Volition Software has released a new developer diary talking about their passion and love for Saints Row IV, the latest game in the long running open-world franchise that has actually managed to stand toe-to-toe with Grand Theft Auto and not be swallowed up by the visceral amalgamation of its marketing and brand prowess.
When you actually think about what they're talking about in this video it's somewhat significant. The open-world genre is ripe with competitors that come and go like a group of year-long gone sailors to and from Paris Hilton's hotel room; some stay longer than others but most check out sooner or later.
Rockstar is a mainstay; a pimp among peddlers of a hustler grade. Volition wants to certify their standing as a player beyond the peddlers and Saints Row IV kind of sounds like the game that could make or break their certification into legitimacy. The reason for this is that the game has taken on an extremely bizarre personality, one so far removed from the likes of anything else on the market that – as is said in the dev diary – they're trying their darndest not to completely alienate their core audience.
I don't know how well they'll be able to maintain that stave of alienation because, already, as a I fan I do feel alienated compared to what Saints Row and Saints Row 2 accomplished. I beat Saints Row: The Third once and never looked back. The real question is if there's enough heart and humanity to the characters to make us actually care about the story progression, and if there's enough meat around the bone so that those of us who don't care about the story can at least enjoy the side attractions?
Volition doesn't talk much about replayability in the video, which is kind of scary given that Saints Row: The Third suffered most from a lack of replayability; there just wasn't much to do once you finished the main game. Unfortunately Sleeping Dogs and the Godfather games suffered from the same problems as well. Avalanche actually remedied this conundrum in Just Cause 2 with “Chaos” and enough side missions and extraneous activity that you'll be playing that game up until a coffin is prepared and your dusty bones are dragging you long to jump into the grave.
While the graphics are still common place and the story is completely outrageous (along with all the wacky weapons), I'm hoping that Volition has managed to keep the fun-factors intact without completely going overboard with the DLC. I guess we'll see once the game launches later this month for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Also, huge props to creative director Steve Jaros for sporting that Samoa Joe t-shirt... TNA could use all the free marketing they can get.
You can learn more about Saints Row IV by paying a visit to the official website.