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Saints Row 4 superpowers add verticality, going virtual adds variety

But setting Saints Row 4 within a virtual world, Volition has been able to open up the city of Steelport in new ways.

Senior producer Jim Boon told OXM that recreating a "virtual" version of the city has helped in a couple of ways, such as providing a context in which the Saints can have superpowers which still makes sense within the fiction.

"This has also helped make Steelport feel like a new city once you start navigating through the world from up above, jumping and gliding through the air while battling aliens on rooftops," he said.

"The addition of our superpowers bring a much greater emphasis on vertical gameplay so we were able to create content going upward rather than outward. While Steelport isn't horizontally bigger there's a lot more verticality to explore this time. It completely changes your perspective."

It also gives level designers to chance to create some very different mission environments.

"Once the Zin abduct someone, they place them in one of these virtual prisons in order to break their will. We've had fun coming up with some interesting areas for the Saints to be trapped in, and this theme of having virtual worlds helps us to do that," Boon said.

Although there's probably a fair contingent of Saints Row fans who feel a bit disgruntled by the shift from real-world if over-the-top action to superhero sci-fi, I present this argument: Crackdown. Saints Row 4 is expected on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in August. It's apparently going to have a "f**k ton" more content than the last one.

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