Saints Row The Third Interview With Writer Drew Holmes

Watching somebody take one to the nuts is always funny.  Granted, I know it’s low-brow, but still, you’re a liar if you’ve never laughed when you’ve seen it happen. Saints Row The Third isn’t all nutshots though, it’s a full-on colourful experience that just lets you have fun, no moping around in dark grey and brown tinted city streets trying to become a big shot. In Saints Row The Third you are the big shot and, after getting the chance to see Saints Row The Third in action at this year’s E3 Expo, I managed to grab hold of Drew Holmes, one of the writers, at Volition for a quick chat about all things Saints Row.

First things first – you’ve moved the Saints from the city of Stilwater to the new city of Steelport, what prompted the change of scenery?

Well we wanted to give the players a new environment to play around with, you know we’d been in Stilwater for the first two games. We wanted a new city for people to explore and we also wanted to build it to really enhance the type of gameplay that we were going for this time around. Just ridiculous, over the top, filled with pleasure experience and we wanted to craft the city so the player can take advantage of all the tools and toys we’re going to be throwing at them.

With that transition between Saints Row The Third and the second game, the Saints have gone on to become a brand more than anything else. Going from the end of the events in Saints Row 2, how did they become the brand that they now are at the start of Saints Row The Third?

They’ve sort of… well… well they’ve sold out. They decided to start marketing themselves; they owned the city of Stilwater and after that they said “Well let’s branch out” and in the universe we’ve created, that the Saints exist in, gangs and criminals can be celebrities.  Everyone loves them and everyone loves them for their shenanigans. They’re this merry band of rogues and they decided to sell their images and their likenesses out for bobbleheads and energy drinks, and they’re making a movie about their escapades. Having that angle helps us really tell this crazy over the top experience and from the get-go you know that we’re not trying to be realistic; we’re trying to be extreme and really push the envelope in terms of the story.

What role did you play in the overall game development?

I help with a lot of the writing, a lot of the pedestrian writing and a lot of the crafting of the narrative, the mission design and all that sort of dialogue with both the narrative and the open world experience.  Well, I’d been on Red Faction Armageddon and I’m part of this core team of writers at Volition that will help out with each project so I jumped on this after I’d finished my work on Armageddon to help flesh out and finish a lot of the stuff on Saints.

You had a pretty big cast in the first and second games, are we going to be seeing any of them returning to this latest Saints Row?

We do have a lot of returning characters from Saints Row, and we’ve got a lot of brand new characters. Obviously, with the new city, there’s also a brand new villain – Phillipe Loren, leader of the syndicate, which is our new gang – so we’ve got a lot of brand new and colourful characters, and some old favourites will be back as well.

If there’s one thing Saints Row certainly is, it’s over the top. Is there anything in the creation process that one of you guys had thought up in the office but then thought “ohhhh actually maybe we can’t put that in the game”

Yeah well, you definitely have to define where that line is and we have lots of meeting where everyone sits together, gets thinking and… just kind of brainstorm and then someone comes with an insane idea that just pushes the bar a little too far so we have to reign it back but at the same time the bar is really, really high.

Or really low..?

[Laughs] Yeah! Well we want to surprise people, we want them to laugh. It’s really about giving them a giant toy box to play around with and create their own crazy experiences.

That was all Drew had time for before he had to rush off for another presentation and I hope that’s given you some more insight to Saints Row The Third. If you would like to know a bit more about the game and read about what we were shown in the presentation, have a read of our E3 Preview.

Saints Row The Third is currently due for release mid November 2011.

Saints Row The Third Preview

Steelport; man what a city.  Only in Steelport could a person freely walk down the street and punch a homeless man in the crotch; only in Steelport could a man pile-drive a hooker into the pavement and only in Steelport could the rag-tag bunch of numpty arse gangsters known as the Saints become more than just a gang. The Saints have now become a brand, part of popular culture; they have energy drinks, branded clothing, record deals even a movie in production. Everybody wants to be in the Saints but does everybody know just what they are letting themselves in for?
Read our full Saints Row The Third preview here >

Games featured in this article
For more information on any of the games featured in this article, click on any of the links below

Last five articles by Lee



  1. Victor Victor says:

    The more I read, the more I am convinced that this will be my favourite game of the year. It can’t come quick enough.

  2. Ben Ben says:

    If a giant rubber purple dildo makes its way into the game I’d love to see what they thought was a bit ‘too much’.

  3. Edward Edward says:

    Interesting to see how they’ve been developing it, and the interview was really well done with the questions asked, so well done Lee :D

  4. [...] like to know more about Saints Row: The Third, take a read of our E3 preview, and also our interview with Drew Holmes, the game’s lead writer. Games featured in this articleFor more [...]

Leave a Comment