CCC: So, the first Saints Row game was about conquering Stilwater, ostensibly to pacify the city, and the second one was about regaining your lost territory. The third is also about taking over a city, coming back against a new aggressor. What are you doing to keep that from getting formulaic?
SJ: First of all, it had to be in a new city, because you can't go in like, "What, Stilwater got taken over again?" That doesn't really make sense. So, the game's not about reclaiming lost territory. It's not even about taking over the city; it's about hurting the Syndicate. And that's why, in the beginning, we go out strong, have them wrong you so you just want to punch them in the face. And right after mission six, you punch them in the face so hard you're like, "I'm done, I'm out, I won." And then they pull you back in. So having it be about your personal relationship with the Syndicate, and you wanting to stop them, as opposed to taking over the city.
Taking over the city is what you do to hurt the Syndicate. But your real reason for being in Steelport isn't to take over the city. They dragged you there, and you say "F*** you, I'm taking over your city." It's not because you felt the desire to take it over.
CCC: Does that kind of shift in focus make writing this game different than the others?
SJ: Yes, 'cause I always want to keep you on your toes. As the guy who wrote them, I don't want this to feel the same as the other ones… Otherwise, why are [the fans] spending 60 bucks on buying this game if they already have Saints Row 2? You have to give them something different, and so I think that it keeps you honest. I think that it's good. It's good to have a little heartache.
CCC: I think that actually answered most of the questions I had… Oh, wait! I do have one silly question: So, Saints Row and Red Faction both have the Ultor Corporation, especially in Saints Row 2. Is that just for fun or is that something that actually has some kind of meat to it?
SJ: I always wanted to have there be some evil, grand corporation. So we… put Ultor in the first game. At first it was a little joke, like, "Oh, we'll have Ultor be a clothing line," and then they turned into the villains.
CCC: And now they supply the Saints' merchandise.
SJ: Right. And eventually as it came forward it was like, "Well, why not?" Ultor's ours. Ultor's our brand. So why not have Red Faction and Saints Row be in the same world?
CCC: Have you done any work on Red Faction personally?
SJ: I worked a little bit on RF:G after Saints Row 2 came out. I wrote some pedestrians and stuff. I was mostly there in a firefighting support role. I didn't write the story for Red Faction, but when the miners yell, "Oh no, you're mean, EDF!" I wrote that one. That was my contribution to the grand art. Miner four, baby.
CCC: So, to close this out, during development, I'm assuming lots of bugs popped up. What was the craziest, over-the-top glitch you ever saw during development?
SJ: Ooh, there were some good ones! I'm trying to think… It's been a blur. I've been working on Insane a lot lately, so it's hopping in the Wayback machine.
There was a bug with dead pedestrians that was awesome. I think they stuck to your car and you could drag them around. That was pretty cool. I remember that one. Then there were some bugs that were turned into cheats because we liked them so much, thought they were really cool. I'm trying to think what they were. But I do know there was at least one bug that was like, "Oh sh** dude, that's awesome, let's make that a cheat." But I can't recall what they were, sorry.
CCC: But keep an eye out on the cheats menu for that kind of stuff?
SJ: Yeah, I know that bugs have been turned into features in Saints Row.
CCC: That is kind of the Saints Row thing, right? Anything goes?
SJ: Yeah, absolutely.
CCC: Steve, thank you so much.
SJ: Ah, no problem.
By Shelby Reiches
CCC Contributing Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*