The third Saint's row game was a tonne of fun, crammed with all sorts of over the top features and missions, but what of all the things that didn't make it into the game? Lead designer Scott Phillips in his GDC post-mortem shared some of the elements of the game that got cut, including 6 months work on a game where you played an undercover cop, infiltrating the Third Street Saints, which got entirely canned.
For the first 6 months or so Saints Row: The Third went in a very different direction. You were an undercover cop infiltrating the Saints. We wanted choice to be a much bigger part of the game. At the end of a mission you might find a big pile of cocaine, and would have to decided whether to turn it over to the FBI, or give it to the Saints
It was interesting, but it wasn't a Saints Row game. So we completely reset after 6 months.
Also cut was a feature called freegunning, a portmanteau of the things it sounds like a portmanteau of. We saw a tech demo video showing your character leaping over cars and wall-running on buildings, and all the time shooting. It looked pretty slick, something along the lines of Prototype, Assassin's Creed & The Sands of Time. Sadly this was cut because of performance issues, they couldn't get it to work properly in an open world populated with lots of characters.
On the flipside, one feature that ended up being bigger than expected was the dildo bat.
Initially it was just one bulletpoint on one mission. Games have done that before, and we wanted to go much bigger.
The team loved it. It really felt awesome.
This was just a nice moment for the team to really gel, and feel like 'Yes, we know what Saints Row is now'.
I'm impressed that they could all take it.
In retrospect Scott said that the game could have been better if they'd cut more stuff too, like some of the weaker missions, but they were necessary because the story already fit around them.
After having done rather well for the troubled medium tier publisher THQ, would anyone be particularly surprised if Volition were currently working on another follow up? Maybe freegunning could make a return sometime in the future.