Back in 2001, Rockstar Games introduced Grand Theft Auto III for the Playstation 2. This game is widely considered one of the best games to come out that generation. Grand Theft Auto III is considered an open world/sandbox game action adventure game that changed the scope of how games are made now, with the ability to choose what you want, when you want. At the time of its release, there was nothing else like it on the console market, and because of this, many other developer companies started to copy what Rockstar Games started. From The Simpsons: Hit and Run, Crackdown, and Saints Row, many companies followed suit, but could never replicate the same success that Rockstar had with its Grand Theft Auto series – that is, until Volition, the creators of Saints Row, decided to try something different.
Saints Row and Saints Row 2
Saints Row is an open world action-adventure game created by Volition, and was released on the Xbox 360 in 2006. The game follows essentially the same gameplay that you would have seen in Grand Theft Auto. You are able to fully customize your character and roam around the world of Stilwater, choosing when and where you complete your mission(s). You are able to steal cars, swim, and destroy anything you like, pretty much whenever you like, during the game. If you start to cause too much crime, a notoriety bar would come up and the police force would come after you. There is also another bar for the notoriety of gang violence as well. Due to the fact that you are in a gang, facing off against other gang members, you must complete tasks in order for you to take over their territory. Saints Row 2 essentially followed the same story and setup, with improvements in gameplay, multiplayer, and graphics. Both Saints Row 1 and 2 both had good reception and sales, prompting Volition to continue the franchise.
Saints Row: The Third
After the first two Saints Row games saw decent success, they started working on the third installation of the series. Volition came to the conclusion that they wanted to stick to the same type of gameplay, but everything had to be over the top so that they could distinguish themselves from the games that they tried to copy. One of the very first things that they created for this game is its signature “dildo bat” that was originally only supposed to be in one mission; however, they ran with the idea, and decided to infuse crazy ideas like that throughout the whole game. The game does stick to the “normals”, per se, such as the pistols, sub-machine guns, and the shotguns, but then you get weapons such as the fart-in-a-jar grenade, purple dildo bat, and a pixelated tank that turns other tanks into pixels. While gameplay might feel the same as the Grand Theft Autos, they story and action is much more than that. Making sure to make fun of itself and making sure that anything you do over the top, this is not just a Grand Theft Auto clone – it is something completely different. Again the reviewers praised Volition for doing something different, and no longer sticking to the norm of the open world video game genre, calling the game “zany”, and “ridiculous”. It’s a good thing that that was what Volition was going for.
Saints Row IV
We all knew that a Saints Row IV was coming; we just didn’t know what type of direction that the game was going to take. Would they go back to what got them this far, or would they be able to take the game even further than what they did with Saints Row: The Third? Thankfully, we found out that they were trying to make this game even crazier than the third one ever was, and they were able to succeed in doing so: making you the President of the United States, and what’s more, a president that has superpowers. From running as fast as the Flash, and able to jump over buildings like Superman, along with the return of the dildo bat and some new weapons such as the dub-step gun, they tried to make this the most out-of-control game that you would see on consoles. The game was so out-of-control that the original game was refused by Australia. However, not to be outdone, Volition used this classification as promotion by saying the Saints Row IV is “the game that Australia doesn’t want you to play”.
Originally when Saints Row came out, they wanted to copy what made the franchise so successful, and because of this they were able to make a game that they were proud of, but not one that was original. Since the original games came out, the company was able to move forward and create something special, and something so different that is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.