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Where Can Saints Row Go From Here?
Despite my own hesitations about the game, I’m happy to admit that I’ve enjoyed every minute of Saints Row IV from the first time I started it up. The writing is sharp, the gameplay is fluid, and the side activities and missions are varied and interesting enough to have kept me occupied for 15+ hours before even diving into the main story missions. It’s fantastic, and it has easily become one of my all-time favorite open world games.
But in a game where aliens have taken over the world, you’ve become President of the United States, and you’ve been given the gift of super powers, what else could be done in an eventual sequel?
Well, Volition has made a believer out of me once, and I’m more than sure they’ll eventually do it again with whatever iteration of Saints Row releases in the future. But just for fun and speculation’s sake, let’s consider some great places where Saints Row could take us next.
Sure, we’ve done the alien thing, but Zinyak and his crew took over the world in our modern day and gave us alien technology. How great would it be to play a Cyberpunk-infused Saints Row? Flying cars, laser guns, super computers, alien races…they’ve already riffed on Mass Effect a bit in IV by putting our crew in a ship that serves as a hub, offering romance options, and making loyalty missions out of side quests, so why not go the extra mile and catapult us straight into the future? Plus, on next generation hardware, we might even have the muscle to allow the Saints to visit different planets. I loved nearly every aspect of the aliens and tech in Saints Row IV, and the future seems like a setting that would take these ideas and expand them into an awesome experience.
Sure, we’ve already argued the future, but consider for a moment having the ability to jump between centuries. Go back and run moonshine in the Prohibition era, run around a wild west town a la Red Dead Redemption, or even take things way, way back and fight as a Gladiator in ancient Rome. Sure, it sounds a bit directionless, but there’s a great deal of opportunity here for jokes that feel just as fresh as the ones in IV, and being that the Saints Row games have become increasingly self-aware and referential of outside works such as film and other games, there’s plenty of opportunities to riff on classics and times of old. And don’t even try to tell me you didn’t enjoy every minute of your Leave it to Beaver moment in the beginning of Saints Row IV. A game made up of events like that? Yes, please.
This probably sounds a lot bleaker, but I’m not necessarily talking about a gritty drama like The Walking Dead or The Last of Us here. Rather, I’d love to play a Saints Row take on the DeadRising franchise, where seemingly limitless opportunities for slaughtering the undead await you in Saints Row’s expansive open world. Team up with your crew, fight off zombies, help out fellow camps of survivors, and find time to comment on the oversaturation of zombies in today’s pop culture, and you’ve thrown together a game I’d happily donate hours of my life to.
We saw a little bit of this with Matt Miller’s training simulation starring the fabled vampire hunter Nyteblade, but I’d love to see the Saints Row universe explore supernatural happenings a bit further. Have a gang of vampires move in on the Saints’ turf and lead the two into a war that takes on all of the best vampire offerings today, be it Blade, Van Helsing, or the classic Dracula. Or, you know, swap out Vampires for Werewolves or Night Wisps or Wood Nymps, or something. It doesn’t really matter, so long as it combines everything we know and love about Saints Row and gives it a supernatural twist.
Yes, this is a somewhat polarizing idea, but why not give things a few years to settle down, then reboot the universe? The first few games of Saints Row were good, but never really reached higher aspirations than being Grand Theft Auto clones for the rest of us. Once the Third hit, however, things took a turn for crazy that really helped make the game into something special and unique. IV has taken things in quite a different direction, and the once semi-straightforward direction of Saints Row as its own version of an open world crime game has now evolved into a crazy action game that includes elements of its past.
Why not give it some time, then come back and completely re-start things? Give us the Saints in their formative years, when they weren’t international pop culture icons and had to actually work up from the streets. Give us new characters, a new city, and new mechanics to keep things feeling fresh, all while returning to what we loved so much about Saints Row: The Third. Sure, I’d miss Shaundi and Pierce, but the thought of meeting another character just as great as either one of them is a promising prospect indeed.
Where would you like the Saints Row franchise to go next? Tell me in the comments, and check out my let’s play video below for more fun with Saints Row IV: