THQ Nordic and Deep Silver Volition need to bring back two beloved games from one of the most successful video game franchises of all time: Saints Row 1 and 2.
Back in 2006, developer Volition and publisher THQ released Saints Row 1 (SR1) for the Xbox 360. At first, it had all the makings of a Grand Theft Auto (GTA) clone: an engaging storyline, free-roaming capabilities, interesting characters, and fun side missions and minigames.
However, what differentiated the two games was the customization: Saints Row allowed players to customize their characters and vehicles in almost every way. Additionally, though SR1 seemed to be just another clone, the story was just as deep – if not deeper – than any of the GTA games that preceded it; the side missions more bombastic than their GTA counterparts; the gameplay was innovative; and there was a multiplayer mode available.
(Note: this is an early SR1 trailer, but the core gameplay remains the same.)
Because of the gap between GTA: San Andreas and GTA IV – San Andreas released in 2004, IV released in 2008 – SR1 released at the perfect time for GTA fans with an Xbox 360. As a result, in its first two months, SR1 sold over 500,000 copies and has sold more than two million total units.
Also, because of the aforementioned reasons regarding how SR1 played, players and critics both gave the game “generally favorable” reviews on Metacritic. Following SR1’s success, the next logical step was to build a sequel.
And so, Saints Row 2 (SR2) was released in 2008. With GTA IV releasing earlier in the year, SR2 was immediately fighting an uphill battle, especially since GTA IV had broken numerous sales records.
To their credit, Volition and THQ embraced the competition and further emphasized that SR2 was more outrageous and wacky than either SR1 or GTA IV. SR2 had more minigames and side missions, deeper customization and a more robust multiplayer experience, all while keeping the story grounded and believable.
With GTA IV’s gameplay and storyline grounded in extreme realism – comparatively speaking, of course – SR2 provided players with a game that could be serious while providing moments of levity at the same time. That’s why players and critics alike gave SR2 “generally favorable” reviews on Metacritic, actually rating it higher than SR1 – SR1 received a 7.6 rating while SR2 had an 8.2 among fans.
That’s why it only makes sense for Deep Silver Volition and THQ Nordic to remaster or remake both games. While it makes sense that Saints Row 3 was remastered for the eighth generation – former THQ president Jason Rubin stated it sold 5.5 million copies, the most in the series – it also makes sense to remaster arguably the most beloved entries in the series.
In all, the series is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time, selling over 32 million copies since SR1’s release. That wouldn’t have been possible, had it not been for SR1 and SR2’s success.
However, Deep Silver Volition have said that they will not be remastering SR2. The team will instead focus on working on fixing issues that the PC Steam port of the game has.
As disappointing as that news is, it’s not unexpected. Still, it would be a welcome surprise if Deep Silver Volition and THQ Nordic did decide to remake or remaster SR1 and SR2 for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5.
Because Rockstar Games is content with releasing content for GTA Online and Red Dead Online instead of working on the newest GTA, there’s a hole in the open-world game genre. If anything, that hole could be filled with two games: SR1 and SR2 Remastered.
At least, one can dream.