City of Anti-Heroes: Saints Row IV Is Super Saints Row

By Alec Meer on March 15th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Definitely better than a red catsuit, no?

This kinda seems to be happening a bit too soon – don’t open world games take years and years and years to make? – but I suppose Volition wouldn’t want to sit on their hands after their recent dice with death. And heck, this is probably Saints Row: The Third with bits on (EDIT – oh, yeah, I forgot, it is one-time SR3 DLC expanded into a full game. That makes sense), but when those bits include making the player a superhero I’m not complaining. Offering godlike, reality-bending powers is an entirely logical outcome for a series which started life snipping at GTA’s unconcerned heels then increasingly (d)evolved into out and out AAAARGH WOOOO YEAH WHATEVS ANYTHING EVERYTHING LOOK AT MEEEE POO BUM WILLY HAHAHAHAAHHA happy-madness.

Part IV goes further still, and is somehow out in August. Take a look below.

If you’re wondering how the Saints become super-people is possible, even within the series’ wildly unpredictable veneer of internal logic, well, aliens did it. Like we really need a reason to punch a man into space or ride a lightcycle, but here’s the official blurb anyway:

In the next open-world installment of Saints Row, Deep Silver Volition continues the story of the Third Street Saints by elevating their status to the highest level – the leaders of the free world. In Saints Row IV, the head honcho of the Saints has been elected to the Presidency of the United States. But the Saints are just getting started. Now the larger-than-life insanity of the Saints series gets a new twist with a catastrophic alien invasion, and the aliens have transported the Saints to a bizarro-Steelport simulation. Wield gargantuan superpowers and fight to free humanity from alien granddaddy Zinyak’s mental grasp. Escape the simulation that’s trapped the Saints crew, or die trying.

Saints Row IV lets players delve into an arsenal of alien weaponry and technology that will turn each Saint into an ultimate entity of destruction. Utilize out-of-this-world superpowers to fight all the way to the top. With intensified action and enhanced customization, players can use their newfound superpowers and leap over buildings, outrun the fastest sports cars, or send enemies flying with telekinesis in the greatest, most insane installment of Saints Row yet.

Out on current-gen consoles and PC on August 20, 2013, in North America and August 23, 2013, in the rest of the world, that is.

This comes from Deep Silver rather than former Volition owners THQ, but the fast turnaround suggests the lion’s share of this ridiculous game must have been done while still living at the original owner’s house. In other words, I’m not sure we’ll be able to get any sense of what Deep Silver owning the license and studio means from this one. I just hope they don’t send journalists any more giant dildos in the post this time. Dildos or dildoes?

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78 Comments »

    • Sami Hamlaoui says:

      Either this game will need to add an absolutely insane amount of new content (and not just new DLC-worthy mini-games) or not sell for full retail price. By the looks of the trailer and the blurb issued, they’re going to be reusing the same engine and a load of the assets from Saints Row 3 (the city, costumes, etc). Of course they’re going to add new stuff and mix up the existing bits, but considering how much of the work has seemingly already been done I don’t expect to pay full price for Saints Row 3.5.

      And I loved Saints Row 3 to bits.

      • ANeM says:

        You should remember though that Saints Row 2 received many of the same criticisms when it was in development, due to the fact it still took place in Stillwater. It turned out that being able to use the original games content as a springboard allowed the developers to make a much, much better game, with an astounding amount of content, that absolutely dwarfs what is available in the 1st and 3rd games.

        If Saints Row 4 does to Saints Row 3 what Saints Row 2 did to Saints Row 1, I’ll be happy.

        • Teovald says:

          wow. I have never played Saints Rows 1 or 2, only 3 and was going to say that for an open world game, reusing the same engine makes a lot of sense since that way you can focus on the content.
          Sounds like they already did that once. Ok, you win Saints Rows, day one purchase.

          • carol391 says:

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        • The Random One says:

          I agree, but I actually think I’ll enjoy it more if it’s just a $15 dowloadable you can export your SR3 characters to.

