Saints Row 3′s Expansion Is Evolving Into Saints Row 4

By John Walker on June 20th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

INTERNET RAGE!

Times are hard at THQ, despite their releasing a ton of good games of late. The publisher is strapped for cash, and it just keeps getting worse, most recently its shareholders launching a class action suit over the disaster of their U-Draw flop. Whether that’s a factor in today’s announcement, that Saints Row: The Third stand alone expansion ‘Enter The Dominatrix’ is now to be integrated into the fourth game, we’ve no idea. But that’s what’s happening, according to THQ boss, Jason Rubin.

What was originally intended to be a significant expansion pack for last year’s absolutely fantastic Saints Row: The Third, is now to be a significant proportion of the game’s fourth edition. This came about, Eurogamer reports, after Rubin noticed quite how good the ideas in Enter The Dominatrix were.

“When I looked at the Enter The Dominatrix expansion in production at Volition, I was blown away by the ideas and desire to expand the fiction of the franchise. I asked the team what it could achieve given more time, more resources, and a broader scope for the project. We all agreed we wanted to play that game.”

It’s interesting, as you can bet your bum Volition would have already had plans in mind for SR4 – it’s a series they’re fascinated with seeing how far they can take, what extremes are possible while still maintaining something that works as a narrative game. SR3′s Dominatrix was surely something completely separate, but now is to be the core of the fourth title, apparently due to be released some time next year.

Speculating, you can see how using something that’s already significantly in development will speed up the appearance of a much-needed sequel for THQ’s out-turned pockets. But of course it also means the loss in revenue that would have come from both being bought. So I dunno. Maybe it is just as they say it is: they liked their expansion so much they figured it should be reworked into a game of its own?

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58 Comments »

  1. caddyB says:

    I fucking love Volition because of Summoner and obviously, Freespace. I figure they wanted to release the 4th earlier or they thought the new expansion was adding so much to 3rd that they would have to come up with a lot more new stuff to make the sequel different enough.

    • Cambridge says:

      I think this is a good thing. Waiting to make Saints Row 4 on the next-gen consoles would take much longer and alienate anyone who won’t be upgraded in time. Getting it on current systems as part of the last series of games before the new consoles means they’ll still have a big customer base. If it’s a success, we can expect SR5 on the PS4 and Xbox 720.

  2. Aerothorn says:

    This is unfortunate insofar as it’s basically announcing the fourth game will be conservative. This was an expansion; if it really forms the core of the fourth, that means it will have roughly the same mechanics, structure, graphics engine, etc. Doesn’t meant it will be bad, of course.

    • Kollega says:

      Yeah, pretty much this. I’m a little worried for the quality of the game, since THQ are obviously strapped for cash and will need some quick money, thus not putting enough into the development of the game.

      But it really isn’t a crime that expansion is now a sequel, since it was supposed to be a standalone expansion anyway.

    • noodlecake says:

      Saints Row 3 felt the same as 2 except with a bizarre difficulty curve, some badly tacked on mini games, and nothing to unlock. I hated it, probably even more than 1 and 2. I can’t see Saints Row 4 being able to be any worse.

      • jezcentral says:

        @noodlecake
        You hated it, probably even more than 1 and 2? So you bought the first one, hated it, then the second one, hated it, and then the third one, and hated it.

        You may want to take a hint.

        Unless you bought them in a Steam sale, of course. We’ve all been there.

        • Shandrakor says:

          CURSE VALVE FOR ACTIVATING THE MONEY-VACCUM THAT IS THE STEAM SALE!

      • JackShandy says:

        And yet you bought and played every game in the series?

        • Phantoon says:

          Maybe he got them in a bundle? I got the Painkiller pack and hated it. Maybe the two I didn’t try were good, but I tried the first one then one of the ones with a suffix. May have been Resurrection.

      • Henke says:

        What do you mean nothing to unlock? Pretty much every single mission unlocked a new weapon, or cool vehicles like the VTOL and the Hoverbike.

        SR3 was the best game in the series as far as I’m concerned.

