For the first time in eight years, we are finally getting a new Saints Row game that is clearly a complete reboot of the entire franchise, ignoring all previous story arcs to present a brand new story of the Saint’s rise to power. A bold move, that has proven to be pretty divisive amongst long-time fans of the series.
As a long-time fan myself, I was more than excited to play the new game and look forward to its release in the future. It doesn’t look perfect and there’s a lot that I have concerns about but overall, this is still my most beloved franchise and I wanted to take the time to explain exactly why I’m approaching this with confident hesitation.
The change is abrupt, of course, and older fans have every right to be critical of the game they’re presented with but the fact that there’s a large portion of fans willing to give this new vision a try and we shouldn’t ignore the appealing aspects as well instead of just the negative.
From a new map filled to the brim with possibilities to the opportunity to build a new empire, it’s clear that the transition between the old guard and the new guard isn’t going to be smooth but one that I’m prepared for nonetheless. So, without further ado, let me tell you why I’m still excited…but also very worried.
SAINTS ROW REBOOT
The New Map
I’ve driven through the streets of Stilwater more times than I can count and seeing it get bigger and better in the second game was amazing. Steelport was very different and took some adjustment to get used to but the verticality was addictive and it made up more the fact that it’s slightly smaller than the city that came before.
After years of running around in these cities, I’m more than keen to start exploring a new map and Santo Ileso already has me excited even though we’ve seen very little. The location seems so far removed from the built-up cities and vast urban landscapes that we’ve come to expect from, not just Saints Row, but other open-world games as well.
The trailer hinted at vast open deserts mixed with Vegas-like neon-lit areas and they haven’t even mentioned all the districts that will be open to players. The complete overhaul is everything a rebooted map should be: newer and more interesting places to explore and I personally can’t wait to get stuck in.
No MALE Voice #2!
Now for something that I absolutely hate about the new Saints Row. Throughout the series’ lifespan and through all the changes that the series went through, there was one aspect that remained consistent and has been a staple of the series ever since the first game: Kenn Michael starring as Male Voice #2.
It may seem like a small detail to some but for me, Kenn’s voice was my go-to choice for my character for every single game and he’s the only voice actor to have lent their voice to every single Saints Row game starting all the way back in 2006. There are many voices to choose from but his voice lines were the ones that truly brought my created character to life.
Part of me feels extremely disappointed that he will not be returning to do it all again for the reboot and I honestly feel like my character has lost a part of their identity within the Saints Row universe. I found most of the new changes acceptable but this proved to be a very tough pill to swallow.
Who Is This Game For?
The problem with an old franchise like Saints Row is that the original was also based on stereotypes and trends of the era, and that becomes clearer when you look at the music within the game. While a lot of those songs were my favorites back then, things have changed a lot since then within our society and culture.
I think what a lot of the older fans were after was a pretty significant shot of nostalgia with the reboot. To see that same vision recreated since a lot of the older fans are…well, older. Instead, what we have are fresh new faces and a brand new image that simply does not align with that.
What worries me is whether or not this new identity will have the same substance, intrigue, and overwhelming persona that the other games had. Will there be enough depth within this world to justify the new direction and new community the franchise is trying to be? Only time will tell.
Is History Repeating Itself?
While I’ve never felt drawn to playing the Devil May Cry series, it’s hard to ignore the uproar stirred by the franchise when DmC: Devil May Cry was announced. Not only was the game NOT made by Capcom, the new direction of the franchise sought to drastically change the character people came to know and love.
The Saints Row Reboot is going to play out in one of three ways. The game will be a success with a new fanbase and a new community will be built to replace the old, the game will be a flop and signal the death of the franchise, or they might do what Capcom did and make the next game truer to the older formula.
It is sad to say goodbye to all the characters I know and love but I’m also looking forward to starting a new chapter and helping to redefine the franchise that has been my favorite ever since I got my first Xbox 360. I’m bidding a solid farewell to the old guard and preparing myself to welcome the new.
As exciting as it is to be getting a new Saints Row game, I’m still holding onto a bit of healthy skepticism and I’m hoping we see more gameplay in the future to show us what we’re really getting excited for.
Have you seen the news about a brand new Saints Row? What do you think of the direction the series is headed? Let me know in the comments section below.