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Preview: How Volition Created a Saints Row for the side-hustle generation

Enlarge / When all you have is a sledgehammer, everything looks like a sledgenail.

In the late aughts and early 2010s, the Saints Row series offered gamers an even more over-the-top take on the open-world third-person action-adventure genre dominated by Grand Theft Auto. This zany approach reached its apex with 2013’s Saints Row IV, in which the player took the role of the president of the United States (who also happened to be a superhero).

Aside from a standalone expansion released in 2015, the Saints have been quiet for nearly a decade since then. But that’s about to change with a “reimagined” Saints Row due out in August.

And a lot can change in a decade, as the developers at Volition are well aware—parent company THQ declared bankruptcy during the development of Saints Row IV, and Volition was acquired by Deep Silver in 2013. Despite the tumultuous events of the last few years, though, Saints Row remains a core part of Volition’s DNA, according to Creative Director Brian Traficante. “Saints Row has been such a major contributor to Volition,” he told me during an interview at a Las Vegas preview event last week.

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