        • Riaktion says:

          same here, but mainly because it actually worked on PC

        • Jay says:

          I loved the unlock system in SR3. If you saw some cool new toy in a cutscene, you were all but guaranteed to be getting your hands on it in the immediate future. That’s perfect design, as far as I’m concerned.

  3. Discopanda says:

    Rather disappointing. I think Saints Row 2 was a fantastic game. The story and characters were pretty well in sync with the often insane setting, and the humor was occasionally really great. By turing the silliness up to 11 on Saints Row 3, I think they lost a bit of what made Saints Row 2 such a well-balanced game. Now they`re turning it up to… 12? Where can the series go from there except down?

    • lordcooper says:

      Volition know many more number than you give them credit for.

  4. Keymonk says:

    A bit disappointing. I was hoping that I’d be able to carry my SR3 stuff into the expansion. :/ Hopefully they’ll let you carry some of your bits into 4.

    • Thermal Ions says:

      With the core being called “Enter The Dominatrix” I suspect you’ll still have plenty of “bits” in the game even if you can’t import them from SR3.

      • Keymonk says:

        Oh, sure. But they said a while ago they had a clear vision for how SR4 would be, back when SR3 was just released IIRC. Which, well, I imagine to mean they already were working on it. SR3′s selection of clothes and weapons was, to be frank, a bit underwhelming, so I was hoping an expansion would be a good excuse for adding more of both, and allow me to keep all the old stuff (which would be a grand total of two games’ worth in one game – would be neat, yes?) :)

  5. Mr. Mister says:

    Isn’t this something good? More games and less DLCs.

    • Discopanda says:

      But now they’re planning to charge full-price for a pumped-up DLC!

    • Stromko says:

      They can also repackage base-game content and DLC content from SR3 into new DLC for SR4. Worked for The Sims series.

    • f1x says:

      Not really, following internet logics, if you get DLC you must ask for expansions/new games and if you get new games/expansion then you must ask for DLC

      so…
      OMGZ VOLITION/THQ WHY NOT JUST GIVE US OVERPRICED DLC I BEG YOU

      On a serious note, I think its good news, it might mean that SR4 wont be a revolution, but at the moment I feel the concepts from SR3 but more polished, expanded and improved, are very good for a sequel, so its fine

  6. Jesus H. Christ says:

    Yeah, Rubin hates Saints Row cuz it’s embarassing. Look for the next one to be exactly like Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim.

    • Henke says:

      The guy wants it to have the same scope and production values as RDR and Skyrim. I don’t think something that has “Enter The Dominatrix” in the title will ever have the same _tone_ as those games, if that’s what you’re concerned about.

    • Kleppy says:

      Oh man, more games like Red Dead Redemeption and Skyrim. Truly, a horrible prospect. More dick jokes and huge dildos required!

  7. Cooper says:

    Expansion packs are a staple of gaming; even if they are now called “DLC”.

    Thing is, with DLC we have seen expansion backs diminish in scope. Expansion packs used to be -expansive- but DLC rarely is. I was kinda looking forward to what looked like the first properly large-sized expansion pack for some time. Shame.

  8. DickSocrates says:

    Shareholders seem to be the stupidest, most entitled people on earth. I heard a radio discussion with some idiot sobbing about all her life savings being gone because of the shares she bought in some company (or bank) that went bust. Guess what, if you don’t earn it directly yourself you can’t complain when the speculating you decided to indulge in doesn’t go your way. Gambling, which is essentially what owning shares is, is your own risk. You can’t put money on horses and then sue when your horse doesn’t win.

    “I wanted money for nothing and then it didn’t work out now I’m upset about it.”

    • marcusfell says:

      I hope thats not the actual quote, or my respect for humanity just took 9461 damage.

  9. Vexing Vision says:

    Also, Rubin explained that what he saw about “Enter the Dominatrix” deserves to be in Saints Row 4, as that will be seen by more people due to having “a broader appeal”.

    And a single tear of disappointed sadness rolled down my face.

    • caddyB says:

      He’s trying to save a sinking ship, remember?

