Volition: Saints Row's 'juvenile' tone doesn't hurt sales

Senior producer says fans enjoy open-world franchise's irreverent tone, even if they may not admit it.

The "juvenile" tone of the Saints Row series does not hurt sales, but in fact is a component of the franchise's success. That's according to Volition producer Jim Boon, who told OXM that fans have spoken and they enjoy the series' irreverent nature.

"Ultimately, I don't think that Saints Row's tone gets in the way of bigger sales. If anything, I think our tone is an element of our success," Boon said. "Saints Row is quite unlike anything else out there, and I think gamers crave unique experiences--I know I do. We have a lot of passionate fans that love Saints Row, so I think we are striking the right chord."

Boon explained that past and present management have been pleased with the series tone, including that of this year's Saints Row IV, which features features a dub-step gun, aliens, and superpowers, among other new features. Boon said former THQ president Jason Rubin had no qualms with this approach and new owner Deep Silver never asked Volition to make any changes.

Boon explained that the Saints Row franchise is much like film series The Hangover, where people enjoy the humor, but would perhaps not be inclined to discuss the subject material with their parents.

"Based on the overall reception and sales of Saints Row: The Third, I strongly suspect many people enjoy this aspect of Saints Row, even if some may not want to admit feeling that way," Boon said. "Thinking of a movie series like The Hangover--people love the humor but you might not want to discuss some of the finer moments of those movies with your mom, for example."

"I think the same might be true for Saints Row," he added. "We do get an awful lot of feedback from fans telling us much they love our juvenile tone--with some asking us to go even further! Ultimately Saints Row IV doesn't try to take itself too seriously and we even have a lot of fun at our own expense."

Saints Row IV launches August 20 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. A Wii U version is not happening.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and is a big UCONN athletics fan.

Want the latest news about Saints Row IV?

Saints Row IV

Saints Row IV

Discussion

225 comments
Srg_Ducky
Srg_Ducky

One time shoe shine. Keep them coming. 

super_voltron
super_voltron

well duh lol just kiddin' . yeah its pretty much the selling point and whats wrong with a little harmless crud joke or two...thousand

00J
00J

Why would you even bother using the term juvenile and game in the same sentence... Is Saints Row going to help you get a job? Get you good grades in school? Have success in a relationship? It's just a freaking game, why this subject is even popping up is ridiculous. 

Just release the stupid games, if it's good and bugless fine, if the game isn't fun or has tons of bugs then there you go. Second guessing games has always been disastrous for a game company in the past... 

PaulJanson
PaulJanson

Saints Row is better than GTA? Why don't you just say "American Dad" is better than "The Sopranos". Smh fools lol

C4N4D14N_DR34M
C4N4D14N_DR34M

GTA games are getting boring for me, I will be picking up V but have a feeling I wont even finish the campaign

valdarez
valdarez

Whatever... bought collector's edition of SR3 and I don't even plan on buying SR4.  It was the great story + hyper-reality that made Saints Row great, not the stupidity / juvenality of the 3rd release which was by far the worst in the series.

nathangray
nathangray

I admit it. I thought SR3 was great. Still had some poignant moments of the previous games but had a much freer tone, and stopped taking itself so seriously. SR3 was a step in the right direction IMO, and I'm looking forward to SR4

Kingjames11
Kingjames11

Eh, no. SR3 was a step back for the franchise. Push the goofy humor too far and it just gets dumb.

exodiatheone
exodiatheone

Good thing I am saving up for both GTA and SR4

Sento_brean
Sento_brean

I love this franchise, it is hilarious, especially with how zany all the things you can do

Total_mischief
Total_mischief

It feels like gamers either liked SR1 and SR2 but not the third one, or disliked SR1 and SR2 but like this new direction. To me, SR1 just felt like a bad wanna-be GTA, I think I remember SR2 to be alright, but I barely remember the game. And I loved SR3.