    • Tacroy says:

      Honestly, the part of The Trouble With Clones (one of the DLC packs) where you get hyped up on Saints Flow and run around blowing everyone up with your super powers was one of the most fun and epic parts of the game.

      It’s totally worth making an entire game around (well, another game), though if it’s largely re-using the assets from Saints Row 3 it probably shouldn’t come out at full price.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      If they fix the vehicle handling (which was the worst I have ever experienced,) and expand the city, I don’t mind.

  1. buzzmong says:

    Looks completely daft. I’ll probably have to buy it.

  2. Stochastic says:

    It’s like they know how annoying game trailers with flashing intertitles are, so they cranked things to 11 just to toy with us.

  3. Llewyn says:

    Dildos or dildoes?

    Shakespeare used “dildo’s”. Take that, apostrophe pedants.

    Edit: Perhaps not the finest choice of verb there, alas.

  4. Shockeh says:

    Goddamn you Volition. I don’t know how you got that probe into my brain, and I don’t know how it transmits my desire for games to you, but STOP USING IT AND JUST TAKE MY BANK ACCOUNT.

  5. Xocrates says:

    I kind of wonder if they’re going to take advantage of this being essentially Saints Row 3.5 and allow us to import our characters.

    • Teovald says:

      storyline as well please. The ending of SR3 was a real letdown (the consequences of the 2 choices made absolutely no sense). If they could use this opportunity to correct this, that would be great.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Eh? I quite liked it.

        One of the reasons SR3 is absolutely one of my best games for “why AAA budgets are still justified to exist” is that it blends being a big happy toybox where every decision is apparently made by asking “OK, which solution to this problem lets the players have the most fun?”* with surprisingly relatable and well-acted characters in a plot that’s silly and kind of distractedly aimless but ultimately draws to a conclusion other than a sequel cliffhanger. A tension is introduced at the start and resolved by the end.

        But, yes, character import please.

        * Recently been playing co-op. Guardian Angel activity where you have to defend an NPC with a helicopter. What do you do with the second player? Have them man a turret, taking it away from the first, to preserve balance? Sod that, give them a whole second chopper, WHEEE EXPLOSIONS!

        • Teovald says:

          It is just the ending that I did not liked, the multiple choices during the story were indeed great.
          But in this ending (SPOILERS AHEAD of course) you have the choice between enacting pointless revenge against Killbane and become a badass gangsta and let half of your friends die to do so. or save the friends and become a tool of your advertisement company.
          It makes no sense to pursue Killbane, he has already been defeated on the ring, he has lost his mask. Why would I let my friends die just so I can kill him ? His fate is already worse than death.
          And why would not being a moron and go save my friends make me revert to the “I am entertainment bitch” status ?
          SR3 is often compared to GTA4. In this game at least the choice made sense : the character you like the most dies as the result of your crimes. In SR3, I miss to see any sense in the endings.

          • Baines says:

            Choosing to kill Killbane to me is the best ending sequence.

            As for why you might want to go after him, Angel was quite simply wrong with his “the best punishment is to beat him and let him live in shame.” Beating Killbane publicly only makes Killbane more aggressive. Killbane immediately tries to destroy the whole city by starting citywide fights with STAG, with himself escaping on a plane as the city burns.

            As for letting your friends die in order to chase Killbane, that is addressed by Killbane himself in your final showdown. If you’ve chosen to chase Killbane, then you’ve chosen killing him over saving your friends and the image of the Saints. You’ve become the cold hearted killer. You’ve thrown away the happy joking camaraderie and whole “celebrity gang” status of Saints Row the Third to become the brutal gang member out for blood. (Unless you are playing that path after beating the Gangstas in Space path, in which case you are probably just doing it for completion sake.)

            If anything, the unbelievable story element is when the player character is forced to agree with Angel’s plan to let Killbane live in the first place. It is built on the idea that you’d let Viola and the Decker leader live, but Killbane isn’t the same situation. Heck, Angel himself is a counter-example to Angel’s own viewpoint. Sure, when Killbane beat Angel and took his mask, Angel went into hiding. But once Angel had the resources, he went after Killbane again. Which is effectively what Killbane does when you beat him.

