Even with all the lunacy packed into Saints Row IV, some ideas were left on the cutting room floor.
When your crime-sandbox game has aliens, superpowers, and a dubstep gun, where do you draw the line? Volition, the developer behind the upcoming Saints Row IV, has a few surprising answers to that question. The over-the-top series has been progressing to wilder antics with every installment, and there’s more logic than you might expect behind that evolution. For starters, the player character in Saints Row IV has reached the lofty position of President of the United States – but that came at the expense of an equally absurd scenario.
“We wanted Stephen Colbert to be the President,” says Steve Jaros, creative director at Volition. “I have concept art that’s amazing. It’s Stephen Colbert on a battlefield holding the American flag, his sleeves are ripped off, he’s got a bald eagle tattoo … It was badass, but finally it was like, fuck it, you’re the President. Why give it to someone else?”
A handful of other inspired concepts were also cut from the final product due to conflicts with higher priority ideas. Actor/professional wrestler The Rock was going to deliver a State of the Union address, and Jaros was dying to fit Meryl Streep into an undisclosed character role. On the gameplay side, there was originally a dragon in the game, but it “didn’t really work.” A gun that summoned a swarm of hammer-wielding monkeys was also thrown out during development. Some of these ideas may see a return via post-launch DLC, but no promises are being made just yet.
Some of the conflicting story elements were a result of the unusual blend of ideas that make up Saints Row IV. The planned final DLC pack for Saints Row The Third was an ambitious campaign titled Enter the Dominatrix, which was never released. Many of its gameplay and plot components were rolled into the development of Saints Row IV, leaving Volition with a lot of material to somehow wrap up into one game. Unfortunately, this led to many completed missions, cutscenes, and voice recordings getting scrapped in the merging process. “We tossed ’em all,” says Jaros, “because it wasn’t what we needed.”