TRIST4N
TRIST4N

In my opinion, SR1 was fantastic and SR2 was even better. It had a near-perfect mix of seriousness and silliness. One of my favourite games ever. However SR3 was a bit of a disappointment. It was too silly / over the top for my liking and while there were lots of improvements made, such as the controls when running around and shooting (i didn't enjoy driving in SR3, it felt too easy and the cars too similar to each other) and the graphics, the lack of things to do after you finish the missions ruined it for me

xeoneex66
xeoneex66

I liked the first 2 SR games, the 3rd was OK.  It wasn't extraordinary enough to stand out amongst the first 2, but there were things in the 3rd that I wish could have been in the second, or even first game.  Here is hoping they do tone down the "juvenile" part of the game enough so it's not cheesy.

Jacen22
Jacen22

This series was my favorite but it died as an intellectual property after SR2 with the release of the possibly worst sequel to a beloved franchise that is SR3. SR2 was the perfect blend, seriously well written story with a variety of distinct gangs and story arcs which also allowed you to tackle most missions as serious as you want to be or to totally go a goofy route for fun. SR3 forces you to be this annoying blockhead that spews out retarded one-liners and the whole "Look how CRAZY we are!! We go over the TOP!!" that just isn't what most series fans of SR were looking for.


Some will argue that if you want seriousness go to GTA, and that SR3 sold so well so it was a success. SR2 was different from GTA in that is gave gamers a valuable choice on how to play the game. Equal amounts goofy but able to get serious when the situation or story tone demands it. Also for the sales maybe people enjoyed the game but SR2 had alot to do with the pre-orders, SR3 was the only game I pre-ordered last year solely because of how epic SR2 was. I was left extremely disappointed primarily in the story, lack of distinct gangs and terrible dialogue. 


I don't know if it is the same people who made SR2 that was the show runners for SR3 and SR4 but right now I don't even care about SR4 after I saw the trailer, this series is dead to me.

schnarr
schnarr

I didn't know what to think about SR3 until the "What I Got" singalong. While other people notice how over the top the game itself was, from that point on I noticed the banter between characters itself was stellar and the characters themselves were often in disbelief of some of the events. It really grounded the game for me, and to be honest, I have no problem with absurdity in games, and some of the funniest games I have ever played have had tons of absurdity but otherwise are very serious (for instance, Fallout 2 and Full Throttle).

hadlee73
hadlee73

What they are over-looking is that you can have humour AND seriousness, without totally compromising on one or the other. They did it very well in Saints Row 2, but Saints Row the Third seemed like it was designed by 10 year olds sitting in a boardroom saying "oh! oh! oh! wouldn't it be cool if we..." (ie. it contained none of the epic "WTF just happened" serious moments of SR 2). Yes, SR 3 sold well, but are they even considering the increase in sales they might have got if they don't just concentrate on silliness?

burns112233
burns112233

GTA IV pissed me off.  I had to force myself to finish the game.  Saints Row 3 I had fun and I enjoyed the wackiness.  I'm glad that the creators of Saints Row went in that direction because there aren't a lot of games that are crazy like Saints Row 3.  It provides more variety for all gamers.  


I don't mind GTA IV being serious, but something about that game just bored me.  Hopefully GTA V steps up to the plate and delivers.  The same goes for Saints Row 4!

thekazumalord
thekazumalord

 I have both Saint's Row the Third and GTA4 and i honestly like Saints row 3 better because it's so ridiculous and fun. It doesn't take it's self too seriously and that's the best thing about it. Cant wait for the next saints game to see how much more bizarre it gets.


bouff
bouff

really looking forward to playing SR4. we need more games like this!

kpolicoff
kpolicoff

I was impressed with the DLC for SR3. The one where you had some weird powers was a ton of fun. I love that they're taking the next game in that direction. I might just have to pick this one up. Sure... the graphics aren't any better, but sometimes fun gameplay is more important than pretty pictures.

yearssomuch
yearssomuch

Saints Row has always been a GTA clone, so if anything the 'juvenile' tone gives it its own personality. In fact, that was probably the main reason I enjoyed SR3 so much. Keep getting ridiculous with these games, it's what makes them.

