Ex-Epic designer Cliff Bleszinski recently gave his thoughts on the future of the Saints Row series. “Keep the crazy action and game mechanics. Lose the gimps and dildos and purple suits,” he tweeted. “The SR team is amazing. Dildo holds them back. It’s immature.”
“Make an open world game that’s more Michael Mann / HEAT / Collateral / Training Day,” he said.
Well, I disagree, Saints Row is unique because of the gimps and dildos: take them out and you will be left with another game trying to to be Grand Theft Auto. We already have Grand Theft Auto, we don’t need another one. “Once you put a dildo in your game it doesn’t matter if your controls, pacing, graphics are all great. You’re ‘that game with the dildo,'” he continues.
Yes, Saints Row is that game with the dildo. That’s exactly what it is, if you mentioned “the purple dildo bat” everyone knows you are talking about Saints Row. You cannot buy that sort of marketing and brand recognition and you certainly wouldn’t get it in a ‘Michael Mann / HEAT / Collateral / Training Day’ type of game.
And on “dildo holds them back. It’s immature” – yes, and? Have you never laughed at a fart gag, Mr B? “Yes, I think the dildo is hilarious. (I also had a big dildo as a prop in our wedding’s photo booth.) It doesn’t help industry perceptions,” continues Cliffy. Dildos are ‘funny’ in the real world but immature in gaming? That doesn’t make sense, you cannot be amused by real ones but digital schlongs are regarded as silly?
Absoloutely everything ‘offensive’ in Saints Row is there for comedic purposes. Attacking an enemy base dressed as gimp is funny, not sexist, childish or demeaning. The game mocks and lampoons other ‘serious’ games – for example Zimos, the oldest pimp in Steelport is introduced not as a streetwise hardman but a human pony, the tables turned with him being the sex slave.[drop2]Most magazines and websites ‘got’ Saints Row The Third and awarded it high scores – it has a Metcritic rating of 84. The one dissenting voice was, yes you guessed it, the rather uptight Edge magazine. They highlight the number of missions featuring whores and say “we’re not saying the creation of something in which women only exist to be sold, killed or fucked shouldn’t be allowed, but what does it say for gaming as a type of entertainment?”
It’s a valid question but does seem to miss that Saints Row The Third features many strong women characters, in fact many more than you would usually get in video games and they easily held their own against the men. The Call Of Duty franchise has has very few female characters, COD2 had Rifleman (er, woman) Pvt Anya Ulyanova but she was an NPC, the series has never featured a playable female character.
Also Edge fail to note that there are just a many male gimps in the game as there are ladies of a dubious persuasion, Saints Row The Third is an equal opportunities pervert.
I am sure Cliff had the best intentions with his tweets but suggesting we all ‘grow up’ is rather naive. Yes, we still have Dead Or Alive’s pneumatic bosoms and Bulletstorm’s atrocious swearing but we also have the unique storytelling of Heavy Rain and Journey. The last thing we need is another straight-laced guns and gangsters game, gaming needs to diversify not homogenise, if it doesn’t we’ll be left with nothing but Call Of Duty clones.
The gaming industry needs to re-adjust after the events of last year, there were too many scandals and missteps and the U.S.A.’s magical ability to change a discussion about gun ownership into a hate campaign against violent games is not helping. Too many people are overreacting to the slightest hint of anything remotely scandalous and we all need to step back, take a deep breath and remember that these are games, fantastical words built for our enjoyment.
I agree that the gaming world does need to grow up, and growing up means not being offended by a giant purple cock bat. It means embracing the wide and varied world of gaming: you may not agree with everything you see and play but that doesn’t make it any less worthy.
I appreciate that I have a slightly higher tolerance for the weird and bizarre, once you’ve seen a seventy year old man wandering around a nightclub naked apart from a set of pink fairy wings then little can shock you, and there are always going to be ultra conservatives who rage at anything that is not following the exact letter of their chosen religion. I think a fair majority of gamers, and certainly the readers of TSA, are mature enough to have a good giggle at an overweight man dressed in a pink tutu slapping people in the chops with a purple cock bat and not be offended.
With the greatest respect, what needs to change is Cliff Bleszinski’s rather outdated view. Saints Row is unique and should stay exactly how it is, childish, silly and a hell of a lot more fun than most other games, dildos and gimps included.