The upcoming Saints Row reboot has been a little bit of an enigma because it was introduced in 2019. The sequence has traditionally been all the things from gritty crime drama to absurd sci-fi comedy and all the things in-between; even with all the developer diaries and trailers launched up to now, pinning down the reboot’s tone and focus has been tough.
So once I had the chance to sit down down with Volition UI Artist Danielle Benthien, I used to be as curious as anybody concerning the course the workforce determined to go. Is the franchise reboot going to be a story-driven character piece, just like the primary Saints Row? Will or not it’s a genre-bending thrill trip? Or is it one thing else solely? The reply to these questions, it seems, is sure. And extra.
“So you will have individuals who love that crime, that realness, that grittiness, the form of components of (Saints Row) 2, after which you will have that actually bombastic, bigger than life stuff in (Saints Row) 3 with the comedy, with the motion,” Danielle tells me. “And we (Volition) love each of these issues concerning the video games. And people are the issues that actually resonate with the followers”
Danielle describes Saints Row as a meld of grounded realness and over-the-top bombast. You watch a felony empire rise and unfold by means of the mud and grime of the American southwest, all whereas partaking within the motion film adventures of the glamorous Saints dwelling their rich-and-famous existence. “Not simply the artwork aspect, however (the) fight aspect, writing aspect, each form of creative ingredient, and put them into the center of the Southwest,” Danielle says.
Saints Row is ready within the fictional metropolis of Santo Ileso, which quantities to a mashup of the landscapes and cityscapes you’d see in Texas, Nevada, and Arizona. Santo Ileso stands in distinction to the closely industrialized cities of Steelport and Stillwater from the earlier video games within the sequence.
As Danielle places it, “Steelport and Stillwater are completely iconic, however when you look again at what the colour palette was, it’s nothing like Central L.A. You’ve acquired this lovely metropolis full of sunshine, vivacious murals, and neon lights that mild up within the evening.”
Throughout our hands-on demo, we observed quite a lot of teams inside Santo Ileso, every with their very own distinct model and swagger. Who’re they?
“You could have the Idols, who’ve very neon, rave, anarchy sort of issues going for them, like social media influencer form of stuff. Then you will have the Panteros, with the muscle vehicles — (a) extra Saints Row 2 model — the place they’ve brute power and care loads about your automotive, your trip, your group. After which you will have the Marshalls, (they’re extra) technological, not essentially a gang by identify, however a non-public army group. “
The variations are greater than superficial. The Marshalls, Danielle explains, use tech that you might want to determine methods to counter, whereas the Panteros are pure aggressive muscle, enemies who get in your face and pack a punch with large weapons. “And you then are available in there with no matter taste you wish to make the Saints and crush them underneath your heel.”
Danielle’s experience is UI — she’s the architect behind some of the necessary instruments at your disposal in Saints Row: your cellphone. In Saints Row, your cell gadget acts as a roaming hub of types, the place maps, missions, communications, and expertise converge. How do you translate all that performance into one thing that additionally feels usable?
“I feel the principle factor that issues is when we now have our cell telephones, we set them up in a approach that makes essentially the most sense to us. The apps we use essentially the most are all the time within the entrance, then belongings you won’t want as a lot are form of pushed to the wayside,” Danielle says. Maps are an instance. These are used consistently in Saints Row, so they’re entrance and middle. As you play the sport, extra apps are added, and extra options are supplied.
Cell telephones are additionally a few of our most private items of expertise. I requested Danielle how she dealt with that side. “The person expertise components of it, these all the time come first. Then from there, desirous to make it really feel not generic; The Boss has an enormous persona, however to make one thing that anyone can take a look at and say, ‘that is my boss as properly’ (is necessary).”
So what concerning the Saints themselves? They’re considerably distinctive with their iconic branding, that includes a emblem and colour that’s instantly identifiable. As Danielle places it, ”When it’s Saints ‘one thing,’ you may really feel it. Its spirit is inherently ‘Saints’. And I feel taking part in the sport, and seeing all of it come collectively over all of the years that we’ve developed it … possibly on the floor, to some, it won’t seem like it, however actually at its core, it truly is Saints Row.”
The sheer number of experiences supplied by the Saints Row franchise over time is exclusive and has appealed to many various tastes. Making an attempt to succeed in followers throughout every technology of the sequence is an formidable aim, but when Volition can pull it off, then the return of the Saints will actually be one thing to behold. Saints Row releases on August 23, 2022, for Ps, Xbox, PC, and Google Stadia.