Dysantic
Dysantic

I'd still rather play SR3 over the last GTA. I'll most likely enjoy the next Saints Row more than the next GTA as well unless this new one really turns things around...

commando1992
commando1992

Better then making a more blatant GTA knockoff, if nothing else. If only the FPS industry could figure out that new and unique twists are what makes a game stand out. 

malec_1
malec_1

While the game is not for everyone, SR3 was one of the more fun games I've played in the last couple of years. The game never took itself seriously for one moment, and because of that they were able to create some of the most insane(ly fun) missions. The humor was definitely slapstick and caused as many groans as laughs. But for me at least, it was the missions that made the game great.

ROEG-GAMER
ROEG-GAMER

The new Saints Row coming out is gonna be fun. You get to be a Super Hero destroying Aliens in a open world environment that's awesome.    

ybene
ybene

do what you want, saints row iv, but please don't have quick time events! 

you know it kills me and you!

ZackRoyer
ZackRoyer

I Like it because this is everything a game need to be: FUNNY.

turnerdoc
turnerdoc

as i was reading comments, some say about saints going this way so not to be a gta clone.not the comment but the clone thing.we need more clones,i would love to have more than 3 gta games to play,(saints,gta,just cause).there is alot of sports games, rpg,shooters,horror, milatary we need more we havent had any gta style games since saints 3.like war z is a rip from day z, we need more i dont care who came first just make it good.thank god for gta5, 5 months away...anyone with a xbox.want a better day z game, check out...state of decay by undead labs,this game i hope the console copys the shit out of.

Timmy_Gwar
Timmy_Gwar

Not sales, just the industry in general. Interesting that your first concern is sales though, Mr. Immature.

ZDPhoenix
ZDPhoenix

@ddoggbritt16 Sure does, cousin!

Want to go bowling? How about darts?

Cousin! I know you're being chased by the law, but would you like to go to the comedy club?

Let's not compare apples and orange.

nathangray
nathangray

@PaulJanson Saints Row is better than GTA, and yes, American Dad is better than The Sopranos.

00J
00J

@nathangray 

Did it ever take itself seriously? In the first Saints Row, 50% of the game was amassing jewelry and clothing... 

strofe96
strofe96

I totaly agree with you! I love saint's row 3, it was just a fun game to play. :)

ABakedAlien
ABakedAlien

@Jacen22  I agree that I hated SR3. Although I never really liked SR2 that much but I remember it was okay. SR 1 was the best to me.

ddoggbritt16
ddoggbritt16

@awhite33 the original saints row was to compete with gta and that was its tone for 1 and 2 so in a way it is changing its tone


vihazur
vihazur

@hadlee73 Yeah, it sold well, but it doesn't have a following the way SR2 did.  It has some people who liked it, who will defend it, but not a lot of hardcore fans.  Ignoring their base like that hurts the entire IP in the long run.

Daian
Daian

@burns112233 Just Cause is ridiculous and crazy fun when it comes to open world action games.

ddoggbritt16
ddoggbritt16

@ROEG-GAMER thats not the way SR1 and SR2 were it seems like the developers of SR  are completly changing there tone i wouldnt mind it if it was a different series but saints row is a gangster game not a game where you are the president of the US fighting off aliens with super powers 

ROEG-GAMER
ROEG-GAMER

@turnerdoc  State of decay looks awesome thanks for the info, that game looks really exciting. The gameplay and graphics  looks really awesome, hopefully State of Decay will be everything War Z and Day Z tried to do and didn't do.

ddoggbritt16
ddoggbritt16

@ZDPhoenix @ddoggbritt16 but the first 3 games were you taking over the city against games that is like the next elder scrolls game being without powers and in the modern world,its not good for companies to change the way their games are


ZDPhoenix
ZDPhoenix

@ddoggbritt16 @ZDPhoenix Saints Row 1, sure. They even admit that in interviews. 

However, the franchise is so radically different from the gritty, harsh reality of GTA that it became it's own thing, with the vibrantly cartoonish SR2. 

It's an over the top open world, with zany crime sprees and dark humor. You wouldn't be able to describe GTA like that.

So again: Let's not compare apples and oranges.