Bilson: Saints Row is the “comic book” of open-world crime games

Wednesday, 2nd November 2011 01:52 GMT By Brenna Hillier

There’s a place for serious stories and goofiness in the open-world genre, according to THQ Core Games boss Danny Bilson.

“I look at Saints Row as a send-up, a parody, a comment on all of the other big, open-world crime games that have come before,” Bilson told WorthPlaying.

“Personally, I love those games and play them top to bottom, but some of those have become very believable in their own reality – almost like the Martin Scorsese version of a game. This one has gone much more, for me, to the underground comic book version.”

Bilson said Saints Row is “built for fun and gaming and player enjoyment”.

“It’s almost like the other games have gone more straight cinematic, and I can’t in any way criticize them. I play them all and really love them, and this one’s gone really gaming, gamer, fun factor, wild, crazy and customizable.”

The executive commented that there’s room for both kinds of game – and long as they’re ambitious.

“There’s nothing wrong with the more cinematic development of these epic experiences because I do think, whether it’s Saints Row and it’s epic comedy or ‘It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World’ kind of epic or a competitor’s phenomenal games, a great epic experience is really the only thing that’s going to work financially in the marketplace. You have to give the user a lot of value for $60.”

Saints Row: The Third releases in mid-November. The Initiation Station, which allows players to create their character ahead of release for export to the full game, arrives on console networks with this week’s update.

Thanks, GoNintendo.



  1. sb319

    Can the market support both types of product? Absolutely. Is it still a shameful, low-rent, charmless piece of plagiaristic tat? Clearly. That Volition still feel the need to publicly address the inevitable comparisons, the elephant in the room, even on the third iteration, speaks volumes. Saints Row does some things very well, but so much of its identity remains a carbon copy of other games, they really need to work harder to make it stand on its own feet in the marketplace, make it look and feel like something which is forging its own path rather than riding on coattails.

    I have a feeling they are nervous about seeing Rockstar’s direction for V (trailer out later today). Should R* choose to reclaim their San Andreas crown and make something a bit more like that, copycats like Saints Row will really struggle to maintain a clear identity of their own.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Edo

    #1 Warming up for today’s hype train,are we?

    #2 3 years ago
  3. TBell

    This issue with parodies come from their reliance on the original, and, frankly, the fact that once a successful parody is created, it can actually eliminate the genre from future parody.

    Saints Row 3 appears to be pushing all boundaries, and I believe it will be a successful game for THQ and Volition, but that very fact may limit what is seen as a Saints Row “success” in the future. If they return to the same well, but merely try to be more extreme, it could easily go the way of the Scream franchise.

    And a success for THQ, who has had their stock price crash in the last 3 years, is not the same as for other companies. Eventually THQ needs to have a franchise that puts up numbers similar to the other AAA games released this holiday season. If it can’t break the 5-6M sales barrier with all the promise of Saints Row 3, then there may be a long term issue with Bilson’s “let’s focus exclusively on big, expensive games” strategy.

    I wish Volition the best of luck, though. It is one of the few truly creative studios in the THQ stable, and I would hate to see it fall prey to the same axe Bilson has applied to nearly all the other studios.

    #3 3 years ago

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