Saints Row Reboot Faces Backlash; Volition Won’t Back Down and Doesn’t Want the Tone of Past Games

Saints Row

Volition have been dealing with backlash from the reveal of the Saints Row reboot; including not having the tone of past games, and not backing down.

As previously reported; players form their own criminal empire from scratch in Santo Ileso, taking on other gangs to become self-made. Take down Los Panteros, The Idols, and Marshall in their quest to take over the city.

A new trailer was shared today, detailing the Santo Ileso, the new Saints, gangs, and some of the things players can do therein. You can find that below.


Reception to the game have been polarizing, especially the main characters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Criticisms levied on social media include how the characters look too young and akin to characters from a mainstream TV show or “Disney Channel teens.” Others compared it to tween Grand Theft Auto, or “Four LGBT WOKE liberal arts college students majoring in Art and English.”

Soon after the trailer’s debut, the game’s official Twitter clarified that players could create their own character. Nonetheless, the official trailer is currently sitting at a like:dislike ratio of 16,000 to 21,000.

Some comments also object to the characters looking like “woke hipsters” and preferring the older games. The first two Saints Row games were somewhat realistic with a street gang looking to build a full blown empire, though with some outrageous quests.


Saints Row: The Third was where the series became more surreal. The Saints had become so influential that they sold merchandising, and took photos with fans during bank robberies; with some themes on if corporation had gone too far.

Nonetheless, it also featured surreal quests; such as a murder gameshow, rag-dolling into traffic to commit insurance fraud, escorting a tiger in the passenger seat of your car, and (after posing as a sex slave) escaping from a brothel completely naked and drugged.

The fourth game took this even further; with the main character become the President of the United States, fighting aliens in virtual reality using super-powers.


As such, there were concerns the reboot will not feature a believable criminal main cast like the first two games, or become as wild and weird as the the last two. This may explain why Chief Creative Officer and Studio Development Director Jim Boone insisted that while the game features a new city and characters, it would still feature “the criminality and over-the-top tone that we’re known for.”

The game’s Twitter has also been pleading with fans that there is more to show, and to have faith that the game is only the early days for these new Saints. They also rebuffed those claiming the default “boss” being a black woman was purely a token gesture [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Even so, the account has deemed some of those dissatisfied with how the game looks as “haters”.

@Gavinator6429 highlighted how the game would not get as many complaints if they “replace these clowns and give us the real saints (doesnt even have to be the old crew just real gangsters);” the account replied with a .gif of “haters gonna hate.” Ironically featuring gameplay from Saints Row: The Third. 


“So way to fuckin go,” Gavinator replied, “looks like yall just hate the people who bought your game, made it successful and made it possible for the series to continue. Also didn’t you guys go awhile ago bankrupt? If you didnt want that to happen again, I’d suggest responding to criticism differently.”

We are not backing down on this,” the official account replied. “It’s brand new, we get the knee jerk reaction, no one has rebooted like this before. We have lots more to show.” The account replied the same way again, clarifying that “We get it, it’s new and it’s a shock reaction to a reboot like no other. The gif was supposed to convey that.”

While most of the criticism was levied over how the characters looked and acted, more recent criticisms have come via coverage from PC Gamer, titled that the reboot “won’t be as edgy as its predecessors.” Their report explains what the new game will involve based on the first few minutes of gameplay and cutscenes they saw.


The Saints are a group of four young friends; though the boss can be “big or small, young or old, and anywhere in between.” They had previously worked for other criminal organizations, and want to make their own- but more akin to a startup company with the mission to “disrupt” the competition’s crime.

Those four will be the main crew, with other acquired characters being nameless underlings. PC Gamer reports they still have the thirst for chaos, but “less meanness and cynicism,” as they ride around what Creative director Briant Traficante told press was “one of the largest cities we’ve built for a Saints Row game.”

The game will support two-player co-op with drop in/drop out support. Players buy up vacant lots across Santo Ileso’s nine districts, creating business fronts. These include food trucks that sell drugs, laundromats, car repo, nightclibs, and arms dealers. There will also be side activities unlocked via these businesses, such as the return of insurance fraud.


However, what has annoyed fans is that the game will seemingly lose the humor and elements that would be considered offensive to some. As PC Gamer note past games had “moments of casual sexism and homophobia within its main cast and beyond,” Boone explains how the tone of past games do not want to do.

“We love [the old Saints Row games], but we also recognize those are games of a time. They made sense within that era, and we were able to do things that felt good back then. But that tone is not something that we feel like we want to do today. We had a different kind of story that we wanted to tell.

“We’re never gonna get another good Saints Row game, huh?” lamented @Ziirgo in reply to the game’s official twitter account. “Sure you are” replied the account, “on February 25.”


Saints Row launches February 25th, 2022 on Windows PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

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Ryan was a former Niche Gamer contributor.

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