested in this. Saints Rows 2 was one of the worst games I’ve ever played in my life.

    • JackShandy says:

      This post is categorically a crime against everything the free nations of the world believe in and I do not believe it is an exaggeration to label it a terrorist act. Today has been a sad, soul-shattering day for all of us – as RPS readers and as human beings. I can only hope that the afterlife will grant vash47 the forgiveness that I cannot bring myself to give them.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I completely agree. It was completely devoid of any humour or fun. I really don’t understand where any of the love for it comes from. Buggy as hell, to the point of being unplayable. Performance was terrible in the PC version and the 360 version. Driving was pretty much impossible and once again atrocious.

      Seriously, I don’t understand why people found it enjoyable or funny. Oh now I’m spraying faeces over a building, HA! HOW HILARIOUS.

    • Jesse L says:

      You missed it. It’s one of the great games in my opinion, right up there with Morrowind.

      I spent a lot of time shopping for clothes in SR 2. Getting just the right outfit put together. You have no idea how excited I was when I found the underground mall. I also collected airplanes and put some time into building skill in landing on beaches and on top of buildings. I spent several hours exploring hidden islands. Having running street battles with gangs for fun.

      Did you know that if you knock over a parking meter quarters will fall out? It’s a slow way to earn that next pair of custom hot pink sneakers, and there’s no reason for it to be in the game. But it is.

      Did you know there’s a string of secret missions you can activate if you go to the old Saints headquarters, look around, and pay attention?

      Very funny game, too. Great cut scenes. Just Google “Johnny Gat graveyard” and you’ll probably find one of the best. I’ve rarely seen or read anything that badass before. “Get up.” That’s not a funny scene, or a puerile one, or a buggy one. They got what they wanted: awesomeness.

      Great voice acting, too. I’ve made several characters and my favorite voice is the Hispanic female voice (Rebecca Sanabria). Female Shepard move over. I mean it. Boot up your copy and try it if you haven’t. Especially amazing if you consider all the dialogue was written for a nameless main character who could look like anything you can imagine.

      Also: full co-op. Every activity, every mission. There’s a lot of love in this game.

    • Urthman says:

      GTA: San Andreas gave you cash from parking meters about 3 or 4 years before SR2.

    • kikito says:

      @JackShandy: No, the PC “port” of that game was the real terrorist act.

  6. Tokamak says:

    Really interested in this. Saints Row 2 was one of the best games I’ve ever played in my life.

  7. Fwiffo says:

    I really wanted to enjoy SR2, but it’s never ran right, veering wildly between stuttering pauses and Benny Hill-esque sped up antics. Apparently it was a really sloppy port to PC which is a shame, because the bit that I did manage to play seemed like a riot compared to the slow and dowdy GTA IV. Let’s hope SR3 has a decent PC version!

    • Meneth says:

      “SR3 ran fine on my old PC”
      Timetravel?

    • Fwiffo says:

      Oh no, the *framerate* is fine on my Q9550 and GTS 250, it’s the actual speed of the game that’s wonky. Super speedy gameplay punctuated by pauses as the game catches up loading presumably.

    • DrGonzo says:

      It ran absolutely terrible on my PC, which slightly out specs yours. So I went and bought two copies to play the 360 version coop.

      Believe it or not the 360 version was worse than the pc version. At least it was possible to play the PC version, albeit badly. The 360 version crashed in coop roughly every 20 minutes. If the game wasn’t installed to the hard drive it wouldn’t even play, it would immediately crash as soon as you did anything, for example get in a car.

    • Jesse L says:

      Not for me, DrGonzo. Sounds like you had a bad copy. I can’t remember getting a single bug with this game. The transparent textures don’t look quite right in HD, it’s true. Probably that will be fixed in SR 3.

    • kikito says:

      I tried the steam version on two different computers and it run equally crappy on both. And they were 4 years between them. Definitively a shitty PC conversion.

  8. taldira says:

    Second game was such an over-the-top and wacky fun that I’m really looking forward to this.

  9. Shatners Bassoon says:

    Obligatory post of, I got the second sitting in my Steam library filed under “Find time to play”. So many games, so little time.

  10. well says:

    I finally got around to playing the PC version of the second recently and surprisingly it worked fairly well. I really hope they can find a way to use some of the Geo-Mod stuff from Red Faction: Guerrilla in the third. Perhaps they could just ask everyone really nicely not to fly a plane into a building and then upload the clip to youtube?