          • Teovald says:

            Angel was right in saying that the worse fate that Killbane could endure was losing his mask. He is just mad with anger. Of course finishing him after that makes sense in order to prevent him from trying to take revenge but why sacrifice your friends to do so ?
            And why choosing to save your friends would make you revert your whole path and go back to your buffoon status ? Hey, you can save the friends AND kill the little Eddie afterwards.you have a wealth of ressources, including Killbane ex-collaborators and an expert hacker in order to find Killbane and kill him.
            The choice between these 2 endings feels really artificial to me.

  6. darkChozo says:

    So can we expect that by Saint’s Row VII or so, the entire gang has simply ascended to another plane of existence and the gameplay consists entirely of exploding robotic tits in mascot costumes?

  7. Claidheamh says:

    But what kind of aliens? Were it the Vasudans or the Shivans?

  8. tobecooper says:

    I love the games with every of my plastic organs, and this looks to go further into the bonkers land than any game has ever dared before which is good. But they really need to optimize the engine better. Hopefully, third time’s the charm.

  9. R10T says:

    I probably just watched The King Of All Teasers. (Japanese excluded, of course)

  10. Shooop says:

    Actually the turnaround may mean they’re using the unfinished Enter The Dominatrix DLC they couldn’t finish before THQ went under.

    Hopefully they’re doing this the right way and not just taping up the DLC and shipping it. We need another Saint’s Row.

    • meatshit says:

      I love Volition and Saints Row, but I’m extremely wary of any AAA game thrown together in less than 2 years. Every single one I’ve played ends up feeling rushed and a bit disjointed.

  11. sharkh20 says:

    I didn’t like the third as much as the first 2. It just felt geared around DLC and marketing. I will say that every game should have an awesome button though.

  12. Trithne says:

    Needs more Professor Genki.

    Although I really did miss the crazy superpowers after that DLC ended.

  13. Hanban says:

    It’s funny that this is the logical next step for the series.

  14. F3ck says:

    Probably I fell in love with SR3 as it came along at precisely the right moment; I had had enough of the (though initially interesting and certainly impressive, ultimately) painfully dull GTA4…

    …along with the likes of Borderlands it holds no pretense to seriousness and is simply more of the sublime core ingredients a typical game would bury under superfluous bullshit and recycled drama.

    If you’re going to make play a game so you can set the world on fire, we can probably forgo the emailing mum bits.

  15. Kollega says:

    I’m feeling a little conflicted. Sure, it’s more Saints Row, and that’s good, but it’s only an addon re-made into a whole game, which means it won’t move much farther past The Third. I’m not sure i’d pay a full price for it, since it’s probably not that big.

  16. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Poor Project Awakened, this looks like the lite version of that game.

  17. Bluerps says:

    I think I don’t really care that this is probably just an extended version of that unreleased SR3 DLC. I’d prefer a real SR4, but SR3 was so great that I don’t mind getting more of it.

  18. StarchildHypocrethes says:

    This news excites me in a truly childish way.

  19. Baines says:

    Saints Row the Third DLC was pretty weak in general, so it worries me that “Saints Row 4″ is nothing but an expanded SR3 DLC .

    It is also kind of annoying. Volition had previously talked about how THQ’s budget issues negatively impacted Saints Row the Third, and how THQ made them rush the game and cut it short. When Deep Silver bought them, Volition was positive about how they didn’t have to worry about quarterly financial statements. And now they are rushing out expanded DLC as Saints Row 4…

    • darkChozo says:

      To be fair, the last proper SR3 DLC released just about a year ago, so they’ll have just under a year and a half of dev time for this, and that’s assuming no development happened before then (rather unlikely, if only for console cert times). So it’s not like this is being rushed out the door or anything.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Optimist’s view: they’d already converted this DLC into 4 at THQ’s desperate behest before it went under. Rather than chuck it, they’re rolling with what they’ve got, and will do the next Big thing for 5.

