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How to play Saints Row in multiplayer co-op

Cause mayhem in Sant Ileso with a friend by your side

The core gang in a Saints Row reboot screenshot.
Image credit: Deep Silver

Does Saints Row have multiplayer? The 2022 reboot of Saints Row may be taking the franchise back to its roots in some ways, but worry not, multiplayer modes are making a welcome return in the series' latest title. On this page we'll tell you everything you need to know about co-op multiplayer in Saints Row, including how to initiate a co-op game, how to adjust your settings for your desired level of privacy, and which platforms allow you to join friends in crossplay.

Liam recently chatted to Alice about their favourite thing in Saints Row.Watch on YouTube

How to play Saints Row in co-op

It's pretty easy to get started in co-op in Saints Row. On the game's main starting screen you'll see a clearly signposted Co-op Campaign option. Click on this and you'll be given four choices for multiplayer:

  • Host Game: Allow a co-op partner to join in with any of your ongoing saves. (You'll be given a list of all your existing saves to choose from.) Open-to-all matchmaking is on by default when choosing this option, so be sure to adjust your privacy settings if you don't want your game to be publicly available.
  • Join Friend: Find a friend who's online and/or has sent you an invite, and drop into their hosted game.
  • Host New Game: Begin hosting a game in a fresh save. Same rules apply as in the Host Game option above, except that what you get up to is kept separate from your existing save(s). Good for if you want a dedicated save for playing with a particular partner, for example.
  • Matchmaking: Find a co-op partner who's hosting their game online on a compatible platform and looking to buddy up.

There are also a couple of settings you can fine-tune in the pause menu's Co-op Settings options to prevent unwanted behaviour from your co-op partner. By default, co-op sessions are open to all once you take your game online, and you might find a matchmade stranger dropping in unannounced at any time; but you can change the Session Privacy setting to "Friends Only" or "Invite Only" to control who can join you and when, if you prefer.

And in addition to the aforementioned friendly fire and pranking options, you also have an HQ Customization toggle that's only adjustable by the host. This basically prevents your co-op partner from messing with the stuff in your home base when set to "off" (which is where it sits by default).

The Saints Row Co-op Campaign selection screen, showing the four main co-op options (host game, join friend, host new game, and matchmaking). A cactus illustrates the right-hand side of the screen.

How does co-op work in Saints Row?

Co-op in Saints Row allows you and a buddy to team up for part or all of the game's campaign. You can't have more than two players in co-op mode together at the same time; however, you don't have to play the whole campaign with the same partner, or indeed with any partner at all if you choose to mix-and-match between solo and co-op play.

Progress carries over between single player and co-op campaigns, and this happens regardless of whether you're the host or the guest. Both players in the same game can explore the world independently, but if one player initiates a mission, the other player will be teleported to them so that they can complete it together. Which missions are available will be determined by the host's progress and regardless of the guest's.

All this means that it's quite possible for you to play a mission in a friend's game that's further along in the story than the point you've reached in your solo playthrough. But if this happens, you won't have to replay that mission when you reach it in your own save. This might make the story a little disjointed; but crucially, it allows you to seamlessly carry over any XP, items, collectables, and achievements you gain while being hosted in a friend's save back into your own.

Does Saints Row have PvP?

Multiplayer in Saints Row is co-operative in nature, so you won't be finding any dedicated PvP modes here. However, that's not to say you've got no options to torment your mate a little as you explore the city of Sant Ileso together. As you play and complete challenges, a "prank metre" will gradually fill up, allowing you to periodically transform your friend into an inanimate object for a period of time. It's a neat way to inject a little competition into proceedings without allowing for griefing, or indeed breaking the overall co-operative nature of multiplayer.

You do also get the option to customise the possibilities of friendly fire in co-op — your choices are full damage, partial/reduced damage, and no damage — so you and your pal can kill some time shooting and beating each other if you want to; it just won't get you anywhere in terms of progressing through the game. By default, friendly fire is turned off completely and the aforementioned pranking feature is turned on, but either player can customise these settings at any time by going into the game's pause menu and going to Co-op > Co-op Settings.

Both the host and the guest can adjust these settings from their own version of the menu. But in order to prevent antisocial behaviour, your Friendly Fire settings only affect the damage you take from your partner, not the damage you can deal to them. Meanwhile, Co-op Pranking must be turned "on" for both partners before it can take effect in-game.

Does Saints Row have crossplay?

While Saints Row will be released on PC, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, and PlayStation 4, crossplay will be limited to cross-gen play between consoles of the same make. In other words, PS5 owners can freely play with PS4 owners, and Xbox Series players may buddy up with Xbone players, but no crossing of the corporate lines is allowed.

For PC players, this likely means that crossplay won't be a possibility at all, although this hasn't technically been confirmed yet. I suppose there's an outside chance that you'll eventually be able to team up with your fellow Microsoft product owners on their various Xbox-es, but for now, no crossplay on PC seems like the likeliest outcome.

Now that you know all about multiplayer, be sure to stick with RPS because we've got plenty of other Saints Row guides in the works!

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