Next Saints Row Won’t Have Red Faction-Style Destruction

Next Saints Row Won’t Have Red Faction-Style Destruction

saints-row-guerrillaThose hoping for a fully destructable city in the next Saints Row are out of luck. Developer Volition explains why.

For our Question Time feature, Kotaku reader Ryno asked Volition’s Sean Kennedy about the prospect of Red Faction: Guerrilla’s destruction technology making an appearance in the next Saints Row title. Kennedy says it won’t happen for a long time:

“The hardware is just not there to allow for a world of that density and size, with all that is expected to be going on in, say, a Stilwater and have it be fully destructible in the way Red Faction: Guerrilla is. There is also a balancing act between destruction, time, quality, and other things that just would prevent that from happen. So, it’s not even just a hardware issue but a lot more.”

Kennedy also spoke (addressing a question from Kotaku reader tomnookisdead) of the sheer technical challenge Volition faced implementing the destruction tech in RF:G, and how far ahead of the competition it really is:

“I would love to see it not make its way into mainstream games for a long time. Fortunately with what we have made it should be a long time until you see other developers hit the same level of destruction and type of destruction we created for RF:G.

“The tech was in development since 2004, and it was a long, uphill battle. Several times we all together to admit that we had run out of ideas for getting destruction to be fast enough, and then a miracle would occur—some new optimization that doubled the frame rate—and we’d continue on.

“Designers had to change their mindsets. It’s not possible to control the player, to micro-manage him. They learned to build scenarios for the player, but not to worry too much about what the player would do, because the player could do all sorts of crazy things, like driving a truck off a cliff and crashing it through the roof. The rule was ‘respect the player’s freedom’.”

While I loved the destruction in Red Faction: Guerrilla, it really seemed to suit the anonymity of its Mars setting. In a “real world” environment like a Saints Row or GTA, where the city itself is as much of a character as the human cast, it’s difficult to envisage how you could let the player destroy it all without, well… breaking the game at the same time.

What do you think? How would you approach designing a Saints Row 3 that used Red Faction: Guerrilla’s destruction tech?


  • It couldn’t work. I mean, the AI in Saints Row (or any sandbox game, really) is too simplistic. I mean, I can drive around like a maniac and people will jump out of the way, but then they just pick themselves up and saunter off as if nothing happened. Or I can start a killing spree, and a few people will run away, but more people will just wander over and then act all suprised that I shoot them – don’t they notice all those other people running away?

    So, I think, already the AI is simplistic and only just barely believable. Imagine if I could blow up sky scrapers in the game? In the real world, that would be worldwide front-page news! But unless they seriously upped the AI in the game, people would just saunter off without a care in the world…

    • And that would be an issue because?
      GTA (or any other open world game) could implement AI that ‘remembers’, the only technical hurdle is keeping track of that persistent data.
      The real reason people ‘forget’ when you commit crime is purely one of design.

  • why would you care about generic meatbags?

    anyway, in SR3 each gang would have HQs/bases/fortresses/etc and basically you can just make them have sections that grant different bonuses. Like a wall provides extra def, weapons room would give +attack power, a drug lab would provide income, that sort of thing. The player would be able to destroy any of these rooms/sections to cripple and control. once the area has been taken over, its up to the player if he/she wants to rebuild those sections. thus players could customize their bases to their liking. for uniques, the samedi could have factory grade productions, the brotherhood armored vehicles, that sort of thing.

  • Pity, but i hope eventually destructible terrain becomes a “given” much like physics are today.

    implementation wise, stilwater is not mars, and its not the future. buildings are tougher, much tougher. your basic apartment block is tougher than most buildings in RF:G. also some c4 or a rocket launcher are about as advanced as your tools of destruction get, no disintegration rays, no black hole bombs and no space hammers. finally destruction on that scale would bring the cops down, hard.

    bottom line buildings take more to destroy with less weapons to destroy them with, even an small office building would take a tanker with C4 and would maybe take out the ground floor and some of the 1st floor based on RF:G physics. and destruction half that size should bring down SWAT squads at a minimum, like an automatic 3-4star rating.

    also space might not have insurance but we do, destruction is not necessarily permanent and buildings could be repaired over a period of time.

  • As much fun as smashing stuff in Red Faction is I don’t think it’d really fit in with Saints Row. I’d much rather them focus on adding new items, vehicle types, side-missions, etc than making it so I could level large structures with realistic physics.
    Saints Row 2 had destruction pretty much right. They had a few too many indestructible road blocks (short fences and junk like that) but they did a good job of keeping them out of your way.

    That said, being able to do more damage to structures would be nice. Even if I couldn’t destroy the police station it’d be fun to just smash it up and watch the different stages of repair progress over a few in-game days.
    Throwing molotov cocktails into buildings and having them go up in flames would be awesome. It wouldn’t require you to actually be able to go inside, just break the windows/doors and throw firebombs, grenades, etc inside so its a lot more practical than Red Faction physics.
    I can just imagine people fleeing from the exists of a building as my ridiculously dressed purple cowboy Playa throws grenades through the windows. Good times. =P

  • I cant see why Volition shouldn’t add geomod to SR3. I dont expect to be taking down skyscrapers or anything, but being able to blow a hole in a wall to take out an enemy on an indoor raid, or slamming a semi trailer into a brick wall of a bank to make an entrance way using geomod tech should be entirely possible. I say put it in.

  • I need to read more about geomod. Is it possible to set both destructable and indestuctible buildings in the same environment? Perhaps itd be cool to see missions where you have to take out certain buildings or blow holes in certain walls. Then you can structure the AI to react to that? Ehh just rambling at this point… I would like to see destruction implemented to some extent.

  • i would love too see destruction like this or at least see a red faction 5 where you get free roam again and a more earth adapted econemy like 10 story buildings that are difficult but not impossibal too destroy.

  • i personly wish they put in destruction i dont expect to drop 80 story buildings but like say mabey 10 story buildings at the largest then make a cheat where AI riot with rocket launchers rifles and gernades mass cahos that would be good times massive killing spprees while tanks fire big gaping holes into buildings and when your in the sky see the blazing city fall apart in AWE. but this is just a dream mabey some day but not today

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