    • The Random One says:

      I think the problem with the SR3 DLCs was more of scope than of content. They were just more story missions, but the story missions are the least fun parts of SR3 (and of sandbox games in general). Which is why the Genki ‘activity pack’ is my favourite.

      Imagine that after you’ve finished the Gangstas in Space DLC you’re given two new Guardian Angel activiites in which you’re flying the spaceship. Or a bunch of new “stand your ground” events in which you have the powers you have at the end of the Clones DLC.

      Since this is meant to be a whole game and therefore of greater scope I presently stand hopeful.

      • LeeTheAgent says:

        Really? I loved the story missions, I thought they were one of the best parts of the game. I have not completed them all though, so perhaps the later ones aren’t as good.

  20. Artista says:

    It’s official. Games are art.

  21. Dariune says:

    After loving Saints Row 2 and hating Saints Row 3 I think I will stay well clear of this one.

    In my eyes (And bear in mind this is just my opinion based on my personal tastes) this looks like utter shite!

    • Shakes999 says:

      I hated SR3. They took most everything about SR2 and went the “If it aint broke, lets break it anyways” style of programming. My GF beat the game but I can’t say with complete confidence that she was actually having fun when she was playing it. More of a “i started this, and be damned if im not going to finish it” grudgefuck.

      SR3 was the perfect example of just because you threw everything plus the kitchen sink in your game, doesn’t mean you should.

      And finally, im not saying it was a awful game or broken. Just that after dumping hours in to SR2 and having a blast, I really did not like the direction they decided to go with it and don’t have much hope for the 4th one.

      • applecup says:

        Yeah same basically. 2 had a dark and rather twisted sense of humour about it; 3 seemed like it had been written by a 13 year old while high on pixie sticks. Which is fine if that’s what floats your boat, but is really not my thing. At all.

      • Xocrates says:

        Conversely, I hated 2 with a fiery passion and to this day it remains the only game I rage-uninstalled midway through.

        Because of that, it took me years – and the humble bundle – for me to even dip into SR 3. Which I ended up enjoying quite a bit, as I felt it fixed and/or changed everything I disliked about SR2.

        However, this is not a condemnation of either of the games, just a note that they are very different games.

        • Quickpull says:

          It’s also a note that you are like a bizzaro version of me. SR2 is one of the few games I’ve actually played to completion. I just stopped playing SR3 after about an hour. It wasn’t any fun where as SR2 is one of the best coop experiences I’ve ever played.

  22. Grey Ganado says:

    Since in Saints Row 3 my character got turned into an immortal killing machine by his cellphone I’m perfectly fine with aliens being the explanation for getting superpowers.

  23. The JG Man says:

    They’ve clearly been watching a lot of (good) films. 23 seconds in and there’s a bit of a Desperado homage. One of the best, too.

  24. stupid_mcgee says:

    SR3 was fun for what it is. But I kind of felt, after a while, that the whole “look how wacky this shit is!” mentality began to wear thin and seemed very forced at times. It’s kind of like Doug Stanhope’s standup. At first it’s shocking and galling and takes you by surprise. After the 20th dead baby joke, you begin to realize it’s just rote tripe hoping to continuously cash-in on first impressions.

    • Baines says:

      It was bad even before the game came out, when they were doing videos promoting and focusing on stuff like the dildo bat, fart in a jar, and apoca-fist. They acted like those ideas were the greatest thing ever, when they are pretty poor ideas.

      The devs thinking those ideas were so great only made them worse ideas. A dildo bat might have been worth a few chuckles if it was some obscure melee item that you found tucked in a corner without any elaborate show. But the devs treated it as an inherently funny idea, then made it one of your very few melee weapon choices, and shoved it in your face.

