Saints Row IV AMA Talks Grand Theft Auto V, Next-Gen, Multiplayer, Co-op, Australia, Movie, Dragons, Dildos, DLC, The Last of Us Crossover, More

The Reddit AMAs never stop as Scott Phillips, Design Director, and Jim Boone, Senior Producer, on Saints Row IV answered a whole bunch of question about their upcoming August release.

Just like with the AMA for The Last of Us (and (Ellen Page, Naughty Dog, Tim Schafer, Ted Price, Tomb Raider), we’ll present this in a Q&A format, with Scott Phillips and his answers up first:

What is something that you are really excited about in the upcoming game Saints Row IV that isn’t widely known?

I think there’s one more character reveal that may have been hinted at elsewhere but hasn’t been announced AFAIK that I’m excited about for sure. Something of a childhood hero for me.

Oh, also, one of the final final powers you get in the game that gets unlocked for purchase at the highest rank is a super power that I’ve fought hard to keep around as it’s so overpowering that everyone else hated it. But I know fans will love it. 🙂

Can we have a dildo bat in Saints Row IV?

You may be able to find something like this in the world of Saints Row IV. Yes…

Will we ever see split-screen co-op play?

Sadly probably not. I’ve heard over many years from our very smart programmers that the technical issues with streaming from a HD or disk the amount of data that our world needs to be able to be seamless (combined with MANY other reasons and design goals for the game being in conflict with it) just won’t make this a practical reality.

Even with next gen consoles it’s likely to turn into a graphics race and the game that looks much worse but does have split screen likely won’t be able to compete with the game that doesn’t have split screen and looks 100x better.

Now that you guys are with Deep Silver, can we expect more intense character moments, like in Saints Row 2?

While THQ was involved in the story of SR3 for sure they didn’t necessarily tell us to shy away from nor go towards ‘serious moments’. The decision to move away from things like Carlos’ death in SR3 was on purpose to try and make the tone of the game consistent and cohesive with the entire experience. We wanted a game that felt consistent between the over the top gameplay and an over the top story. We felt that was the best way to deliver on the things that players’ loved the most in the SR franchise. I totally get and have heard the comments such as this that some people missed the more serious elements of SR2 but we feel we that with the great success we had with SR3 that the majority of the fans have agreed with us.

Deep Silver has been very open and given us a ton of freedom so I think you can expect Volition to continue making the games that Volition is best at doing with great support from DS!

What game series/setting would you like to do a cross-over with?

The Last of Saints Row. Just give Joel super powers and a VTOL jet so he and Ellie can fly around the post-apoclyptic world and run that place like a boss. We’re already partially there since Troy Baker did both of the main characters.

But it would be an interesting mix since [TLOU] is a deadly serious game and Saints Row is basically the complete opposite – a crazy over the top player power fantasy.

Are we going to see any Behind The Scenes footage of the voice actors?

Yes. Yes I think so; somewhere.

Will Stoner Shaundi be in Saints Row IV longer than the cut scene she appeared in?

 Yes. “Old” Shaundi is quite interactive in Saints Row IV.

Would you rather fight a hundred duck-sized Gats, or one horse-sized Gat?

Why would I fight Gat? He’s my buddy!!!

You do get to fight a giant hundreds of feet tall can of Saints Flow in Saints Row IV though… Plus you fight lots of regular sized cans too.. Man you guys are gonna love that mission. 🙂

If THQ hadn’t dropped the Red Faction series, would you have considered making another one?

Red Faction the IP is owned by someone else now, so Volition won’t be involved in any potential future RF games.

What was the thought process on the transition from saints row 2 to 3? When did the idea of craziness click for you guys?

We spent alot of time focusing on what does ‘over the top’ mean for Saints Row at the beginning of Saints Row: The Third. We got the design group together multiple times for mega-meetings and condensed it down into two primary things. 1. a ‘mantra’ that should guide the design process – “embrace the crazy/fun trumps all” 2. a tone video which conveyed the feeling of what it would be like to play Saints Row: The Third.

Those two things (And several others) really helped gel what we wanted to make. For me I think the craziness clicked with the team once we started showing in progress missions like skydiving and when the dildo bat got created I think people then understood what we were trying to make.