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    Thank goodness! I had almost resorted to trying GTA4 while waiting for them to finish this! What a relief!

    Shatner’s Bassoon, SR2 is one of the few games that Yahtzee Croshaw has given a “good” review to. In other words, if you have any free time, you might want to bump it to the top of the list of things to try.

    As for me, let me just point out that I found it hilarious from start to finish. Your main character’s hilariously megalomaniacal attitude and horrible taste in headquarter decorations, all of the side-missions, the game’s whole attitude towards mayhem: It’s like Grand Theft Auto… but fun!

    Remember the first GTA games and how they had a completely different tone to the later 3D ones, especially as of GTA4? SR2 is like that.

    • Shatners Bassoon says:

      Then it shall be bumped to the top, I’m sure I can find an hour a week for a lot of fun. It seems like one of those games where just hop into for a “few minutes” and log out a few days later.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I have agreement and disagreement with your post.

      Agree: Saints Row 2 was great fun (especially in co-op!)

      Disagree: Zero Punctuation episodes are reviews

    • DrGonzo says:

      Zero Punctuation shouldn’t be taken seriously on its reviews. He also said Painkiller, another abysmal game, was actually good, because it has a gun that fires lightning and shurikens. Yes, indeed.

    • malkav11 says:

      While in general I don’t recommend taking Zero Punctuation videos seriously – they’re meant to be funny, and Yahtzee seems to dislike almost every game ever made which makes me wonder why he interacts with them to begin with – this clearly indicates that Dr. Gonzo shouldn’t ever be taken seriously on the subject of games either.

    • Xocrates says:

      Oh, Yathzee likes plenty of games, but even aside of him bashing even the ones he likes for the sake of comedy, the problem lies that his expressed opinion is all about personal taste and little to do with the actual quality of the game, meaning he is very obviously biased to the point of often coming across as hypocritical.

      This means it’s not unusual for him to recommend even mediocre games while not giving perfectly good ones a decent chance (heck, he considered Bioshock 2 one of the worst games of the year just out of principle).

      If you watch his videos for comedy, then it’s usually fine, the problem is the absurd amount of people who take him seriously.

    • Oak says:

      Why would you not try GTA4?

  12. MajorManiac says:

    I loved the crazyness of the 2nd game, and how you could own a gang of ninja’s. I wish they’d take the edge off the violence a little by making the main protagonist more like the villians in the 70s Batman show.

    How I long to be a Riddler-like character with a gang of outlandish goons. That or give the option to be a bad-ass cop like Dirty Harry.

  13. Caribou says:

    pffft, the muck-spraying garbage truck was nothing compared to driving a quadbike that explodes everyything it touches, WHILST ON FIRE. Seriously that minigame had me giggling with pure giddy joy.

    • MajorManiac says:

      Minigames like that are even funnier when played Co-op. :)

    • well says:

      I loved that in the Fuzz one you had to stop people from the other minigames. And break up domestic disputes using a flamethower.

    • bowl of snakes says:

      the minigame where you dive in front of traffic was my favorite

    • Commisar says:

      hell yes, also, Fuzz was awesome. You got to break up a Pirates vs Ninjas fight with a Rocket Launcher

  14. Cooper says:

    SR2 apparently was a clunky mess on PC. I was lucky enough to have zero techincal problems with it.

    I adored it. Totally. If you are going to have urban based hyper violence. You might as well make it funny.

    If GTA is aiming at Tarantino violence, SR is aiming at Joe Dante, who brought us Piranha and the original Grand Theft Auto movie…

    • DrGonzo says:

      But GTA 4 was funny. SR2 wasn’t funny at all. Well I suppose maybe it is if you find swearing and comedy english accents and crashing to desktop amusing.

      I really did think GTA4 was one of the funniest in the series, but I also hated San Andreas which seems to be most peoples favourite. I much prefer a decent set of characters, story and gameplay mechanics to just a big list of features.

    • Jesse L says:

      No, it’s actually really funny.

      It is much, much funnier than GTA IV. Also (strangely) much less nasty, ugly, and cynical.

  15. Kollega says:

    Now this is good news – but only if the game retains and multiplies all the wackiness of the second part. Another GTA IV is the last thing we need. And the second-to-last thing we need is another sloppy PC port (although it seemed to work somewhat okay for me, sans the dynamic lighting slowing it down to a crawl), so here’s hoping they hand the job of porting it to some other studio like they did with RFG.

    Also, is it just me or is that art hinting at the possibility of the game being set in some other city and not Stilwater?

