Saints Row 4 publisher discusses “inherent challenges” of convincing people it was more than an expansion

By Dave Cook, Friday, 13 September 2013 09:57 GMT

Saints Row 4 publisher Deep Silver faced a touch challenge when it acquired Volition’s IP from THQ. PR and marketing boss Aubrey Norris has shed new light on the enormity of the task, and just how it set about addressing the issue.

Speaking with [a]list Daily, Norris explained the task at hand, “There were inherent challenges with Saints Row IV when we picked it up – all the turmoil from THQ’s demise and uncertainty around what was going to happen with it. And then there was an expansion pack, Enter the Dominatrix, that THQ had announced before. There was a lot of confusion about whether or not Saints Row IV would be just an expansion pack, does it really justify a full price, does it really justify a full game?”

Regardless, Deep Silver liked what it saw in the Saints Row fanchise and before long the Saints Row 3 DLC ‘Enter The Dominatrix’ was re-announced as a fully fleshed-out game in its own right. The move came as a pleasant surprise to some, and a shallow cash-grab to others. Months later and the game launched to impressive sales and positive reviews almost across the entire board. Grasping success wasn’t easy, however.

Norris continued, “There is actually more content in Saints Row IV than there really has been in any other Saints Row game, but when you have an expansion that’s announced like that, and then sort of like difficult messaging where it sounds like THQ just took an expansion and decided to call it a game, you’re fighting against what has been done before, and you have to turn around that perception of what it is.

“To be fair THQ actually announced that they were working on another [Saints Row]. They said ok we’re working on this then shortly after that they said ok, we’re taking Enter the Dominatrix and making it into a full game, but they didn’t really announce what that was. That’s where the confusion stemmed from, and we could see that confusion kind of continuing.”

She added, “It’s something that you have to prove to people. It’s not something you can fix overnight. It takes time for people to see all of the stuff that you have. That requires laser focus to show people the scope of the game. We would show the game at a trade show, we’d take the mini-map and we’d unlock everything so people could see how many activities there were. We’d show the things that are new in the game, like superpowers, and really try to emphasize how different it was.”

In the end, Norris said that it took time, a lot of effort and simple, clear communication to both fans and press alike to reveal the true scale of Saints Row 4.

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