What was your reasoning behind moving in a more comical direction with the series in times of blockbuster games being extreamly dramatic?

Mainly we moved in the direction we did with SR2 because it was the game we wanted to make. We enjoyed the craziness of the over the top open world and so we wanted to continue down that path.

There wasn’t an intentional push towards less serious until Saints Row: The Third when we purposefully set out to build on top of the great success we had with SR2 finding it’s own niche as a sort of counter-point to alot of the overly serious and ‘downer’ games that were coming out. We wanted the game to be FUN first and foremost and we did everything we could to focus on that.

Dramatic games are great and I love them, but I can’t play them all the time… I need a break sometimes and I think Saints Row has provided that break from the norm that lots of players’ have been looking for.

How do you think the next generation of console hardware will influence your current and future game and audio engines?

Lots of improvements and scale factor upgrades are the primary changes. So everything will look and sound and feel better primarily.

I’m interested in how mobile and online will change going forward as the new consoles and the business as a whole are moving more towards consistent engagement with players to keep them coming back. So I’m excited to see where that goes.

What are your views and opinions on the Grand Theft Auto franchise, do you guys ever play the games?

I’ve played every GTA (on the consoles) since GTA3. They do some amazing things and I can’t wait for GTA 5. My favorite, for reference, is still Vice City. However, Saints Row and Saints Row IV specifically are very different games than GTA and serve a very different need/niche for gamers. I don’t think we need to live in a world where only one open world game exists and I think if you saw anything from E3 this year it was that open world games are the future.

I personally think you’d have to be crazy to make open world games and claim you haven’t played GTA… I’m of the opinion that if you are going to do something and do it right, you’d better learn how everyone else who came before you did it and then try to do it better and improve on things.

I’m always fond of examples like: Apple didn’t come up with the first smartphone, mobile mp3 device, nor tablet. Microsoft didn’t come up with the first operating system. But both of them did do those things better than anyone else had done them before.

I think this philosophy holds true in games as well.

How far away are we from having a Saints Row game with GeoMod technology?

Not very likely… Some visual destruction, sure, but full geomod like RF games? Probably not. Too technically demanding and puts too many restrictions on design possibilities.

Does the game aim to be fun through free roaming, missions, or both?

We would like players’ to enjoy 100% of their time in the game. On SRIV we spent alot more time working on open world gameplay to make sure that all of the time you weren’t advancing the story was engaging and just as awesome as the key missions. So with SRIV you’ll notice that there’s alot more for you to do in the open world and just alot more ways to engage with the game than were found in SR3.

Are the upgrades from SR3 making a return in SR4? Does the dubstep gun play multiple songs?

Yes! Many of the upgrades from SR3 are making a return along with lots of new ones and lots of super power upgrades. Also, yes, the dubstep gun will indeed have multiple songs available and multiple skin visual variants you can carry around. We hope to be able to offer more sometime down the road too, if the technical side works out!

What’s next for Volition?

Can’t really comment on what’s next for Volition or Saints Row – we’re still figuring it out.

Why haven’t you brought back Saints Row 1 multiplayer game types like Blinged Out Ride and Big Ass Chains?

We would love to do MP, the problem is that we want to focus our resources because we don’t have the 400-1000 person teams that other studios do so we can’t do every feature that we want and need to selectively choose what we make in order to ‘do it right’.

We also wanted to focus on co-op because we felt that provided a more broadly available experience for more players.

We’ll see what the future holds for MP!

I would love a Hispanic accented voice:

Picking the player voices is INCREDIBLY tough. They cost a ton of money to get the number we have and we really need to make hard choices. Consider how much our player says (tens of thousands of lines) and then consider that we have 7 of them… That’s costly and something that few other people do.

Have you had any plans on making an exact Saint’s Row movie like in the Third?

THQ considered it for awhile but it never really went anywhere. That was during the period where a Red Faction movie was made by SyFy.

I always sort of wondered what that would’ve looked like… Probably very similar to the Fast and the Furious movies honestly.

[You that was all? Nope! Head over to page 2 for all of Jim’s answers]

Are you buying Saints Row IV? Let us know in the comments below.