      • Phantoon says:

        EA is doing the same thing with the sinking ship saving and all, but they’re not admitting that absolutely anything is wrong.

        THQ is probably the only giant publicly owned publisher I DON’T want to see die. And not because EA will buy up all their IP, but that too.

        • caddyB says:

          I don’t agree with the ” we have to appeal to absolutely everyone on the planet if we want our games to sell well ” line of thought either, but I don’t want to see THQ die.

    • RobF says:

      I think he means “we can sell more of Saints Row 4 than we can of Saints Row 3 and a bit” doesn’t he? His comments about respecting that people want bigger, louder, faster more OTT stuff seems to imply that anyway.

  10. Legion23 says:

    Hm, strange, I would have assumed releasing it as an expansion would have meant: Faster release and faster cash…. Well do me a favor and get rid of the stupid region lock in SR4. I would have loved to buy Saints Row 3 but then I would have only gotten a censored game which can only connect to people playing the same censored version in coop. Real deal breaker.

  11. SkittleDiddler says:

    As sadistic as this sounds, I won’t shed a tear when THQ finally go bankrupt. They’ve turned their most popular IPs into nothing but glorified DLC marketplaces, they bum-rushed Homefront’s dev team and used them as sacrificial lambs after the backlash against the game, and the last good thing they put out was Metro 2033.

    Saint’s Row The Third is a bloated overwrought mess, even more so with every dinky little DLC pack they charge their customers for. It really gets my goat when people continue to buy this crap.

    • Phantoon says:

      I liked Dawn of War…

      Then again, I thought Soulstorm was “okay”.

  12. bhlaab says:

    So will the DLC season pass I bought give me $9 off saints row 4 then

    • Museli says:

      Enter The Dominatrix was going to be a standalone pack – it was never intended to be part of the content you get from the season pass.

  13. Lordcrazy says:

    Sad to see THQ starting to tank, hopefully Saints Row 4 will save them, that or Company of Heroes 2. To be quite honest they seem to be one of the few large conglomerates to give liberties to their devs and not milking the hell out of games (See Activision and Call of Duty). Even with disasters like Red Faction Armageddon (Shiver), though I did like Homefront multiplayer quite a bit, was a welcome change from Battlefield and Call of Duty, the singleplayer was wayyyy too short though. Anyways, compared to the huge conglomerates like Activision-Blizzard, EA, and Ubisoft; they seem to be willing to stay away from the DLC rip off model. All in all, it would be very disappointing to see a rather good publisher to die away.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I think you’re confusing THQ with some other, more worthy, game publisher. A few points:

      * Homefront’s devs were creatively shackled by THQ while making that game, and they were quickly let go even after Homefront proved itself to be a money maker for the company. That’s not how pubs should treat their dev teams.
      *THQ are surely milking the hell out of their Warhammer and Saints Row IPs. They release redundant, pricey and shallow DLC packs. They completely abandoned Dawn of War II in favor of an exploitative DLC scheme for Retribution. They held back content from both vanilla versions of Space Marine and SR3 and now release said material as DLC.

      While I don’t think that THQ are anywhere near the same level of douchebaggery as ActiBlizz or EA, They are certainly guilty of implementing some of the same dubious business decisions as other companies.

      • Lordcrazy says:

        At the very least, they aren’t shoving DRM down our throats (cough, cough, Ubisoft). Not to mention, while they surely are milking the Dawn of War series, the games have more or less changed in many ways from their predecessors (That is the large expansions and base games).

        • Kaira- says:

          >At the very least, they aren’t shoving DRM down our throats (cough, cough, Ubisoft)

          *cough*Steam*cough*

          • Milky1985 says:

            *cough* is there any time a game on steam is mentioned and kaira won’t take a dig at it like someone with an agenda *cough*

            Sorry that was a bad cough!

          • Malibu Stacey says:

            Milky there’s also Khemm and the personification of passive-aggressiveness Vinraith.
            I’m sure I’m missing some others out too but they’re the 3 which come to mind.

  14. RobF says:

    This is great news.

    More money and more time to work on something properly rather than dedicating time to throwing a hastily put together expansion pack out there?

