How John Wick Influenced the Saints Row Reboot

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Saints Row is making a comeback. The over the top open-world series is getting a reboot for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC (via Epic Games Store rather than Steam, though if Metro Exodus was any indication it should hit Steam roughly a year after launch). The Saints Row reboot is pegged for a February 25, 2022 release date.

In a virtual press event prior to the game’s big Gamescom 2021 reveal, developer Deep Silver Volition explained that this version of Saints Row would feature cross-generation and cross-platform co-operative play that’s fully untethered complete with all the drop-in and drop-out features you’d expect.

Furthermore, the game has its fair share of Hollywood inspirations. Director Jim Boone said its combat system was influenced by the John Wick movies while driving was inspired by Baby Driver. Even 2019 buddy cop flick Hobbs and Shaw served to develop this Saints Row game’s over the top “flavour”.

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Why Reboot Saints Row?

With the standalone Saints Row 4 expansion Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell having you take on the forces of Satan, and Saints Row 4 itself going to space, the team at Volition felt that it would be the right time to dial things back a bit with a more grounded reinterpretation of the series.

While this may be the case, the gameplay footage we saw suggests that its trademark humour and wacky gunplay will be back albeit with a next-gen sheen courtesy of the game being made on a brand-new engine.

Saints Row Reboot Story

The Saints Row Reboot is set in Santo Ileso, a fictional city in the American Southwest. It’s a land rife with crime and lawless factions. You’ll create your own character or boss as the series calls it and embark on your own criminal venture to be self made.

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While this may sound similar to past games, Volition has taken attempts to finesse its presentation with jokes about student debt and capitalism aplenty. The game’s press release claims that “Saints Row is the story of a start-up company, it’s just that the business The Saints are in happens to be crime.”

Aside from your own faction, known as The Saints, the game will feature three other factions — Los Panteros, The Idols, and Marshall as you build your empire across Santo Ileso and battle for control of the city.

Saints Row Reboot Gameplay

Some familiar missions are making a return with Deep Silver Volition confirming that fan favourite Insurance Fraud — which lets you put yourself in harm’s way will be in the game. That said, there are some new additions too. For instance you’ll be able to prank your friends in co-op — a first for the series.

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In addition to this, the developers stressed how Saints Row’s criminal venture system would result in a different world state for each player. Reason being, it gives you the flexibility to put what you want, where you want. So if you want to build a toxic dump in Santo Ileso’s finance district, you can and when your friend joins your game, they’ll be treated to a rendition of the city that has just that, among any other changes you see fit. Structures you build will unlock new gameplay too, Volition claimed.

Progression has been tweaked as well. Although Deep Silver Volition has opted for the typical mix of EXP, skills, perks, and level ups, the way these work have been “remixed to feel different” it said. Gameplay has been modified too, with the aim to make guns feel “precise with an arcade-y feel”.

While the team waxed eloquent on keeping gameplay accessible it did hint that some weapons associated with the franchise like the Dubstep Gun may not be making a return. Crazy weapons will be present though some have been resigned to the “museum” the developers said. One divisive feature that’s not making the cut is cruise control.

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All in all, our initial preview of the Saints Row reboot seems promising if a bit formulaic. It’ll be interesting to see how Deep Silver bring out the more original aspects of the game in future showings. As it stands though, this is one of 2022’s releases that we’re going to pay close attention to.


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