Saints Row Dev Not Happy With THQ's Pornstar Marketing

Saints Row Dev Not Happy With THQ's Pornstar Marketing

Volition associate producer Kate Nelson thinks the porn star angle didn't really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart.

You may remember way back during the marketing cycle for Saints Row 2, in-between those totally insane Gary Busey ads, THQ brought in adult film star Tera Patrick as a "special producer" for the game. A gimmicky publicity stunt at best, it was followed up with more "porn star marketing" that focused on penthouse girls. Volition's associate producer Kate Nelson tells Edge that she and the rest of the Saints Row team weren't too happy with THQ's focus on porn stars for Saints Row 2 and Saints Row the Third.

"I think it's important in marketing games to make sure that the essence of the game is what's being marketed, and I think the porn star angle didn't really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart, which is a parody. We like to poke fun."

In particular, Nelson says the whole Tera Patrick thing rubbed a lot of people at Voliton the wrong way. "Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualised as a producer of our project, or saying the penthouse girls are our QA staff - I just...I can see the humour in that angle of promotion but for me that's the line where it gets into reality."

Nelson goes on to talk about Saints Row IV, and how the series has come a long way from its objectification days. "You can be an important female character - you don't have to have a D cup either," she says. "You can be large woman, a small woman - you can be blue. You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative."

But she despairs that the press isn't going to see things that way. "The press will focus on, oh hey, there are strippers, or there's a dildo bat - it's unfortunate from my perspective that that doesn't come through." Its ok Kate, us Escapists appreciate your effort to make strong, female characters, that also happen to wield dildo bats and anal probe weapons.

Source: Edge Online

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So no porn star Uncle Gary Patrick posing as a stripper while impersonating a cop wielding a dildo bat while lamenting the press...

I so did not read that right.

And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

Well that's what happens when you get publishers involved. They care about getting the game noticed, and having a porn star involved is bound to turn heads. Both the people who for some reason think that it's a good thing, and those that will sigh and be annoyed that they are using such a cheap method of marketing.

To the publishers it doesn't make a difference, because the game gets attention from it. It's not that different in essence when you get games such as Halo and Gears of War having heavy and emotional trailers when the dialogue and story within the game is more like your average action movie. As long as it gets people noticing it, they will consider it a success.

hazabaza1:

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

Former or not, I'm simply pointing out the irony of the situation.
Nelson's all up in arms over THQ's porn star angle, all while there's a (former) porn star taking an active roll in the game. Tell me that's not a little bit funny.
Also, Hulk Hogan is a semi-retired wrestler, so he's used to acting. :D

King of Asgaard:
Former or not, I'm simply pointing out the irony of the situation.
Nelson's all up in arms over THQ's porn star angle, all while there's a (former) porn star taking an active roll in the game. Tell me that's not a little bit funny.
Also, Hulk Hogan is a semi-retired wrestler, so he's used to acting. :D

Porn stars are actors/actresses too!

Surely the amount of irony/hypocrisy comes down to how that's pitched. If it's scrawled on the box/ads "Voiced by this porn star!" then yes, there's hypocrisy in the devs then being unhappy about using a porn star as a 'producer' for promotion.. whereas if she's (I'm assuming we're talking about a she? I've actually missed the news that a porn star is doing voice work for a SR game) just.. kind of there, doing the job, then there's less of a deal.

Surely it's the fact that a porn star is being so prominently displayed in the promotion that has rankled the devs, not that their product is in any way related to the profession. The whole things strikes me as a bit odd anyway, almost as if they're trying to pass off SR as a srs bznz legit artform, instead of funwhackytrashyextremeobscene junk.

I'm not sure I've typed the word 'porn' quite so many times before in a single post here.

The porn star angle just made it more interesting, but maybe the dev's hands were tied here.

hazabaza1:

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

I'm going to have to dispute the "ex-pornstar" bit.
Unless "Anal Artist" is an unfortunately named art film of some kind.
Source : IMDB

The irony here is that Tera Patrick is a savvy businesswoman, who has been running her own company for 7 years and was one of the pioneers on the creative side for streaming media. Not to mention two college degrees with a 3.5 gpa. She probably has a higher net worth than anyone at Volition, and has more experience overseeing an online content platform than 90% of their producers.

That's not a knock on Volition's staff, that's really how influential she's been to the business and delivery side of online porn. But yes Kate Nelson, this pornstar with "no industry experience" could probably do both your job and your boss's job. I think if there's anyone judging stereotypes based on pornstars, you should probably start by looking in the mirror.

You misspelled 'marketing', just for your information.

OT: I don't really care. I like porn, so I don't really mind.

"You can be large woman, a small woman - you can be blue. You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative."

This why I've always had a soft spot for Saint's Row and why all the hullabaloo sorrounding GTA has sort of fallen on deaf ears with me. If they had a female protagonist then I would've been more excited, especially with Rockstars history of of serious story telling ("hey cousin, lets go see some big American titties").

But from of videos I've seen, they're looking to make SR4 a little more interpersonal, which I like the look of... even if they resolve their issues by fighting Soda-Can Kaiju's.

TheSYLOH:

hazabaza1:

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

I'm going to have to dispute the "ex-pornstar" bit.
Unless "Anal Artist" is an unfortunately named art film of some kind.
Source : IMDB

Well that's weird.

There's a bunch of articles about her quitting it and she was on a talk show about it once too. I guess she didn't?

Maybe she should look at it as a "parody" of how devs whore themselves out to publishers?
And honestly you guys turned everything else up to eleven, but REAL sex crosses the line?

The best description I've ever heard of sex and the Saints Row series is "I think they've bitten off more sex than they're comfortable chewing."