  16. John P says:

    Saint’s Row 2 is the best GTA game since GTA3. Rockstar could learn a lot from their imitators.

  17. Spooty says:

    I bought SR2 in the Steam sale as I’d always wanted to give it a try, however I just cannot grasp the controls, with a gamepad or mouse/keyboard. It was simply too clunky to play, especially coming fresh out of completeing GTA IV + exp’s.

    Hopefully the PC problems will be ammended for SR3 as SR2 is very highly critically acclaimed.

  18. Dworgi says:

    There is far too little wing walking in games, I agree.

  19. nuh uh no way says:

    It’s a shame (for me) that so many people here disliked GTA IV, as it was my favorite of all these types of games. Enjoyed it immensely. If so many out there didn’t like the tone it struck, despite it being a huge success, it’s possible I won’t get to play another like it. :(

    • DrGonzo says:

      I wouldn’t worry. I don’t think a huge amount of people preferred SR2 over GTA4. And Rockstar’s games just look to be getting more serious in tone. I’ve always thought the love for SR2 was a bit of a contrarian thing, I can’t believe any one genuinely enjoyed it. I know it may appear I have been trolling this thread somewhat. But SR2 truly is up there as one of the worst games I’ve played in my life, not quite as bad as 50 Cents game, but that was at least funny and felt like it was self aware.

      It probably doesn’t help that I bought the game 3 times only to not be able to play it through properly. That’s something I would like to know. How did anyone play this through? I’ve already said the problems I had with it, the performance of the PC version was really bad, and the 360 version was completely unplayable, at least in Co-op, but then who in their right mind would want to play this through single player?

    • lonesock says:

      I played SR2 completely through on my PC, and I have never played a GTA game. So I’m not saying either is better than the other. SR2 was a bastard to get running. You basically had to hack the game using Cheat Engine to get it to run. The steam forums always come in handy for looking up game bug fixes. Once I got it running, though, I was addicted.

      I think the shit-spewing missions are just an example to demonstrate that SR2 is one of the most over-the-top games there is. I remember doing a mission to dress as a police officer and beat up some hippies. I loaded up a cop car, and to my surprise, the cops started hanging out the window and doing drive-by’s on the targets, cheering as we jumped a ramp into a crowd. As another example, I found out late in the game that I could pull my sword out while I was riding a motorcycle. The next 3 hours had me dressed as a ninja, bifurcating people at 120 miles per hour, and looking damn good doing it.

      Maybe you had to put some work into SR2 to get any fun out of it, which is a terrible thing to say about a game. But more than any other game, SR2 had me jumping off the game every 20 minutes to tell all my friends about what I just did.

    • Jakkar says:

      You are a terribly grumpy man, Gonzo. SR2 has an irreverent, childish and satisfying brand of humour, extremely similar to Rockstars old flavour from GTA1-3. I can’t say I found a damn thing funny in GTAIV – on the contrary, it was so cynically depressive I couldn’t bring myself to finish the last few missions of endless sadistic murder. It was like a Coen brothers marathon for which I actually had to work to get to the end.

      GTAIV is a masochistic experience. SR2 is a breath of fresh air, cathartic, hyperactive, colourful entertainment in comparison. I wonder what causes this gulf of opinion – the threads of taste here are distinctly split.

  20. airtekh says:

    I’m currently playing Saint’s Row 2 and while I haven’t seen enough of it yet to pass judgement, I’m having some fun with it at least.

    However, I will say that I had to use a third-party program in order to get the game into a playable state; which speaks volumes about the quality of the port.

    Let’s hope the third game’s PC version is shown a bit more love.

    • savagerose says:

      Yeah, having to use Cheat Engine or the like to get the game to play at normal speed is ridiculous. And I had to switch back to “fast-speed” before cut scenes or else the audio and video desync. And what’s *REALLY* ridiculous is that if you post on the official forums about this fix, they’ll delete your post, because you’re promoting the use of third party software or something.

      I just noticed though that someone’s made Saints Row PowerTools which apparently makes this process easier and fixes cut scenes; I’ll have to try it out when I get home.

      Because despite all of that crap, and despite the cars being undrivable with a gamepad as far as I can tell, SR2 is tons of fun. Collecting police helicopters, customizing your cars, collecting boats and jetskis, participating in truck-combat in the coliseum, even just the sheer joy of speeding around the freeway on a motorcycle with a katana on your back; SR2 has fun down.

