Video Games: Saints Row IV

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Summer is a tough time in a lot of industries. Every rapper wants to have the best album out so they can hold down the summer. Every team wants to make the right offseason moves. And every game industry is doubling down and getting ready for big releases they’re planning on dropping later in the year. One team that isn’t sweating? Volition, makers of the Saints Row series of games. 
 

If you haven’t played Saints Row the Third, you might remember Saints Row as a kind of more thugged out GTA clone. The special edition of the second game even came with a bullet shell USB key as a bonus. But the team at Volition have went in almost totally a different direction, when the released Saints Row the Third.  

 

It’s hard to beat GTA at their own game, you know? They’ve got the lifestyle-of-crime video game archetype locked down. But a lot of fans noticed that the game’s trademark sense of humour started to fade somewhere along the road. One team that noticed was the guys and girls at Volition who made SR: III an ultraviolent, over the top, comedy action game. At one point you use a dildo attached to a baseball bat as a weapon. You get achievements for streaking. There is a button combination that is specifically for punching opponents in the crotch.

 

It’s the NBA Jam of open world third person shooters. And people loved it. The game sold 4 million copies, a franchise record, and is still selling. Volition already started drawing up plans for a bigger, more ridiculous sequel.

Unfortunately, the publishers, THQ went bankrupt earlier this year, and Volition eventually found a new publisher in German company Deep Silver. The new game’s scaled down in terms of tech, but Deep Silver is pretty much content to let Volition make this game as crazy as they like.

 

The trailers for the game show that the player is now playing as President of the United States. Also the player-President has super powers. Also you have to fight an alien invasion. So as crazy as Volition likes, looks pretty crazy. The first trailer dropped back in March and showed Volition’s trademark sense of humour, and gameplay that’s pretty consistent with what we saw in SR: III.

In fact, it’s so similar, a lot of tech bloggers have speculated that the engine used for SR: IV, is effectively the same one that we saw two years ago when SR: III was first released. Some people have guessed that due to THQ’s bankruptcy, what we’re seeing being released as a full game, may have originally been planned as part of an expansion for SR: III. When THQ went under, Volition may have been forced to scrap bigger plans, and scale back releasing this expansion, as a full sequel.

Regardless of the why, Saints Row IV looks to be one of the big ticket launches this summer, and could be one of the biggest games of the year – at least until GTA V drops in September.

Saints Row IV is due for release on August 20th, for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

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