saints row

Saints Row Interview: Developer Discusses Co-Op Pranking, Last-Gen Console Performance, & More

Volition UI Artist Danielle Benthien talks Saints Row.

The Saints Row series saw a massive shakeup back in Summer 2021, as Deep Silver and Volition revealed that a brand new game would be coming out that reboots the franchise. Since then, we’ve had a lot of information provided that reassured fans that the game will still feature the same wacky and weird gameplay and story that fans came to love.

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Yet, even with all of the info that’s been shown off, there’s still a lot of questions on people’s minds before Saints Row releases next month. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Volition UI Artist Danielle Benthien to discuss some of those questions and much more, which you can see right down below.

Twinfinite Features Editor Andrew McMahon: How will the new characters captivate fans like the Saints we know and love from the past games? Will there be anyone that can possibly live up to the legacy of Johnny Gat?

Danielle Benthien: It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Johnny Gat was amazing and wondering in his own right, but I think that everything in the reboot has such depth and an all-roundedness that makes them feel human.

There’s a lot of opportunities in the game to hang out with them one-on-one and get to know them as a person outside of their relationship with the boss. I feel like that is enough to help them all stand out on their own.

Andrew: What are some of your favorite co-op features in Saints Row? I got turned into a mailbox during my playthrough by my partner. Can we expect any other craziness to go alongside these fun pranks?

Danielle Benthien: My favorite one is the bees –getting turned into bees. The pranking system is just so funny.

With Saints Row, the duel co-op has always been such a big part of the series. There have been ways to prank your friends in the past, but never something built in like this, which is really fun.

With a game that is as wild and chaotic as Saints Row, it’s not really as fun if you can’t fuck with your friends while you’re playing.

Andrew: Considering the series has always been known for its city-scapes, were there any challenges or fun things that you got to experiment or play with by adding deserts to the game?

Danielle Benthien: So there are two different new deserts that are a part of the new Santo Ileso map, and they are both entirely different. You’ve got the wasteland that you see on the outskirts, like you’ll see in Las Vegas, and then you’ve got ones that are beautiful, populated with cactuses, flora, and fauna.

Our team spent a lot of time being inspired by multiple southwest cities. There is inspiration from Vegas, Austin, and Arizona, and we bring them all together into this kind of neighborhood to make a setting that is really dynamic; a place that really has this personality of its own.

I think there are so many small things you can wander around and see in these places that give more depth and life to all of the “Keep it Strange” Santo stuff we’ve created for the game and all the characters that make it up.

Andrew: Is there anything you can tell us about next/current-gen versus previous-gen in terms of performance targets or anything like that?

Danielle Benthien: This is a game where we tried really hard to make sure that we are able to satisfy both areas of players. It can be really frustrating when you have past-gen people who want to play this game but can’t because it’s only optimized for new-gen consoles.

With this Saints Row we tried to strike a balance for both groups. Those who have PS4 versus PS5 or those who have Xbox One versus Xbox Series X|S, we want the same experience for both. It’s sort of one of those middling things where there shouldn’t be issues for either generation.

Andrew: What would you say to people that have never played a Saints Row game in terms of a sales pitch on why this should be the first game they’d play in the series? Why would they enjoy this one?

Danielle Benthien: This is the perfect game to start for any new Saints Row fan. If you like comedy, action, real emotional story, an emotional investment, chaos, or just feeling like a badass with a gun, then this game is for you. If you like exploring beautiful worlds, this is the game for you. It’s a triple package!

Saints Row comes out for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, and PS4 on Aug. 23, 2022. For more info on the game, be sure to check out our hands-on preview, as well as all of the other related content we’ve got down below.

***Full Disclosure: Deep Silver Volition provided Twinfinite with travel and accommodations for this Saints Row preview event***

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Andrew McMahon
Andrew was Twinfinite's Features Editor from 2020 through until March 2023 and wrote for the site from 2018. He has wandered around with a Bachelor's Degree in Communications sitting in his back pocket for a while now, all the while wondering what he is going to do for a career. Luckily, video games have always been there, especially as his writing career progresses.