  21. darjeeling says:

    Obligatory link to the Gentlemen of the Row mod for Saint’s Row 2:

    Idolninja’s Saint’s Row 2 Modding and Game Development

    Active community, fixes the bugs, and adds tons of user content. I never played vanilla SR2, but I thoroughly enjoy this.

    • mwoody says:

      Thank you, saved me having to do so. Let me put this bit in bold:

      This is a mod designed to be installed before you ever start the game, even for the first time. It categorically improves everything in every way, and does it in a way that doesn’t subtract from the challenge. It’s absolutely excellent.

      Though I do hope he deletes that change that makes it so you can’t ever wipe out all the gangs; that seemed to defeat the point to me.

  22. Huw_Dawson says:

    SR2 for what I played of it was very, very fun. For example – turn on the radio when driving around and listen to the adverts. There’s a game that keeps being advertised about a monkey. There’s also a talk show which I believe has the topic of whether this game about a monkey is causing violence in children.
    Does that sound funny?
    You’re in a car, with that on the radio, whilst running from the fuzz and over civilians. SR2 is definitely in the same band of awesome as Just Cause 2, both of which are spins on the core GTA gameplay, although of course JC2 is a bit further afield and parachute-out-of-thin-air-walking-on-airiplanes bizzare.
    It also has a fantastic character creation tool. This helps.
    PLEASE don’t make this into Grand Theft Dullto!

  23. Sourav Chakraborty says:

    I only hope it will actually RUN on a moderate PC. And by moderate, I mean a PC that can handle other recent games at medium settings.

  24. brulleks says:

    I loved SR2 on PC, despite performance issues and poor driving model. What I loved most about it was being able to grab people by the neck and cart them around, get their friends to shoot them (particularly if they were police) or chuck them off a high building or into oncoming traffic or blow their brains out with a shotgun, toss the ragged corpse away and immediately grab another one. GTA4 was never the same after experiencing that.

    Also, for all the people attacking or defending it for the over-the-top humour, I have to point out that there were also a few moments of true gravitas in the story that far outweighed any of the pathos achieved by GTA4.

  25. Sadraukar says:

    Apparently the enemy in this game is a global criminal organization known as “The Syndicate.”

    Talk about original.

  26. gou says:

    SR2 was all about the coop, it’s silliness raises a smile in single player but with a friend there to see it too, that smile becomes uncontrollable laughter. My personal favourite thing was: remove character’s clothes, start insurance fraud minigame, rub naked ragdoll all over public transportation while occupants brazenly ignore you.

  27. Pointless Puppies says:

    Make a non-shit PC version and I might get interested.

    • Ateius says:

      +1 to this. I bought SR2 in a Steam sale and was most disappointed that I could not get it to run at anything approaching a playable level even with the visuals cranked all the way down.

      This using the same computer that ran GTA IV with medium-high settings and no problems.

      Proper PC coding this time, please.

  28. DigitalSignalX says:

    I’m looking forward to this one too. Any similarities to GTA end once the missions start. I also hope it retains the degree of customization (which GTA never had without mods).

  29. Om says:

    Word on its arrival on the personal computer?

    • kikito says:

      Note to Canonical: He inquired about an *arrival*. Not an emergency landing.

  30. TariqOne says:

    Saints Row 2 + coop + girlfriend + dressing up like Bjorn Borg + girlfriend exploding you as Bjorn Borg in a duel with an expertly tossed detpack to the groin = Best. Game. Ever.

    BEST GAME EVER!

  31. alt24 says:

    What this series desperately needs is a new engine.

  32. Noumenon says:

    No one is mentioning the minigame where you’re supposed to leap in front of cars for the insurance money and the ragdoll physics is turned up so high you can probably bounce for a mile if you do it right. I always started that mission by leaping out of my helicopter at 10,000 feet.

    Also no one is mentioning that you could make your avatar one of the sexiest main characters I’ve ever played.

    Also no one is mentioning that you could install Ben Hur’s chariot-wheel-busting razors on your hubcaps and go around slashing pedestrians.

    The game design is really good too, like how gaining control of neighborhoods really helps you win missions in that neighborhood, you have allies everywhere. I liked how you could approach the pimping mission by dropping in and picking up the hoes with your helicopter.

  33. nmute says:

    also that SR2 offers gender-neutral content and story, itself a concept that R* seems to have totally ignored. though, i did like GTA4 also. they’re complimentary opposites.

    SR2 ran fine for me in co-op. a bit of stuttering in cars but you got used to it and, after getting the old rig upgraded, it was totally smooth.