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THQ believes there’s a “pent up” demand for open-world games like Saints Row

Friday, 13th May 2011 21:20 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

THQ boss Brian Farrell believes there is a “pent up” demand for an open-world game such as Saints Row: The Third, especially with a new Grand Theft Auto title missing from the marketplace at the moment.

Speaking with Industry Gamers, Farrell said THQ to do well with Saints Row despite the heavy fall line-up this year.

“Over the last several years the [GTA and Saints Row] franchises have gone in totally different directions,’ he said. “I think to real gamers who love the Open World games, they buy both. I respect what Rockstar does with GTA, I love the last game, but compare that to Saints Row and the over the top, in your face, wacky humor, lots of stuff going on, irreverence, tongue in cheek.

“It’s really just positioned very differently, and so we think the opportunity is when you look at the competitive set this fall… Yeah there’s a couple of big shooters but after that, given the pent up demand we think there is for Saints Row, and that type of game, we think it’s an awesome opportunity.

“Anybody that loves a great Open World action game is going to love Saints Row: The Third. No question about that. But, again, I think there’s room in our industry now. We’ve grown up so much. I’m just not sure it’s an either or equation. I think you’re going to find both games in a lot of gamer’s portfolios.”

Saints Row games have sold over 5.4 million copies worldwide so far, and Saints Row 2 sold one million units more than the original.

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10 Comments

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  1. TheWulf

    I think there’s a pent up demand for games that actually have interesting settings, a la Uru, Shining Force, Skies of Arcadia, and Oddworld, which aren’t just the same old bloody boring and dull old toss which are unimaginative and uncreative to the core.

    Of course, the average gamer seems to crave cloying familiarity and a lack of the exotic, and probably thrives on yer Modern Warfares and yer Grand Theft Autos. So I’m deluding myself here in thinking as I do, but then, likely THQ are as well.

    The thing is is that there’s no massive demographic, you water games down more and more and more trying to hit some magical omni-demographic that doesn’t exist, Hollywood has proved the folly of this with a billion braindead action films with more plot holes in their thin scripts than special effects (and that’s saying something). And Hollywood are wondering where all the money’s gone, despite this being a problem that they created.

    With whatever multi-million dollar film they’re making, they could use those funds to target a number of smaller demographics and have hits in each of those niches, and thus likely make more money overall than they would with their piss poor attempts to appeal to everyone, thus trying to hit upon the lowest of the low in regards to the lowest common denominator.

    They could be successful that way, but no, they have to keep chasing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with increasingly impossible schemes to catch all the demographics costing ever more and more money. Hollywood is going to crash soon, and hard. They’re going to learn the hard way and most analysts are seeing this already.

    The problem is is that the games industry is heading the way of Hollywood.

    No, THQ, there is no pent up desire for open-world games, they are not a magic catch-all so please don’t think of them as one. It’s foolish and in the long run it will cost you money. There is a demographic that likes open world games, yes, but there are demographics for linear, story-based games, or choice-heavy story-based games (with consequences for choices), or simulation games, or sports games, or casual games, or what have you!

    If you stopped trying to hit on that magical catch-all that simply doesn’t exist and tried being more experimental and targeting demographics, especially those that have been starving for good games for a while now, then you’ll start raking in the money.

    But hey, this is logic, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned in this life of mine it’s that the entertainment industry does not operate on logic. Not one part of it. The film industry, the music industry, the games industry, filled with so much folly that you’d need a million monkeys with a million sticks just to get it all shook at.

    The folly is entertaining though, because you have enterprising independents who’re proving things like DRM being worthless, and targeting specific demographics works. Things that publishers still haven’t learned and may never.

    Yes, open world games will sell, THQ, but so would any game made well enough and targeted at a specific demographic. Duh.

    /end_rant

    #1 3 years ago
  2. tenthousandgothsonacid

    @1 Great rant, wise words TheWulf

    #2 3 years ago
  3. The_Deleted

    I think the problem is with people spending more time with games, that film, and music, is now being wrongly perceived as a ‘throwaway commodity’. Week after week we get another Blockbuster movie, when not so long ago you’d get one or two a year in the summer and maybe a big Christmas release.
    Now it’s a rush to see who can create the next IP to rinse, the latest being Marvel Comics Universe.

    The best films being made right now are animation, with the advent of HD and studios seemingly willing to push the envelope with regards to a more abstract premise (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, How to Train Your Dragon, Up, Rango etc.)
    Ofcourse the internet doesn’t help, a huge market is now happy to obtain their films by more underhanded means and this too has forced the film and music studios flood the market. And that means a lot of crap churned out very quickly.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. sb319

    IMO the Saints Row games are trashy, ugly and lack even 1% of the wit, ambition and beauty of the Grand Theft Auto series. The likes of Assassin’s Creed, Infamous, Just Cause etc have taken the open-world game in interesting and cool new directions… whereas Saints Row just an embarrassingly awful rip-off aimed at morons.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. strikkebil

    saints row is like a cheap slut, and gta is a supermodel. ill take the supermodel

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Tweek444

    Im a big fan of both francises, I enjoy GTA more in single-player (with the story and stuff). But i also love to screw around in SR2 with my friends

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Christopher Jack

    Saints Row was fun. Story was rubbish but it didn’t take much away from the main & side missions, yes it could have been better but overall, it’s an incredibly fun game.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    @5, completely agree.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. ManicMarvin

    Yes, Saints Row is the cheap slut, but it’ll do *anything* with you. Even that thing with the plunger. GTA IV is the fucking dull supermodel who does nothing but sit there munching on celery.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Exzeerex

    1@, Wow nailed it :D

    @9, I agree, although what’s the point if the cheap slut has STD’s. SR2′s physics and graphics are horrific. I do enjoy the customization and it’s quite fun. But there has to be a balance between all elements of game, in my opinion. SR2 seriously lacks a “finished product polish”. A game can be fun and still look quite good. Even though, in this “Michael Bay effects” age it seems rather unlikely :/

    Also, I might be bad because of no trophy support for SR2 :P

    #10 3 years ago