E3 2013: Saints Row IV Preview

June 16, 2013

What does one expect from Saints Row? A great, big dose of humour, that’s for sure. From the get-go, Saints Row IV delivers. As the President of the United States, your first choice is to either cure cancer or feed the hungry. Your second choice? To either punch a dickhead, or punch a dick in the head.

We spoke with Stephen Quirk, the Senior Artist at developer Deep Silver Volition. He tells us that the big question on the team’s mind at the start of the development process was: Where should we go after Saints Row 3? They felt that there was a natural progression through the games. In Saints Row 3, you became the leader of the Saints, and now in Saints Row IV, leader of the free world. Did we mention that as President, you have powers of flight, super-speed and telekinesis? As a result, there’s no man better prepared to repel an alien invasion, as is the plot of Saints Row IV. However, even he will have his hands full.

Quirk tells us that the President’s superpowers felt like a reasonable extension of the core mechanics. Obviously, customisation is a big element of the games as well, and Deep Silver want to offer as many toys for the player to use as possible. The superpowers have various modifiers, both elemental and transitional. For example, instead of his regular telekinesis, the President can shoot a blast of ice which freezes any characters or objects it hits. But what else can Deep Silver do? What will the system let them do? These are the biggest challenges. Quirk reiterates that Deep Silver are always open to new ideas. Their philosophy is that it’s all about immediate fun, and if it’s fun, that’s how it gets into the game. As another example, the new Dubstep gun triggers various behaviours such as cars jumping, people dancing and lights flashing.

When discussing the aliens, Quirk mentions that there will be various aliens in the game, including regular grunts, lieutenants, and enforcers. There are many more, but they can’t reveal them yet. There will also be familiar faces, with some nice surprises for people who have played all of the Saints Row games. They’ve ended up with a Quadrilogy and to Quirk, the fourth game feels like a natural kind of wrap up in a sense.

However, Deep Silver does want to let the fans dictate the future of the series. If they love Saints Row IV, then this will not be the end of the franchise. The core team have been working on the game for a couple of years and it’s truly a studio-wide effort. To highlight this, Quirk mentions that as soon as the third game wrapped up, people were thinking the fourth game. It certainly keeps the studio busy, as there are currently 180 people working there. A dedicated in-house team works on the engine. The entire city that you see in the game was made in 3D max, and modelled carefully. Tools for generating content fast have been created by the engine team, saving weeks of development time. New tools are coming too, which will be helpful for future games and perhaps even a game for the next generation of consoles.

Expect to see Saints Row IV for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on shelves on August 23rd this year.

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