Saints Row was originally made by the team at Volition in order to be a kind of GTA Clone that no one had dared attempt before at the time. Today, there are plenty of clones inspired by the classic franchise, but this one took things in a different direction. Saints Row was more about the Street Gang life and the clashes between rival groups. This was punctuated as a whole by the third installment which was so fun and insane that it got Game of the Year nominations. Even with a fourth mainline title released, many felt that the franchise might have peaked, and that’s why a reboot was released not too long ago.
The reboot would focus on a new group that would call themselves the Saints in the Southwestern city of San Ileso and showcase their rise to power. In theory, this wasn’t a bad idea at all. After all, many franchises have gone back to their roots or to certain parts of their timeline that were very popular. Just look at Call of Duty Modern Warfare for proof of that.
The problem with the Saints Row reboot, however, is that in the eyes of many fans and critics, it wasn’t the same as before. Not just in terms of the wackiness that the games boasted a lot of in the third and fourth mainline entries, but the flair, the style, and the characters that we met. Part of the fun of the original games was the over-the-top and totally epic members of the Saints like Johnny Gat, Kenzie Kenzington, Shaundi, Pierce, and so on.
While the new crew was definitely unique, many felt they didn’t make an impact like the OG Saints. It also didn’t help that the game was a buggy mess with many things not working like they should, including key gameplay and mission features.
Hence, in an investor meeting, Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors noted that he does think the reboot will still make money, but he also admits the views of it weren’t what he hoped.
“Personally I had hoped for a greater reception of the game. It’s been a very polarized view.”
While he wouldn’t commit to another title in the franchise right at that moment, he did state that he had a lot of faith in the team behind the game and that he felt that money would be made on the title and that they would improve on things from there.
At present, things are a bit tense in the Saints Row camp. Perhaps with the reaction they got, if they are able to make another game, they’ll go and take things to eleven like they did before. We’ll have to wait and see.