I mean, yeah, they've got the massive dildo bats, the anal probes and the bondage pony cart chases but God knows you're never going to see a male stripper or a character actually have sex.

King of Asgaard:

hazabaza1:

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

Former or not, I'm simply pointing out the irony of the situation.
Nelson's all up in arms over THQ's porn star angle, all while there's a (former) porn star taking an active roll in the game. Tell me that's not a little bit funny.

Except there's really no irony in this situation. There's a big difference between having a former porn star voice a character in the game and never really playing up that fact or marketing the game around it, and hiring a porn star to pretend she's a producer and meet with people at marketing events.

Pfft, Nelson is merely performing damage control/back peddling because video games being sexy is taboo at the moment. Mark my words: They've only come out and said this to make sure they don't lose sales or get bad reviews. It wouldn't surprise me if it's THQ that's told her to say this.

Besides using a porn star in the marketing was bang on. :P

Moth_Monk:
It wouldn't surprise me if it's THQ that's told her to say this.

It would surprise me, and here's why.

But that's OK, because games are art no matter how many people didn't want porn stars in it! :)

It's funny, because Saint's Row the Third was possibly one of the most feminist games I've ever played. Seriously! How depressing is that? The game parodying ridiculous over the top bullshit and gang culture has some of the better written and treated female characters I've seen. I rolled a Female Boss and god damn if she wasn't one of the best characters I've seen. Despite the strippers, despite the giant dildos and other ridiculous features, I thought SR3 actually handled female character stupidly well, and frankly that the fact is so impressive to me is really kind of sad and does -not- reflect well on our industry.

Whats wrong with porn stars? They can't be allowed to make money outside of letting people have sex with them on Camera? Porn Stars are people to, I imagine if you were to ask the pornstars who did the commercials they were happy to do them and would likely want to do more for the fourth game.

Teoes:
Surely the amount of irony/hypocrisy comes down to how that's pitched. If it's scrawled on the box/ads "Voiced by this porn star!" then yes, there's hypocrisy in the devs then being unhappy about using a porn star as a 'producer' for promotion.. whereas if she's (I'm assuming we're talking about a she? I've actually missed the news that a porn star is doing voice work for a SR game) just.. kind of there, doing the job, then there's less of a deal.

Surely it's the fact that a porn star is being so prominently displayed in the promotion that has rankled the devs, not that their product is in any way related to the profession. The whole things strikes me as a bit odd anyway, almost as if they're trying to pass off SR as a srs bznz legit artform, instead of funwhackytrashyextremeobscene junk.

Exactly. Getting a porn actress to work on a project is very different to using porn actresses as a marketing stunt.

hazabaza1:

King of Asgaard:
And yet you got a porn star to voice a main character in Saint's Row 3.
Conflicting principles much?

Ex-porn star, and god forbid someone who had a lot of sex could do voice acting! They also got Hulk Hogan to do a voice, but I doubt they'd really enjoy all of their marketing to be dumb looking wrestlers.
Although this is Saint's Row so maybe that's exactly what they're going for

They marketed more crap with the Luchadores than specifically the "porn stars."

I have trouble buying this given exactly how pervasive pornographic content was in the games. That doesn't sound like publisher meddling. And it certainly won't stop SRIV from doing more of the same.

...Oddly enough, they seem to have forgotten that their own content, Ultor Exposed(?) was fairly parody-based. It was one of the larger examples.

I like how they were all "WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!LOOK HOW WACKY WE ARE! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" And now they're all "you missed the point."

DataSnake:

Moth_Monk:
It wouldn't surprise me if it's THQ that's told her to say this.

It would surprise me, and here's why.

Well whoever the publisher is now then.

Moth_Monk:

DataSnake:

Moth_Monk:
It wouldn't surprise me if it's THQ that's told her to say this.

It would surprise me, and here's why.

Well whoever the publisher is now then.

The current publisher is Deep Silver, and given they did this, I kinda doubt they'd try to avoid controversy.

Didn't they have porn stars as Homies in SRtT? And the Initiation Station have a trailer with porn stars in it? Not to mention they had Sasha Grey play one of the main characters.

(not that I really care [except for the fact that the additional homies cost money], just pointing it out)

I think she is confused. Marketing is to draw attention to the game. It's not always in line with what potential purchasers would perceive to be in a game. In the game industry, you market to draw attention to the game, but gameplay footage isn't the same thing as marketing. It can be part of the marketing, but most advertisers probably realize that you aren't just trying to draw in only gamers, but as many people as possible. I remember that ad campaign for Saints Row 2: it wasn't effective at all because at the time it actually turned me off from the game. I just think it doesn't make much sense to compare then to now. Though I do agree that the industry as a whole has come a long way from moments like that one and that people are still concentrating on the negatives and ignoring the positives. But that is how radical movements work, there are not halfways or compromises, it's all or nothing and no amount of give from the opposition even matters. Which is why they get mutated and twisted into negative things or at least things with a negative connotation (ie. Radical Feminism, Radical Raw Foodists, Radical Vegan movements, etc). But, I digress.

Considering how ridiculous SR is, I don't really mind it. Though I do roll my eyes at people constantly going "der-her-her." with porn stars in any other media.

soren7550:
Didn't they have porn stars as Homies in SRtT? And the Initiation Station have a trailer with porn stars in it? Not to mention they had Sasha Grey play one of the main characters.

(not that I really care [except for the fact that the additional homies cost money], just pointing it out)

You could choose to have them if you wanted to. At the time Sasha Grey wasn't doing porn (not sure about it now) and they were still with THQ at the time.

Funnily enough, I think Sasha Grey might have gone back to porn because she can't get a job doing anything else without people belittling her because she did porn once. Think about how sickening that is for a second.

 

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