      I do wonder who wrote the endings to the game, though… The game’s two endings seem to be statements about the game itself. One ending, the “Happy Ending”, embraces the whole over-the-top celebrity nature of the game. The other ending is your character rejecting the celebrity and circus stuff to chase down some cold blooded vengeance at any cost and any sacrifice. For that ending, while the world itself stays a circus, your character is cold and hard, not the jolly laughing prankster that would say that it is all good fun while hitting someone with a dildo bat. Killbane’s whole final speech is effectively him rejecting Saints Row the Third.

  25. Urthman says:

    Saints Row 3 has some of the best writing and voice acting of any video game. It’s stupid, but it’s smart-stupid. The plot is ridiculous but inventive, clever, and entertaining. The dialogue is often funny and almost never painful. The characters are all enjoyable to hang around and listen to. Everyone involved with this project seemed to be having a great time, and it really carries over into the game.

    • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

      Aha, you say that but I couldn’t disagree more. I found the characters in SR3 (the only one I’ve been played) to be such fundamentally unlikeable, arrogant and self-assured creations that I found their dialogue consistently painful and never funny, the plot ridiculous but never clever and the characters at no point not even slightly enjoyable to hang around and listen to. Not to say “you’re wrong” or anything but, y’know, offering the other opinion for balance.

      The writing (and historic shoddy console ports) aside, Saints Row occupies a similar space to Bjork for me – not my cup of tea, but I’m glad that somebody’s doing it. I won’t be buying either, but I’ll cheer for SR4 trying something fun and interesting over GTAV’s efforts to aim for forgettable Hollywood action movies as the pinnacle of slick and cool.

    • LionsPhil says:

      It’s stupid, but it’s smart-stupid.

      This. I’m kind of baffled by the comments calling it a succession of tired shock jokes.

      (It’s also not a “here are all your cheat-codes up-front” deal; quite the contrary, it’s a masterclass on dangling cool toys in front of you then letting you nab them a couple of missions later on.)

    • TWChristine says:

      I actually really agree! Infact that was one of the first things I noticed about the game. I think it also really depends on the character voice you choose. I don’t want to start that argument, but it’s kind of like choosing female-shep over the guy. I chose “Female Voice #1″ done by Laura Bailey and I have to say, she did an absolutely AWESOME job delivering the lines, and it really helped pull me into the game. I think (so far, because I have yet to beat the game..keep going back and restarting because I’m having so much fun) the only voice I didn’t care for was Hulk Hogans. The voice just sounded wrong for the character for some reason. I’m not sure if part of it was having a “celebrity voice” which I find often detracts from immersion.

  26. Dave L. says:

    This is definitely Enter the Dominatrix (which was a stand alone expansion, not DLC), but it has some story elements from the original Saints Row IV design doc (the becoming president thing). It’s definitely not the Saints Row IV that Volition was originally working on (which had an evil gang of cloned historical figures being led by an evil clone of the player). I get the feeling that Deep Silver has ordered Volition to turn around something that they can call Saints Row IV as quickly as possible, and Volition pulled out Enter the Dominatrix and made some tweaks. The trailer referring to it as ‘the climactic chapter’ is a bit worrisome as well.

    • Derezzedjack says:

      That original plan seems just like the most badass thing I can only imagine in Saints Row for a story background.
      Let’s hope Saints Row 5 (if this one doesn’t completly suck) will bring that back. I would love to see this!

  27. Tei says:

    Really bad video :(

    I think is supposed to look cool and excite. But for a expansion of this game I want information. I want to know if is a “meh” or a “woah”. It can be either way with the 0.5 seconds short images here.

    Please, somebody on charge of this, make a slow video where we see what really have this expansion, and what to expect from it.

  28. Megakoresh says:

    SR3 was awesome on every level. I have no reasons to be sceptical about this one, since they didn’t change the engine (which is sad, but oh well, SR3 didn’t look too bad I suppose). Looking forward for more insane and unpredictable storyline, and crazy overload.

  29. Liudeius says:

    Well I was hoping THQ’s collapse would result in SR4 being delayed (since THQ was clearly milking it for maximum profits, trying to move up its release to save the company).
    SR3 wasn’t bad, but there are so many small things which make the game seem to lack polish. I expected more.

