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Saints Row: Signed, sealed, developed

Thursday 31 August 2006
A life of crime, turf wars and random rampaging in a huge, open-world populated by thugs, gang-bangers and a spectrum of other dedicated deviants - Saints Row may take its lead from GTA, but it has one big advantage over its Rockstar rival - it's coming out for Xbox 360 tomorrow. So, while GTA IV is still under armed guard, Saints Row is happy to step up and give gamers some gratuitous, next-gen gang-'em-up action.

As Saints Row creator, Volition, puts down its still-smoking development gats, exhales and sinks some bling juice, we pimp 10 quick-fire questions to the game's design architect, Sandeep Shekar. Respect.

How long have you been working on Saints Row?
I've been on Saints Row for about a year and a half, joining the project just before our unveiling at E3 2005.

What has been the high point of the project?
Definitely the release of the demo and the reception it has gotten from our fan community.Hearing about people enjoying playing the game makes all the hard work worth it.

And the low point?
The aforementioned hard work. The entire team went through a period of about six, or so, months of crunch on the project, and at some points people were really drained.

Describe Saints Row in 10 words or less...
The only next-gen open-world game with multiplayer and customisation.

What have been the main influences on Saints Row?
The humour of the Chapelle Show was a big inspiration for the design team, while the look of Detroit and Chicago were what the artists tried to capture.Rap and hip-hop music and videos were also a huge influence.

What element of Saints Row are you most proud of?
It's a little thing, but I love the way our pedestrians behave.The lines they have, the way they cower and run away, or get angry and fight, or cheer on a fist fight... It makes the world so much more fun to cause mayhem in.

Will you ever play Saints Row now that development is complete?
I've played the single-player through hundreds of times over the course of the last few months, so I'll probably wait a while before playing that again. But I'm really looking forward to playing multiplayer matches on Xbox Live.

What's the most valuable lesson you've learnt while developing Saints Row that you can apply to future projects?
The key thing we learned about open world games is that every single feature you put in is going to be way more work then it was in a linear game. But that one feature can interact with other features in such amazing and interesting ways...

What's next now Saints Row is out the door?
Relaxation and vacation. And hopefully some Saints Row multiplayer matches.

Why should gamers spend their hard-earned cash on Saints Row...?
It's the most fun they are going to have on Xbox 360.The game is a blast to play from start to finish, it has a lot of replay value and even after you finish there's countless hours of awesome multiplayer.

Above: Continued bad behaviour sees the army called in - just use your huge arsenal to dispose of them