With its start as a competitor to Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto, the Saints Row series eventually found its identity as a self-aware and more humorous take on the AAA open-world game. While Saints Row IV saw the game at its most absurd, injecting superhuman powers and a plot involving alien invaders, the third game balanced its over-the-top and zany action with a more grounded narrative about the titular gang becoming a franchise, and was all the weirder for it. And now, Volition and Deep Silver are revisiting Saints Row: The Third for a new remaster on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Set for release on May 22, Saints Row: The Third Remastered will have you re-establish your gang as the world’s top organization by taking on many missions and activities with an arsenal of firearms, bizarre vehicles, and obscenely-shaped melee weapons. The Remastered edition is the complete version of Saints Row: The Third, featuring all of the game’s DLC and expansions in a single package. Along with that, the remaster updates the game’s visuals with a new lighting engine and completely reworked textures. The original game was a mash-up of off-the-wall humor and pop-culture references, which pushed the bounds of what the developers call “exagereal”–essentially the middle ground between grounded and exaggerated realities.
Prior to its announcement, publisher Deep Silver/Koch Media and developer Volition showed us an early look at the game in action, while also going into detail about the making of this remaster. According to the developers, which includes Volition and Sperasoft (the studio behind the port), they chose to remaster the third game in the series, as opposed to the first two games, because Saints Row: The Third remains a popular game, and was the one that helped define the series.
“We think of Saints Row: The Third as a masterpiece, and from our point of view, it’s where the series really found itself,” said Koch Media lead art director Nikolay Stoyanov. “When we went back into this game, we had one major consideration, and it was that we really wanted to bring that [game] back in a particular way, and not just as a simple remaster with 4K support. It had to have modernized graphics and technologies, to pump up that engine to make it more interesting.”
When talking about the specifics of how this remaster overhauls the game’s visuals, Volition art director Frank Marquart stated that the update of the game enhances a lot of the elements that made Saints Row: The Third so memorable.
“On the art-side, we call that art-style in the game “exagereal,” and it was designed to evoke that exaggerated, over-the-top expression with just enough of reality to keep it grounded,” said Marquart. “So that real part of “exagereal” is certainly much, much stronger in the Remastered edition. When it comes to the surfaces, the lighting, it’s all enhanced. Just seeing Steelport in this new edition is exciting. It really looks great, and it’s exciting to see.”
While a lot of work has gone into the remaster, some concessions had to be made for the update. Though online co-op will still be available, split-screen co-op for local play has been removed for the remaster. Along with that, the console ports will be set at 30 frames-per-second, while the PC release will run at the full 60 frames-per-second.
With that said, Saints Row: The Third Remastered is shaping up to be a solid revisit for one of the series’ finest games. And judging from the footage we saw, it looks to be keeping up with the series’ penchant for open-world thrills and hijinks, all fueled by a killer soundtrack–which will remain intact for the new release. For more on Saints Row: The Third Remastered, check back with us at GameSpot for more when it releases on May 22.
GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.