Saints Row 4 PAX East Preview: El Fugitivo Lives!
Whether or not it ends up being good remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: Saints Row 4 will serve as a eulogy to now-defunct publisher THQ.
Originally planned as a stand-alone expansion of Saints Row The Third, called ‘Enter The Dominatrix‘, THQ president Jason Rubin decided very early into his reign to cancel the project and fold all of its content into an expedited Saints Row 4. That made sense: at the time, THQ was entering what we now know were its death throes. The company needed a guaranteed success to short up investor confidence, and Saints Row: The Third was already on track to sell 4 million copies. Getting a proper sequel out as soon as possible was a sign that THQ still meant business.
Alas, by this point nothing could save the once-mighty publisher from destruction and by January of this year, THQ was dissolved and its individual subsidiaries sold piecemeal. Saints Row developer Volition went to Koch Media and the immediate question was whether or not SR4 was actually still on track. It is, and it’s coming out really soon.
An August 20 release date means that Saints Row 4 will have launched less than 2 years after Saints Row: The Third. Not a huge development window when you consider that SR3 dropped more than 3 years after SR2. Is it just being rushed out? We won’t know until it launches, but Volition was at PAX East this weekend to show off what they have so far for a hands-off demo presented by Executive Producer Jim Boone. Ron Whitaker and Devin Connors were on the scene and based on their report, it looks like Volition isn’t fixing what wasn’t broken. Sure, the series has strayed far from its GTA-clone roots, but that’s only bad if you think a gun that fires Dubstep at hapless enemies is a bad thing.
After surviving the chaos that was the dissolution of THQ, it looks like Saints Row 4 is on the right path. That’s in part because the team working on it is made up of people who’ve been there from the beginning. “Most of the Saints Row IV team worked on Saints Row the Third, most of SR3 team worked on SR2, most of SR2 team worked on SR1,” Devin was told. “Saints Row the Third was the real gelling of the talent on the team, and SRIV is taking it to another level”
The latest installment in a surprisingly lengthy franchise, Saints Row 4 looks to build on the foundation that made Saints Row the Third such a hit: Over the top everything. Over the top action, set pieces, dialogue, weapons, and…well, everything else.
Saints Row 4 sets you, the leader of the Saints, as the President of the United States. That makes sense, right? I mean, if a gang that blows up half the city and runs over the other half can get endorsement deals and sell branded merchandise, why the hell not? Every President faces challenges, and you’re no exception – there are aliens invading!
The Zin (that’s the new alien race) have not only invaded, but they have kidnapped the President, sealing him inside a virtual version of Steelport. Volition told us that there are “more types of Zin than all the gangs of Saints Row the Third combined.” One type we saw was called the Warden. He’s a boss-type character that serves as the evil counterpart to you. So, how in the world can the President fight his way out of this? Well, he’s going to need some superpowers. Luckily, Volition is providing them.