The announcement of a new Saints Row game at the Game Awards last year came as something of a surprise. The franchise had been dormant since the end of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 era, and had grown increasingly absurd in its comedic leanings. Despite debuting as a ground-level GTA clone, Saints Row finished out with a game that stretched the bounds of credulity. The Saints, elevated to the White House, were trapped inside a Matrix-esque computer simulation created by a warlike alien race. Inside the simulation, the Saints adopted Crackdown-style superpowers and used them to manipulate the program to their own ends.
Yeah. It got weird.
And so, a decade on, Saints Row stands poised for a 2022 reboot that gets back to the ground-level vibe of the original. Here’s everything we know about the new game.
This piece originally ran on Kotaku Australia on May 7, 2022. It has been retimed as a weekend read.
Release Date and Platforms
Saints Row is currently slated for release on August 23, 2022. Though the game has been delayed once already, we don’t foresee any major interruptions before its new launch date. Saints Row will launch on PlayStation 5 and Playstation 4 platforms, Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One platforms, and Windows PC via the Epic Games Store.
On May 6, the Australian Classification Board awarded the game an MA15+ rating, citing Strong Impact Themes, Violence, Language and Sex, with Moderate Impact Drugs and Nudity. If you’ve played a Saints Row game before, that should all sound fairly par for the course to be honest.
The developer of Saints Row is series creator Volition. The game will be produced by Volition’s parent company Deep Silver. It will be the Volition’s first game since Agents of Chaos, another Crackdown-style open-worlder. Deep Silver acquired the studio in 2013, along with the Saints Row and Red Faction IP.
Saints Row is set in Santo Ileso, a fictional city in an approximation of Southern California. The city has become rife with crime. As numerous gangs carve the city up and clash over borders, a group of young upstarts decides they want in. Their goal is to become the dominant criminal power in Santa Ileso, and the latest residents of Saints Row won’t stop until they are Self Made.
Santo Ileso is clearly based on Southern California cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. Beyond the central business districts and suburbs, Saints Row surrounds its city with deserts and nearby mountain ranges and appears to give players a few different places to explore beyond the city limits. However, our expectation is that you’ll be in Santo Ileso for the vast majority of the game.
As you may have noticed, Saints Row takes a slightly more grounded approach than certain previous entries in the series. That’s not to suggest that this is a dark and gritty Saints Row reboot, far from it. It seems like there’s still plenty of character and humour on display. You won’t, however, find yourself defusing a nuclear rocket in flight while Aerosmith’s I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing blasts in the background, only to be made the President of the United States for your heroic actions. For now, it seems, Saints Row‘s days of extremely on-the-nose satire are behind it.
Instead, this new Saints Row reboot will take the series back to something more akin to the 2006 original. Silly, irreverant, but still grounded in the idea that the Saints are a street-level gang carving out a name and identity for themselves.
The first thing you’ll probably think of when considering Saints Row is shooting. One of the series’ defining aspects was its wide array of weaponry, and this new game wants more of the same. What we’ve seen so far shows an arsenal of old favourites. Machine guns. Shotguns. Rocket launchers. All the classics, and a bit of dual-wielding too, by the looks. We’ll be very interested to see how the combat shakes out, but the gameplay trailer above makes it clear the game will be regularly throwing some pretty intense gunfight scenarios at the player.
Vehicles are the next most common item in a game like Saints Row, and it seems like there’s a lot going on with them here. We’ve seen glimpses of many different vehicles in the game already, from basic sedans and hatches to monster trucks, police cars, golf carts, helicopters and even jets.
Character upgrades also have a part to play, from your highly customisable character model and costumes, to combat moves and upgrades. Seriously, watch that trailer above and tell me the wingsuit doesn’t look super fun. The character creator is also pretty deep. Players now have the power to create some truly bizarre characters, without the game stepping in to pump the brakes. It’s deep enough that one of the devs was able to successfully create their own Shrek (among many other NSFW creations).