Posted on August 5, 2013, Ian Miles Cheong Volition: THQ’s Pornstar Focus On Saints Row Was In Bad Taste
THQ’s emphasis on pornstars for marketing the Saints Row franchise didn’t really go along with what its developers at Volition had going for the game, argues Volition.
In an interview with Edge, Saints Row 4 associate producer Kate Nelson says that THQ’s enlisting of pornstars to promote the previous games in the series struck her and others at the company as inappropriate.
“I did not always love how much THQ put an emphasis on porn stars,” Nelson said “In Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 3 there was an emphasis on the penthouse girls, and earlier Tera Patrick. I think it’s important in marketing games to make sure that the essence of the game is what’s being marketed, and I think the porn star angle didn’t really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart, which is a parody. We like to poke fun.
“You can be an important female character – you don’t have to have a D cup either,” she continued. “You can be large woman, a small woman – you can be blue. You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative.”
You can be anything you want in Saints Row 4, including a large blue-skinned woman with small breasts who sounds like Nolan North. The game allows you to play whatever character you want to.
“I think our game actually does represent women in a positive way,” Nelson added. “But the press will focus on, oh hey, there are strippers, or there’s a dildo bat – it’s unfortunate from my perspective that that doesn’t come through. Because I hear women talk on panels and they’re like ‘there are no people that look like me in games’.
“Well, actually in my game [the main character] can look like you as our customization system is so extensive. We don’t get that across in our marketing or in the press because it’s difficult – we only have 30 seconds to explain.”
Nelson added that the “appointment” of Tera Patrick as a “special producer” on Saints Row 2 wasn’t well received by employees at the company. “Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualised as a producer of our project, or saying the penthouse girls are our QA staff – I just…I can see the humour in that angle of promotion but for me that’s the line where it gets into reality.
“Saints Row in a lots of ways has empowered minorities and empowered women, which I think is important to get across.”