The upcoming Saints Row video game from Volition is a reboot with a new cast and setting, which is something that's been known since the initial reveal. However, not everyone has been a fan of this fact and the announcement was met with some not-insignificant backlash. As part of a recent interview, Volition developers Kenzie Lindgren, associate UX designer, and Damien Allen, principal designer, offered a response to the backlash, explaining that Saints Row is still very much itself.
"It definitely still feels like Saints Row – even if it's not the same characters, even if it's not the same setting, even if it's not exactly the same as before – it feels like Saints Row," Lindgren told Eurogamer in the aforementioned interview. "I feel that every single time I go into the game, whether that's just customization (because customization is a huge part of it), whether that's traveling around the city, whether that's wing suiting and doing the missions, it feels like Saints Row. And I think that's at least worth checking out if you're an older player, but also for a newer player to discover that feeling for the first time."
"I really think that the feel of the Saints Row franchise is alive and well," said Allen in the same interview. "If you are a veteran, if you've played through one or all four of the previous games, there's going to be something for you to enjoy, [be that] the traversal mechanics, the new things we've added or a world that is more vibrant and unique than anything we've ever had in the past."
Based on our own recent hands-off preview of Saints Row, it's hard to say exactly how the video game plays but it's incredibly clear that it shares all of the important DNA of previous Saints Row titles. If the overarching elements of Saints Row as a franchise are criminal enterprises conducted in wacky ways and extreme amounts of customization, it certainly seems to have both thoroughly implanted within it.
"I think there was always a part of me and maybe even some other people in the studio that always knew it was going to be a little rough at first, because the [old] Saints are not coming back... I think that was always going to be something that was kind of contentious," added Lindgren in the same Eurogamer interview. "It is a little bit frustrating to see [initial reactions] when you know what you're making, and when we're not quite ready to reveal everything. And that can be something that is a lot to go through."
The new Saints Row is set to release for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Games Store on August 23rd. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the Saints Row franchise right here.
Have you been keeping up with news of the new Saints Row video game? What do you make of the backlash to the new title? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop in order to talk about all things gaming!