    Seems like a smart choice to me.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      THQ are going to continue to develop tons of shitty overpriced DLC because they’re greedy. That continued DLC development is also going to affect the quality of their future games.

      Not that any of that matters, because I guarantee that THQ are going to declare bankruptcy before the year is over.

      • RobF says:

        Phew. Thanks for that. For a minute I was actually pleased about something. I’m so glad you couldn’t let that stand.

        I promise not to be pleased about any news again in future. Please be on hand to make sure that’s the case if I ever falter also.

        Cheers!

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Chillax, broski. I’m not quite sure why you got so offended by my statement. If random comments on the internet make you sad, you need to learn to buck up! Keep that smile on your face!

      • Thermal Ions says:

        Hang on, assuming the directors/CEO of the company aren’t living the high life and inappropriately milking the company dry for their own personal gratification, how can you blast them for both heading for bankruptcy AND being greedy? Surely attempting to maximise profit in the face of financial difficulties would be sensible* and responsible?

        * unlike their business decisions around the U-Draw.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Er, part of what can lead to a company eventually declaring bankruptcy is greed and mismanagement. That’s exactly what’s been happening at THQ for a few years now.

          • Soziele says:

            Greed and mismanagement are in no way related concepts. I agree totally that THQ has mismanaged (U-Draw was a terrible idea and they are paying for it now) but there is pretty much 0 proof of greed. And you can’t list DLC or bad ideas as proof of greed, all that is proof of is running a business, which involves profit margins and investors rather liking the idea of getting a return.

  15. DigitalParadox says:

    Saint’s Row/Freespace crossover, calling it now. Admiral Bosch will arrive in Steelport and the Saints will need to defend Earth from the Shivans.

  16. mwoody says:

    The Dominatrix part of three was a virtual world that sort of echoed the real one. My assumption is that they’ve taken it to its natural conclusion: building a virtual world that exists under/behind/inside the entire real open world, that the player can switch in and out of. I bet they were trying to build a virtual version of the world in 3, and the guys saw that, though “hrm, that’s cool” and moved them over to the world they’re building in 4.

    It matches what we saw of the world in 3, it explains how they could make it a focus of 4 without interfering with the parts already in development, and it explains how a simple idea (have a virtual component to one part of the world) could stretch into something much larger (build a virtual component behind the entire thing, with its own rules and ties into the story/gameplay).

  17. The Random One says:

    I like Saints’ Row and I like cheap downloadable games. So now I am sad.

    I am also sad that THQ might be about to explode. They’re the only publisher big enough to be relevant but not so big as to become Activision.

    O woe, all is sadness today.

    • Lordcrazy says:

      I agree with you, and to my last posts in here, I guess I was letting my stock control my brain. Sorry bout’ that guys. But still, they are not as bad as the other corporations: EA, Ubisoft, and Activision-Blizzard.

  18. jrodman says:

    good luck, thq.

  19. Apples says:

    So if GTA is getting progressively more serious and pretentious, and SR is getting progressively more ludicrous and flippant, who’s going to fill the market gap in the middle and make more SR2-ish games? I hope someone does…

  20. Yar says:

    Sanits Row 1 showed a ton of promise. Saints Row 2 was awesome and blew the sandbox genre out of the water. It may have been overshadowed by the overhyped GTA4, but it was way better IMO. Saints Row 3 managed to capture some of what was great about 2, but otherwise was a total let-down. It was clearly the result of some major mismanagement and strategy problems with its development. It was basically cobbled together in an unfinished and unintelligible mess. The story was out of order and made no sense, the open-world exploration was white-washed out of existence, and all of the unlockables and power-ups were reduced down to a very primitive menu-driven point system that was tedious and annoying.

  21. jason123za says:

    There’s a lot of shades of grey to this, I guess if we got to see *all* of what was originally planned for SR4 at some point it wouldn’t matter. As far as the general direction of the series, like a lot of other people I think SR2 had it just right with the balance of serious and silly. But it goes without saying that the fun aspect is the most important thing, regardless of our personal views and preferences.