Volition’s Saints Row series has always been the absurd contemporary to Rockstars’ more serious GTA.
For three instalments now they've been able to tap into a special pool of creativity reserved mostly for those who spend their free time attempting to be inspired after hours of heavy drinking, getting high, and intense heat stroke. They have never shied away from adding more degrees of “bat-shit-craziness” in the name of entertainment and for the sake of our pleasure.
Thus, with every iteration, we've come to expect more and more of their levels of absurdity to entertain, shock and have us ROFL-ing. We shoot octopuses from a bazooka and terrorize city denizens with an outrageously oversized purple dildo bat. We enjoy the simple pleasure of dressing up in full red samurai armour for shits and giggles before launching ourselves from a canon. Or -my personal favourite- designing our pivotal hero as an overweight 6’ft, purple megahulk with a voice akin to a blender churning gravel.
It’s gold dust entertainment.
The good news is that with the reveal of the new Saint’s IV trailer all that absurdity we've loved and locked away in that happy place of our minds is back and better than ever.
Sweeping strings, whooshing title screens, dramatically slow walking, bombastic Michael Bay-esque dialogue - and introducing Keith David as Keith David!
This trailer is just one bountiful pop-culture reference after another. The glaringly obvious being ‘you’re living a dream’ from 'The Matrix' and ‘a dream within a dream within a dream’ from 'Inception'. Down to more subtle jabs such a naked 'Karate Kid' who free falls as nakedly as the day he was born; nod’s towards 'Mortal Kombat’s' Kung Lau – and introducing Keith David as Keith David!!
This franchise has come full circle; from once being that geeky kid who imitated the cool kids because they wanted to fit in to now being the popular nerd who preaches pop-culture like it’s their job. This trailer shows a game basking in its own daft success, and acknowledges that its rise to these soaring heights came from a long line of foolish toilet humour jokes and unnecessarily wobbly dildo bats.
Good for you Saint’s Row IV.