Friday Flame Wars: Is CliffyB Right About Fewer Dildos in Saints Row?

Earlier this week on Twitter, former Gears of War design director Cliff Bleszinski decided to give Volition, the developer of the Saints Row series, some advice.

Volition, as you might know, was sold in the auction of assets as part of THQ’s bankruptcy goings-on. Koch Media, the parent company of publisher Deep Silver, nabbed the studio and the Saints Row franchise (but not Red Faction, as it turns out).

Anyway, here’s what CliffyB had to say on the matter:

There’s more (see it all on his @therealcliffyb feed), and as you might guess, this whole line of thinking has kicked off some debate. Bleszinski himself even pointed out a lengthy NeoGaf discussion about his comments.

I think rightly, a number of people have pointed out that there’s room in the world for Grand Theft Auto’s satirical take on the open-world crime game, and Saints Rows’ bats–t crazy interpretation thereof. As Jim Sterling mentioned on Twitter, it’s the dildos, et. al., that set Saints Row apart more and more. On the other hand, even with the addition of titles like Sleeping Dogs (which is totally overlooked in this discussion), we do lack a serious, realistic open-world crime game — and it might be cool to have one.

Cliff’s also not wrong that the industry suffers from some real issues with public perception in regards to who plays games and what kinds of people gamers are, and a game that includes waiving around dildos is not helping that image (although Cliff seems to get angry if you point out that the idea of steroid-pumped meat-heads feeling sad about war is deep and meaningful isn’t helping, either). But then again, he’s likely conflating the goofy humor of Saints Row with the unintended sexism of situations like Hitman: Absolution’s trailer about the awesomeness of punching women in the face. The unintentional stuff is the real problem, if you ask me.

But we’re not asking me. We’re asking you. Weigh in. Let us know what you think. Is CliffyB full of B or is he dead-on about our need for dildo-free games? Drop your angry wisdom in the comments.

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12 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: Is CliffyB Right About Fewer Dildos in Saints Row?


On January 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

the mere fact that he could post so many thoughts about dildos in a row speaks volumes about what’s on his mind, does it not?

more on topic, I think bad games and review mag collusion are a more pressing matter for the industry, although maybe not for its perception, in the mainstream anyway.


On January 25, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I don’t think the Saints Row folks need to worry about this very much. GTA4 and RDR both show that Rockstar has opted to go in a more serious direction, albeit with plenty of the typical humor for them. I don’t see it so much as trying to “out GTA, GTA” as it is giving a similar experience that goes off in a different direction. Sure, there are going to be people that will say, “Giant dildo? No way,” but I’d rather see devs doing what they want and finding their specific audience than trying to cater to what is “safe” and giving me something highly generic. CliffyB brings up that Battlefield went after COD by offering a very similar experience in both gameplay and tone, but that game also ran into the trap of looking so similar to the competition that avid fans of that competitor don’t have a lot of reasons to switch. If there is a SR4 and it acted like GTA, I don’t know that I’d have much reason to play it.

Overall, I just want devs to make the games they want to make, and to put honest effort into them. Too many worry about what “sells” or what the perception will be, when they should be worrying about how to make games that are interesting.


On January 25, 2013 at 1:41 pm

There’s gotta be some way to make a game stand out that doesn’t involve flashing dildos…..

Is it really either a GTA clone or dildos galore? Like RJ, I don’t think we should be “restricting” artists from being creative, but there really needs to be some artists who can figure out how to be creative and mature.

it’s the same thing with “mature” themed games. All too often “Mature” means a lot of profanity and boobs/sex. In some venues, that actually might be appropriate. But there has to be more to it than this.

Just as in war games, there needs to be more than dudebros.


On January 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

I’d have to say CliffyB is full of it, I mean look at one of the last games he worked on which was Bulletstorm. He’s should be the last person talking about what is mature and what isn’t.


On January 25, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Giant dildos don’t help gaming’s image, it’s true. No more does a core game mechanic of shooting people, and nobody seems too fussed about that.
If I gave you the choice of clubbing someone to death with a baseball bat or knocking them out with a sex toy, which would you take? Actually, no, scratch that.
Clubbing a guy with a baseball bat OR wading through a crowd of cyberpunk ninjas, wielding a giant phallus while dressed as man-whore, helicopters shooting up the street around you and “I Need A Hero” playing in the background.
Vaas got it wrong. The definition of insanity is known as Saints’ Row.

BTW, best line ever: “A ing TIGER?”


On January 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Complaining about immaturity in Saints Row is like complaining about David Lynch’s work being too obscure. It’s a pointless, nothing argument. Saints Row delivers on what it intends to, a fraternal take on sandbox gaming. It’s not CliffyB’s place to say they shouldn’t do that any more than it’s anyone’s right to say that No Country For Old Men doesn’t have enough comic relief.


On January 25, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Your comment should be the end of this discussion. You’re just right and that’s the end of it.


On January 25, 2013 at 6:16 pm

This coming from a guy who has a game where guys are built like trucks and have boom box boobs for armor. If anything Saints Row needs to push the craziness even further, let’s make the dildo missile launcher a reality.


On January 25, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Well considering that I’ve played through Saint’s Row 2 & 3 about a dozen times each, and the first Gears of War once, I’m pretty sure I know where my bias lies on this subject.

That said, Cliffy is both right and wrong. Yes the giant floppy dildo is immature, and the sort of thing that gets moral guardians in snit, but then again I like immature, I like excessive, and as someone of shall we say less than conventional sexuality, I like that the Saint’s Row games at least acknowledges that I might like dressing up in a gimp suit every now and then, and I know for a fact that I don’t answer to hand wringing myopic nitwits who spend all their time fretting about how something they don’t approve of is corrupting the youth. In fact, that last point is something I take a good deal of pride in.


On January 27, 2013 at 4:46 am

I haven’t played Saints Row myself but I’ve watched a friend playing it and it looks great fun. And that there is what’s missing from a lot of new games, the fun factor, the realisation that you are in fact playing a game and it’s wacky fun. Too many of these game developers are trying to write movies with a game attached, all the serious action, cutscenes, realistic characters. I watch movies for that sort of thing, I play games to escape and have a laugh, do something that can only happen in a game world.

As an example, I used to love GTA Vice City – riding motorbikes over rooftops in time trials, driving remote controlled cars around to blow up vehicles, and so on. Along came GTA4 and all that vanished, it all got so very serious. Games should be games, not realism.


On January 27, 2013 at 7:31 am

I would be pretty insulted if I had this waste of life telling me how to make my games.

Dildos hurt the industry perceptions? Oh, I’m sooo sorry about ruining your totally serious and artistic visions. Certainly beating someone to death with a dildo isn’t as artistic and classy as sawing someone in half with a chainsaw mounted on your gun, as performed by an ex-football player who looks like he’s been on HGH since birth.

The only thing this piece of crap is good for is telling us how to make the same game over and over again, and we don’t even need him for that because Infinity Ward/Treyarch/Activision can already tell us how to do that in greater detail.


On January 27, 2013 at 8:50 am

The fact that the presence of a dildo could be seen as hampering the industry in a videogame where you can play a minigame where you throw people into helicopter propellers and plane turbines for trying to get a celebrity’s autograph says it all. Completely backwards priorities once again.