Everything we saw in the closed doors Saints Row presentation

Recently we were invited to a behind closed doors presentation of the upcoming new Saints Row game due for release on 23rd August.

The presentation was 45 minutes of prepared hands-off gameplay with some commentary about what we were seeing and, following that, around 20 minutes of Q&A with several developers.

If you’re reading this the embargo is now up and we may see some of that restricted presentation released as public trailers, but for now, we can only report on what we saw.

To make maximal use of your time – and ours – we’ve separated this into sections below and quick lists so you can absorb more than an hour of content in just a few minutes.

Before that, however, we want to jump to the end and give you our overall impressions of what we saw.

In summary Saints Row looks like a solid open world adventure with all the third person shooting, driving and customisation you could want… but it really lacks an X factor or something to make it stick out from the crowd.

Just think back to the last few open world games that were released. Horizon Zero West has robot dinosaurs, Cyberpunk 2077 had the unique futuristic setting, Dying Light 2 had zombies and parkour, Elden Ring had the unique SoulsBorne / FromSoftware sauce and the list continues.

In the past the Saints Row franchise had absurdity and more outrageous gameplay to set it apart, especially when compared to Grand Theft Auto. While this new entry still has those factors, things have been toned down and grounded somewhat, like someone took an orbital sander to all the rough, but sometimes beloved edges of the franchise.

Right now this new Saints Row seems to just be “very big open world third person videogame” with the mantra of more is more.

It may be a bit harsh to have such sweeping opinions on a game already but that’s how we felt coming out of the presentation.

And speaking of that, here’s the summary of what we saw below. Keep scrolling past that to see a gallery of new images we’ve been provided to share with you.

Combat and gameplay

  • There’s a police wanted star / level system.
  • Roll onto the roof of a car to shoot for more flexibility at the cost of increased damage taken.
  • Weapons have signature abilities such as a sniper rifle that does extra damage to cars.
  • Each of the enemy gangs have their own attributes such as one that focuses on melee combat.
  • Enemy gangs also have specialists with their own powers and minibosses.
  • A type of mission called Mayhem pays out money for blowing stuff up under a time limit.
  • There’s a decent amount of melee options so you don’t always have to be shooting.
  • Your gang is a big part of the game and you can bring them with you but the solo route can work too. There is apparently a mix between a one man army deal and group dynamics.
  • Co-op is drop in and drop out with shared rewards.

Presentation, world and story 

  • Players form the Saints to compete with big, established gangs.
  • Graphically there’s nothing special and things look last gen.
  • Completion of missions grants cash, EXP, vehicles, usable locations and more.
  • The Saints HQ is an abandoned Church that you upgrade over time.
  • A war table in Saints HQ can be used to manage your empire.
  • The footage we saw was apparently close to the launch build of the game though a lot of polish is still being added before the public launch on 23rd August.
  • No plans for any first person camera options.
  • UI can be heavily customised and the HUD can be turned off altogether.
  • Many accessibility options exist.

Vehicles and mobility 

  • A bigger focus on off-road driving.
  • Use an ejector seat to get a wingsuit boost out of a moving car (hey we did that in Arkham Knight).
  • 80+ vehicles with multiple presets.
  • Cars, bikes and army helicopters shown off.


  • Customisation of absolutely everything is a big part of the game.
  • In-game earned money will be used to buy customisation items.
  • You can change everything about how your character looks on the fly.
  • Lots of emotes you can use whenever, even when just walking around.
  • Weapon customisation is extremely varied. Ammo, overall body, individual colours, decals, skins and more.
  • Character customisation is equally complex.
  • 100+ unique props can be placed in the Saints HQ.
  • Customisation options are earned by playing.

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