Interview: Katherine Nelson, Saints Row 4

It’s not every Thursday that you walk into a presidential suite  and see two women pole dancing around a plastic tiger, but this kind of zaniness is exactly what you’d expect to find at the latest Saint’s Row IV preview event.

After managing to pull myself away from the gun cabinet and resisting the urge to ride the aforementioned tiger, I got the chance to sit down with Saints Row IV producer Katherine Nelson and ask her a few questions about the highly anticipated Saints Row IV.


Katherine Nelson, Associate Producer at Volition Studios

Q: How much of the code was completed before you took on the game from THQ? Have you had to make any major changes?

A: So when THQ went bankrupt we were actually pretty far along with the development of the game, so it was actually the same team that was working on it throughout.

 We are still the same group of people working on it now.

 Koch have been very supportive of the game and us, and were like ‘you know what,you guys are doing fine. Do not change a thing – keep going!’

 Q: It must have been  pretty worrying to be left in such an uncertain situation after  you had put in so much work into the game.

 A: We weren’t sure if we would be picked up or not, so it was just really really nice that they got us and we love working with them so far! It’s reassuring.

Q: What’s the decision behind not taking the game to next-gen? Do you feel the code won’t translate well? Or did you simply not have enough resources?

 A: There are a few reasons – when we started working on the game the consoles were still… you know – we don’t even know when they’re releasing yet! (laughs) So it felt more natural to carry on with what we were already working on and focus on that and  DLC etc – and it’s been working out really well so far.

 Q: So are you considering DLC options for Saints Row 4? With next-gen so close, do you see value in continuing to expand the game past its launch date?

 A: I can’t speak directly on DLC, we are working on some but none of its been announced yet. It’s going to be probably a similar plan to what you saw with Saints Row The Third and then going forward we will still have DLC – even though those new platforms are releasing.

 It’s not like everyone magically has an Xbox One (laughs) so we still want our current fans to have more content to play and we will continue to support Saints Row IV for some time.

 Q: What’s the craziest mission you worked on (that you can talk about) which you think really embodies the essence of Saints Row, and why?

 A: Wow, so very many of our missions are crazy! Probably my favourite one I can’t talk about yet, but as you saw in our demo this morning, the humour in that first mission is a good example of what’s to come, and definitely one of my favourites.

 We have a few surprises throughout the game that we think people are really going to  enjoy and there a lot of crazy moments in the game. So, I am so excited for when people get to experience some of these moments –  and when I can talk about my favourite…  I think fans are going to love [that moment]

Q: We’ve noticed you can create and share characters online. Does this mean people can download characters and actually use them in their own Saints Row game?

 A: Yes, we are going to have that feature. It will work in the same way it did in Saints Row The Third, where people can upload a character and you can download it and share it with your friends and then import it into your  own game.

Q: How do the Alien Super Powers work within an open-sandbox environment? How much freedom has that allowed you in terms of game development and expansion? Which one is your favourite?

 A:We really pushed the gameplay with the superpowers, I think it was a pretty natural transition for us. My favourite power has to be  the stomp ability which pushes everyone away [from the player] and there are of course a bunch of different modifications for each power.

 I think how the powers enhance the gameplay is that they let the players better express themselves around the city.

 The telekinesis ability especially, I think people are going to have tons of fun with that one!  Throwing people around, throwing cars around.. you can even being flying around while you’re carrying someone and throw them around the city (laughs)

Q:  You say the Saints Row series will be very different following this release. Can you reveal anything more about that? Will the game adopt a more serious tone or can we still expect the same outrageous antics?

A:  We’re still working on the direction for future games, right now we’re just really focused on Saints Row IV.

     When we went from [Saints Row The Third] to four the big thing was how can we possibly top being the superstar, you know? So we were  like…  OK,well..super powers! So I think we can push ourselves again if necessary, we’re not too worried… we are  very good at  just going nuts with it (laughs)

 Q:  Obviously I’m sure you have had a lot of GTA comparisions thrown at you throughout the series lifetime, so how do you feel  about launching a month before GTA V?

A: We’re not too concerned about it. We really respect the game that they have – I’m really looking forward to [GTAV].

 Very early on we were definitely compared to GTA because at the time there weren’t a lot of open world games, there weren’t a lot of city games. But now, as we get further along in development there are a ton of open world games, a lot more city games.

 So at this point its pretty safe to say that saints Row is very differentiated from GTA..We have kind of a more zany, more super powered,more …surreal game.

 There’s a lot more  different things you can do [in Saints Row] and it’s a very different experience from GTA. So at this point we do think of them as separate games and we hope people think of them as different experiences too.. they offer different things.

After a productive day I left the building, safe in the knowledge that I had  kept my journalistic integrity and kept the medium intellectual to the bitter end.




…Well, almost.

Saint’s Row IV is released on PC,PS3 and Xbox 360 on the 20th of August.

About the author

Tom Regan

Tom is a London based preview writer with a burning passion for gaming, he also writes for The Daily Joypad as well as doing freelance work.
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