Saints Row 2 officially canonized

THQ confirms thugged-out sequel will arrive on 360, PS3 in '08 with online campaign co-op.

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When THQ CFO Edward Zinser projected the company's first-quarter financials in May, he stated that revenues would be down, and the PlayStation 3 port of the 2006 Xbox 360 hit Saints Row had been canceled. In lieu of a PS3 version of the original, THQ CEO Brian Farrell noted that Saints Row creator Volition had shifted its full focus to developing the game's sequel for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, to release simultaneously next year.

Today, THQ officially confirmed that Saints Row 2--now its official title--would be coming to the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2008. The publisher also revealed some details on how the protégé will attempt to differentiate itself from its inspiration, the Grand Theft Auto series. The distinction might be necessary, given that Grand Theft Auto IV's delay to Spring 2008 might pit it against Saints Row 2.

Saints Row 2 will return to an expanded version of Stilwater, the crime-plagued metropolis that was the original's locale. However, Volition lead producer Greg Donovan said the game will have a heavier tone than its predecessor. "Saints Row 2 has a much darker and more sinister story that leads your character down a path of betrayal, revenge, and redemption against the city that has left him for dead, although we've blended that with the same light-hearted humor from the original," he promised.

Saints Row 2 will also offer a number of new features. Previously mission-based, online two-player co-op will now be extended to the full campaign mode, which will let two virtual gangsters play through the entire story together. SR2 will also include a somewhat mysterious "open-world competitive multiplayer mode never before seen in the genre." And as is standard for a sequel, Volition has expanded on many features of the original, including new character-customization options and added vehicles, such as motorcycles, boats, helicopters, and planes.

THQ also launched the game's official Web site today. Saints Row 2 has not yet been rated or priced.

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