Saints Row: The Third - Development


The Third was envisioned as early as September 2008, when it was in the early stages of production. An investor's presentation was held by THQ in February 2009, wherein their lineup for the coming financial years was announced. The presentation announced that The Third was projected to release during financial year 2011. In an interview for the December 2009 issue of Game Informer magazine, THQ vice president Danny Bilson announced that The Third would debut at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo, and that it would retain the over-the-top style of its predecessors.

During E3 2010, he revealed that the game would not debut there but would instead be shown at the Spike Video Game Awards in December. He also revealed that THQ planned to release a Saints Row film as well as various merchandise such as a collectible card game and books. At E3, THQ announced Saints Row: Drive-By instead. It was to be released on the Nintendo 3DS and via PlayStation Network and Xbox Live as part of a marketing strategy for The Third. During the Spike Video Game Awards, Volition announced inSANE, a collaboration with Guillermo del Toro, instead of The Third. It was officially announced for Q4 2011 on March 2, 2011 in a press release by THQ. In May 2011, THQ announced that The Third's tie-in Saints Row: Drive-By had ceased development and had been cancelled.

As for the game engine, Volition representatives said: "In regards to considerations over Geo-Mod 2, we get that question a lot understandably, and the answer is yes, we considered it. But we ended up not going in that direction for two reasons. One, it would have been very, very difficult to do. It would have been possible, but difficult. Two, I think you could make the argument that delivering that level of destruction arguably creates a game that’s different to what fans of the franchise have come to expect."

When THQ CEO Brian Farrell was asked if Grand Theft Auto V will affect pre-orders for The Third at THQ's Q2 financial conference call, he replied that GTA V and The Third are in a "completely different positioning". "I went online like everyone to see the GTA trailer. As you point out, it's a high quality trailer and I think it's going to be another fantastic game in the GTA series. That said, it also shows the completely different positioning of the two games. GTA is still serious and character driven – a very different experience. Saints Row – if you saw our video today – it shows you all the crazy stuff in the game. It's a totally different positioning, and if you read the forums it's like 'hey, I love GTA, and I love this game because it's a very different game that knows what it is and is very entertaining".

Speaking with Spong, producer Greg Donovan said that in order for The Third to differentiate itself from other open world games, everything had to be "over the top this time around":

"Scott and I didn't work on – we were on and – but I'll give you a bit of history about it all... The whole goal for was to create an open world game on the Xbox 360, because there was nothing else out there at the time. We had no idea that was going to be this urban contemporary simulator – and when we found out we thought 'well, shit'. We could do very little about going up against GTA at the time though, so we kept on at it. In Saints Row's defence though, it did have activities like Insurance Fraud, and other mechanics that similar games didn't. And from there it's seen a natural evolution, I would say for Saints Row 2. We still had some serious moments with it – we had long discussions in development over whether the Ronin should have swords on their backs or not, thinking that players would care about that stuff. But they don't. With Saints Row: The Third, we’re doing a complete reboot of the franchise, with new technology and everything else. Everything's just going to be over the top this time around. It works for us, it differentiates us from other open world games, we do it well, and players love it."

Read more about this topic:  Saints Row: The Third

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