At E3 this year Gillen McAllister caught up with Saint Row IV's design director, Scott Phillips, to find out what's in store for gamers who revisit Steelport in the whacky open-world action game from Volition.
Saints Row: The Third was crazy (to put it mildly). We asked Phillips how the studio were planning on building on that in the next game in the series: "I remember telling people: "I don't know how we're going to top this. We've got a mission on Mars, we've got a heli-carrier, we've got zombies. Where do we go from here?" But everybody took a vacation, we came back, started fresh, and very quickly we came up with: "Well we've got to have... let's do superpowers. It's something we've always been talking about. Wouldn't it be great to run as fast as a car, or jump over a building, or be able to pick up somebody with your mind and throw them across the city.""
"Things started snowballing from there," he continued. "You know fighting aliens came out of that because we needed an enemy that properly fights you, and then being the President felt like the next logical step from being a celebrity. So it all sort of came together. We definitely have a mentality of like: "Alright, we did that last time. We've got to that, plus one. We've got to do better than that this time."
Is this the end of the Saints Row series as it currently stands? The design director revealed that the series may continue, but this particular strand was concluding in the incoming game: "We're definitely considering Saints Row IV sort of the end of that saga of this character and the Saints as they are. So if there's any more future Saints Rows - which you know we always hope there will be, we hope there's fans for future games like that - they will probably continue in a different direction."
We also wanted to know more about the tech that is powering the new game: "On Saints Row: The Third we rebuilt the entire engine, and so that cost us a lot of time. So we couldn't put as much into the game as we wanted to. So with IV what we've really brought is like: "alright, systems are staying the same. We're going to make improvements, but we're going to add a ton of content.""
"So we've got a lot more content," he explained. "Adding the superpowers was a huge element. So it's all about gameplay. It's all about adding more stuff for the player to do, rather than just spending time on the tech, we wanted it to be in there, in your hands. Everything is more fun, and there's more of it."
Watch the interview more details on how the superpowers will be implemented in the game, and what it's been like working with Deep Silver since former owners THQ went bankrupt and the studio was auctioned off.
You can also read our recent preview of Saints Row IV right here, in preparation for the launch of the game which is pegged for August 23.