Last week, we asked Gameological readers to submit questions that we could pose to developers on the E3 2013 show floor. We picked five of our favorites; those questions constitute The Gameological Questionnaire.
Saints Row IV, as I noted in my preview yesterday, is a delirious, over-the-top open-world shooter in which the leader of the Third Street Saints Gang becomes president of the United States, fights off space aliens, and gains superpowers—in that order. True to the anything-goes nature of his game, Saints Row IV’s creative director, Steve Jaros, was especially game for our readers’ questionnaire.
The Gameological Society: If your game had a super-deluxe version that cost $1,000, what would be in the box?
Steve Jaros: Here’s what I would like in it. It would work well in Europe, and you’d have to get carded in America, but I’d like a bottle of Johnnie Walker Purple, and have a purple label. A 25-year-old single-malt whiskey—actually, make it a 30-year. Make it even better because it’s so much beyond blue. It is the purple label. I’d have that in there, and that’d probably be $300 in the box. So, what, $700 more to play with? The single-malt scotch would be there. I think I would have a compendium of the complete works of William Shakespeare. Our villain is erudite, a lover of literature and the classics. I think I would probably would go and send it off with tickets for Wrestlemania, because I love wrestling, and a mixtape of show tunes that I find enjoyable.
Gameological: Sony and Microsoft have new consoles coming out soon. What are some exciting things you can do on those machines, in terms of game design, that you couldn’t do before?
Jaros: I think both consoles are really exciting. It’s always fun when you get new things to play with. One of the biggest things, it’s not flashy, it’s not sexy, but one of the things we always fight with on Saints Row is memory limitation. There’s so much stuff that we have—because we don’t have a pre-baked character, more memory gets eaten up because we have a customizable character who can own all these different looks. And we have to account for two of them in co-op. So having more memory to play with, that alone for me is—especially in open-world games, we value player customization. That’s so exciting actually for us to see what else we’ll be able to play with. And how we’ll be able to push that. We’re kind of pushing the limit for what we can do already with the audio. We had to pull lines from the game. We hit an audio limit. We had seven player voices with so much different content in the game. We’ve hit a limit for what we can actually do. It’s kind of great to now be at a point where we have more options and keep on pushing ourselves even further. So as an open-world developer, I’m fucking stoked to have more toys to play with.
Gameological: If an alien species discovered your game as the only remnant of human civilization, what would they learn about us?
Jaros: Holy fuck. That’s a great question, and I’m so happy that you asked this. Because if they find Saints Row IV, they are in fucking luck. Because this thing is, oh my god, you have no idea. So, Saints Row IV is so delightful because it not only embraces beautiful dadaist culture, but they’ll learn about politics, they’ll learn about executive branches, because our villain is an erudite man. There’s different special nods to classics and classic literature in there that you can go hear about. There’s pathos and drama. They can learn about love because you can romance people. It’s so fucking great. I hope we’re a time-capsule game. And bonus points, just for you, fans of The Onion, I wanna let you know that the entire first chapter of Pride And Prejudice is on a radio station. So they will have an embracement of culture. They will get more fucking Jane Austen than any other M-Rated game they could possibly buy.
Gameological: What wine pairs best with your game?
Jaros: Malbec. Like that.
Gameological: What’s the weirdest idea that came up during production and didn’t ultimately make it into the game?
Jaros: See, that’s really tricky because—Saints Row is interesting because we can get away with so much. A lot of times, the things that get cut aren’t a matter of too crazy, it’s a matter of, “Oh, we just can’t.” We had a dragon prototype that we were trying, a flyable dragon breathing fire, and it was awesome. We were trying to get it into the game, but ultimately it was a matter of the animation time. To go and get the dragon flying well, to get the mounting and getting off of it look right. There’s a lot of time that was taken away from other aspects of the game. We loved the dragon, but it’s just not right for all the time it would take to put it in. The dragon is fond memories, but that is one of them.