Q and A with with developer:
Why was Xbox 360 chosen as the exclusive platform for Saints Row?
- The Xbox 360 gave us a platform where we could fully realize the vision for Saints Row. This game simply couldn't be made on current-gen (PS2/Xbox). It's really a great machine, and Microsoft is a great company to work with.
How will the customized Xbox live feature enhance game play?
- Saints Row multiplayer has a lot of cool features, but one of the coolest is the ability to customize your character and have it show up online. The more you play online, the more multiplayer cash you earn, which lets you buy clothing/jewelry/tattoos to customize your character. You will really be able to make yourself stand out, and if you play in a gang you can create a distinctive style that identifies your group.
- From beginning to end, how long did it take to develop Saints Row? How much caffeine was consumed during the development, and is there any truth to the mythical yet tragicdisfiguring “Programmers hump?”
Saints Row started with just a handful of people in June 2003. That made it a three year development cycle, even though it started off slow. We peaked with a team size of 94 in-house, including 25 programmers.
- As for the caffeine, let's say we averaged 50 developers over the course of the project, and each person averages 2 caffeine drinks a day (soda or coffee), that's about 50 people x 2 drinks x 780 days= 78,000 sodas/coffees. I'm not even counting week-ends, but that helps balance out vacations and holidays… hey, this is just an approximation! Let's average out the caffeine for soda and coffee to be 75 milligrams per drink, that gives you a whopping 5,850,000 mg of caffeine!
Is there any truth about the programmers hump?
- Sure, but that's a symbol of dedication man, it's not tragic!
For you, what was the most exciting day in the development of Saints Row? (front row parking does not count)
- There were a lot of exciting milestones throughout development, such as the first time the day/night cycle worked or the first time you could drive around the city with streaming. However, I think the day I realized we nailed the controls and aiming was the most exciting. This was early on in development, and it stuck me one day that controlling and aiming was effortless. I was just playing the game and having fun, which is a great feeling when the game is still in the pre production stage.
Saints Row has an awesome voice cast. What was the funniest moment from that excursion? Was there violence involved? Did anyone's car get keyed?
- Our writer (Steve Jaros) is only 23, and several members of the cast took it upon themselves to hassle Steve about his age. Little did they know Steve curses more than a drunken sailor, so it wasn't long before he fit right in. Probably the funniest moment was when one of the camera men working on the making of documentary tried to helpJoaquim de Almeida with his Spanish…needless to say, Joaquim didn't need the help.
Who at Volition (studio producer for Saints Row) gets hardcore punked the most?
- We like to hassle Chris Stockman, who is the lead designer for Saints Row. There are some funny easter eggs in the game that poke fun of him. As an example, he has a real-life ghetto tattoo on his shoulder that says “$tock$”, so we made this tattoo one you can purchase in the game.
How do you 3-d model a pimp hat? And how big is too big? Is there even such a thing?
- Of course this is only something that can truly be answered by a pimp, which is why we had pimps visit Volition to give us pointers on how pimps should dress. Chris Stockman was pimp-slapped by one of these guys when he laughed at him… it really is a one-hit kill.
What advice would you give to everyone who's interested in becoming a game developer? Is there some kind of blackmail / extortion/ school / courses you would recommend?
- There are usually three ways to break in as an entry level developer: programmer, artist or tester. For programming, make sure you take math/science in high school then go to college for computer science or engineering. Take up game programming as a hobby and create demos. Once you have a degree and some nice demos, you should be in good shape for an entry level programmer position. I'm a programmer by background, so I don't have any specific advice for artists, but a strong portfolio of work will be necessary. Testing is another way to break in, which can lead to becoming a programmer/artist if you have those skills, or into production if you have a passion for making games and you prove you have the organizational and communication skills for it.
How many bathrooms are at Volition Studios? Are they properly stocked? Do they have curtains/ hand towels?
- Bathrooms? If we were only so sophisticated here. A ditch out back is the order of the day, although we like to keep buckets around when it gets nippyout. Of course there are the female bathrooms, but nobody is allowed in there. I've heard they have couches!
Saints Row Territories
The aim of the game is to take over each rival gang territory one at a time until you have all of them under control and you RULE Stilwater. You take over territories by unlocking and completing the missions in each area. The great thing is (this being an open-world where FREEDOM of choice is key), you don't have to do anything in order, so you can start taking over one territory and then leave it to go do some pimping activity in another area, to make more money so you can buy those fancy shoes you've been after!
At the beginning of the game your gang (the 3rd Street Saints) has a tiny slice of heaven called Saints Row. It's up to you to help the Saints take back their turf and move on to chow down on another gang's turf. Each area of the city of Stilwater will present you with a different and unique environment from the stores and buildings to the types of people on the streets. You'll have to watch your back when nightfall comes because it brings out all sorts of different characters.
The map areas (see attachments) show you where various stores and activities are in each territory. All you have to do in the game is pull up the map – see where you want to go – set your waypoint and you're off – either by foot, car or monorail.
There are four gangs (including the 3rd Street Saints) and here are the territories that they control at the beginning of the game:
Vice Kings (The most powerful gang in Stilwater, led by criminal mastermind and businessman Ben King).
• Museum: An area of public buildings and parks in the NE quadrant of the city.
• High End Retail: Expensive stores and boutiques. Initially belongs to the VK's.
• Donwtown: High Rises and office spaces
• Projects: The poorest and most dangerous part of town. Concrete towers, dilapidated buildings, asphalt jungle.
•Red Light: Bars, clubs and brothels.
Los Carnales (The oldest gang in Stilwater known for their close associations with the major Colombian drug cartels. Hector Lopez is the ruthless leader of the Lopez family).
• Factories: Industrial buildings (Steel Mill, Chemical plant etc...).
• Docks: Warehouses and piers.
• Barrio: Ethnic (Hispanic) neighborhood, comprising housing, offices and stores, but also a wealthy neighborhood where the Carnales mansion stands.
• Airport: Contains the airport, but also some stores and clubs.
West Side Rollerz (As the name might suggest the Rollerz rule the illegal street-racing circuit in Stilwater. They are reckless and disorganized but ruled by the patient & cunning Joseph Price).
• West Side Suburbs: A more suburban part of town, individual houses, condos etc...
• Arena: Just south west of the river, this area contains the Sports Arena, where Demolition Derby takes place.
• Apartments: Middle class neighborhood consisting primarily of apartment buildings on the western edge of Stilwater.
• Chinatown: Ethnic (Asian) neighborhood comprising housing, office buildings and stores.
• Truck Yard/Train Station: Warehouses and trucking companies, plus the main train station.
Third Street Saints (Led by the charismatic Julius, this is the gang you join and help to build up their street cred - as well as your own. They are young and brash group, ready to take on the world!
• Saints Row: Initially contested (you need to gain control of it during the prologue, this is your area). Contains the Saint's Headquarters in the abandoned church.
* The way you like it – Never seen before non-linear game play in a completely open environment, delivering an experience unlike any other inside a fully realized living city, where anything can happen and undoubtedly will.
* Be who you want to be – Create your character from 1000's of options and outfit him with the latest threads as you rise up in the ranks. Knuckle up or pop a glock to shape your street cred and build an increasingly feared gang.
* Clunker to a Classic - Use money to collect, customize and trick-out your cars gaining ‘much respect' in the process.
* Smokin' tunes – Whether in a stolen ride or one bought through racketeering, chill to any of 12 radio stations to hear dope tracks and pick up tips that could help you on your rise to the top.
* Multiplayer mayhem – Recruit gang members or take out rival gangs online in several different modes of play. Use the money gaffled to maintain your growing need for cars, women and gear.