What just happened? Reception and reviews for the Saints Row reboot were not what you’d call triumphant, and the CEO of the developer’s parent company has admitted he’s disappointed by it all. However, the future of the series doesn’t appear dead and buried.
Lars Wingefors, co-founder and CEO of Embracer Group, the Swedish media holding giant that counts Saints Row developer Volition and publisher Deep Silver among its many subsidiaries, spoke about the game during Embracer’s AGM on Wednesday (via Axios’ Stephen Totilo ).
Wingefors acknowledged that the reception to Saints Row has been “polarized.” He added, “There is a lot of things that could be said and details around it. I’m happy to see a lot of gamers and fans happy. At the same time, I’m a bit sad to see also fans not happy. It’s difficult. I think we need to wait until the quarterly report in November to have more details.”
The good news for those who bought Saints Row is that more patches to fix the bugs, of which there are many, and extra content will arrive further down the line. Wingefors also noted that Embracer is confident Saints Row will be profitable, though it’s not going to make as much money as some of the company’s other games.
A less-than-stellar reception to a game can kill the franchise. Asked whether this might be the case for Saints Row, which first arrived way back in 2006, Wingefors replied with typical non-committal exec-speak, but he sounds optimistic: “Obviously you always want every installment of any IP to be greater than the last one. And what you do is, this is quite a process to evaluate your position, the outcome, and there are hundreds of people engaged in this game within the group, so I still have a great trust in those people and I’m sure they will recommend things for the future.”
Wingefors also pointed out that the franchise isn’t the best when it comes to turning a profit, though that’s likely more to do with its massive development and advertising budget. “We all know that Saints Row, for example, is one of the harder ones in terms of return on investment. Now that’s a way behind us—and we will make money.”
Reaction to the Saints Row reveal last year was far from positive due to the change in tone from the previous politically incorrect and increasingly ridiculous (but still fun) games. However, Volition developers said they would not back down and make changes.
The game arrived last month to mostly middling-to-bad reviews —it has an average critic Metascore of 66 and a user score of 2.6. Many players have complained about the basic gunplay, dated design, and lack of anything new, but the biggest problem has been all the technical issues. Patches should fix these, though it’s hard to imagine Saints Row ever experiencing a Cyberpunk 2077-style surge in popularity at some point in the future.
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