Though it has gone toe to toe with the likes of Grand Theft Auto, the open-world gang-related series of games by Volition has stayed true to its roots while always offering an over-the-top experience that can't quite be replicated. Saints Row has never made itself about being better than Rockstar's classic, it's always been about going the extra mile in chaotic storytelling. Witnessed full force in Saints Row IV, wherein the main protagonist not only is president and has supernatural abilities, he/she must also save the planet from an alien invasion, there's not a single storyline too far-out for the series to manage. But, where is the saga's future headed and, more importantly, what exactly will the upcoming game in development look like?
Let's See The Inside Of Some Buildings... Please?
Most important of all potential gameplay elements is indoor as much as outdoor environments. Now, obviously, it's impossible to have a 50/50 ratio, but a more in-depth look at interiors is necessary for the new sequel to have a life of its own. Open-world games, in general, have always struggled with the use and operation of interiors, yet Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3 are testaments to the glory of non-loading indoor locations. Previous Saints Row titles have tried this, to some degree, as witnessed by the Ultor mall area and the secret shops in Saints Row 2. With today's technology—or even that of tomorrow's in mind, the next big game in the series must utilize non-loading interiors that are packed with surprises for the more avid adventurers.
Bring Back Past Features
Saints Row 2 is probably my absolute favorite in the series and among some of the best open-world games. It gave players the freedom to do whatever they wanted, no holds barred. There were hoverbikes in The Third, innumerable cars and clothes, but there wasn't an immense list of customizable options to choose from for practically anything in the game like there was in its predecessor. These elements must return to the series because very few modern games offer that much level of personality to their playthroughs. There was also a lack of crib modification in the fourth installment, which needs to make a return, as well.
Another important aspect from Saints Row 2 that must be revitalized is combat tricks and fighting styles. What The Third also lacked was melee combat, which was a focal point in the series before it. Even the gunplay in the games has gradually felt less dynamic as the games have progressed. You'd think it would be the opposite. Granted, The Third is far more cartoonish than the rest, while Saints Row IV opted to showcase a new realm of character development in the form of superpowers. Saints Row's upcoming title needs to be that punch in the face as much as it is a bullet in the ass. Fans want that over-the-top tonality, but we also want a game that feels responsive and diverse in its action sequences. No bullet sponges or clunky combat mechanics, strictly streamlined mayhem that we never thought possible.
Tone Down The Crazy For A Memorable Story
How about a clear cut and concise story that isn't so much crazy as it is memorable. Bring back the classic narrative of retaking the streets from rival gangs. Both The Third and IV gave the series its own voice, now it's time to put that to the test in an extraordinary way. How far can they go with the "to the moon" mentality? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for a Saints Row on Mars, but is that what the fans want? Going back to its classical roots, while still maintaining that over-the-top demeanor will help the series come full circle. The evolution of Saints Row has come a long way, maybe it's time to look at the past as much as the future.
We can finally respond to the mountain of posts asking us for a new Saints Row game with a resounding YES! https://t.co/V4MPTF0I4L— Saints Row (@SaintsRow) August 14, 2019
It'll Definitely Still Be Saints Row
No matter what the upcoming game has in store for us, I am both excited and somewhat skeptical. Until we see a gameplay reveal or trailer, I'll always have Saints Row 2 in mind. That game flourished merely by giving players the literal keys to the kingdom. Saints Row's newest installment should apply an element from all previous games, giving it that coat of polish for every fan. Volition has to keep in mind that some of their player base may have entered the series later than most. I started on Saints Row 2, then played the original before The Third was released. It's definitely a quirky series, one not meant for every player, but intended to be a cathartic release, more so even than Grand Theft Auto.
What I enjoy most about Saints Row, as a whole, is its nature of ignoring the bounds. The follow-up game could literally go in any direction and, like all other titles, long-time fans will still flock to their newest height. I wasn't all that impressed by IV, though I saw what they were aiming for and I can see how others in the fanbase consider it the best. It's not my favorite, but it wasn't meant for me. That's the whole point: Saints Row does whatever the hell it wants to do and will, by golly, go even further. Why not? No one's stopping them.
With a movie in the works, Saints Row continues to surprise its audience game after game, all filled to the brim with explosive parody. The followup is sure to bring us home, back to the Third Street Saints in style...along with abundant out-of-this-world mayhem.