    Look at boats, there’s only three, it’s the same with planes (the VTOL’s are counted as helicopters). And there are no AI controlled versions of either (outside of police chases in the ocean).
    Then look at clothing, where there is so much less choice than SR2.
    And you can’t ignore all that DLC. “40 weeks of DLC?” Yeah, no thanks.
    Clear necessities were also skipped, like a way to reorganize your garage (no, I don’t want to use your crappy, ugly gang cars which are locked into my garage). And speaking of the gang, what was the point of the gang cars option? They put that in, but never actually implemented your selection. Rushed much?
    Even one very annoying bug which is responsible for 90% of my deaths was left in and never patched (dying if you exit a car while it blows up,but not if you’re inside it or standing next to it).

    I was hoping the new company would delay release and give them more time to apply polish, but seeing as this is being released less than two years after SR3, and I assume Volition is only one development team, chances are pretty bleak that this will be any more than a $60 DLC expansion.

  30. WhatKateDoes says:

    I adored SR3… It was cub a great single player, sandbox, and fab co-op experience… And so lovably completely bonkers too :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3rqmuuLWPs&sns=tw

    The default female protagonist voice performance is a fave right up there with FemShep, and I hope for a reprise in IV.

    That being said… I had hoped for a little graphical push for the successor. If IV it be ten tts what I’d expect in the same year GTA V is aboot to debut. They’re both very different in styling obviously, bu the trailer is show the SR3 is starting to look quite dated… And we don’t want another retrograde Aliens:CM!

    ..but.. If its being based off existing heavy DLC assets then they’ll be looking to cash in on a quick last gap t the current gen consoles I imagine..

  31. Citrus says:

    I am still playing SR2, which I started playing after SR3.. and after getting a supercomputer to run SR2.

    Anyways, SR2 has way more content than SR3. I am shocked that I am actually loving SR2 a lot more than the sequel (which was pretty fun as well).

    • Derezzedjack says:

      I also got Saints Row 2 after I had played through the third one a few times (both alone and with a friend), while I liked the overall idea and the mass of content it has in comparison to the third I just couldn’t stand the performance. I don’t know if it was that really that bad or I just think it was, but it got to the point where it put me off. And before you start asking about my PC, an i7 and a GTX680 should be enough to run this game, but as far as I remember it isn’t. I haven’t touched it since then, maybe I should go back.

      Oh it was also that the networking for the coop is absolute garbage and I couldn’t play with a friend without it lagging all over the place…

    • Nick says:

      I found SR2 to be a better game despite the godawful port, I wish they hadn’t cut a lot of the cool stuff from it for SR3.

    • Baines says:

      Volition said before that they had to cut Saints Row the Third’s development short due to THQ. That’s the reason they gave for why SR2 had more content.

  32. Nick says:

    Looking forward to this, I liked SR3 but it really felt like things were missing, including chunks of story.

    Also they better bring back Johnny Gat.

  33. MOOncalF says:

    Expansions have grown into sequels in the past, just because it’s the same engine doesn’t mean they haven’t busted their asses bringing new violent hilarity to their ADHD+GTA lovechild. Bravo Volition and count me in! P.S. that trailer was wicked and gameplay-relevant, but c’mon SR3′s CG Music Vid was untouchably epic, maybe something like that for launch? One can hope.

  34. XacalPitarch says:

    In Saints Row 3, I feel that the city conquest mechanic could be more fun if you have to take and hold streets, no only % of territory if you make some missions. Imagine the conquest of the city like in like M&B:Warband, where every street is a castle that give you something (weapons, money, prestige, etc) and that can be take away form the enemy bands. But you will end up with a game that promote street bands, and I think this will not pass some gov tests. In the other hand, if it’s some bad space aliens that control the streets an you are a superhero ….

  35. bar10dr says:

    I really enjoyed SR3, I just came over the game by chance really. I hope they stay true to the quality in the last title.

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