As a franchisee, Saints Row has always been compared to Grand Theft Auto, and it’s easy to see where the comparisons are coming from. The first one Saints Row game, released in 2006, bore a striking resemblance to the Grand Theft Autos of the era, choosing to be a gritty and realistic crime game. With the release of Saints Row 2, the series began to forge its own identity, opting to focus more on tongue-in-cheek humor and satire, while adding emotional beats to keep the narrative engaging. By the time Saints Row 3 and 4 rolled, the franchise had fully embraced its new identity, being an absurd take on the crime genre.
Whereas Saints Row 4 met with fairly favorable reviews, there was no denying that the formula had become a bit stale and the series would need to undergo a slight change in order to make it relevant again. In a few months, Deep Silver and Volition will do just that, rebooting the entire franchise. New Saints Row will pit players against all-new gangs as they attempt to take over the new American Southwest-inspired location, Santo Ileso. As they try to wrestle the power of rival gangs, players will come into contact with a variety of new faces, the most prominent of which are the three core members of the new Saints gang.
The most important character of Saints Row is, of course, the playable character. In the past Saints Row titles, players have always assumed the role of the leader of the Saints, from the very first game where they rise from obscurity to notoriety, until the fourth game, where they play as the President of the United States, who then gets kidnapped by aliens.
In the new Saints Row, players will once again play as the leader of the Saints, and just like the first game, they will have to start from the bottom and work their way up, conquering the other rival gangs in town. The player-character will once again be known simply as “The Boss”, and while the Saints Row the appearance of the protagonist will be fully customizable from the start, his backstory is already set in stone.
The game will start with The Boss being a low-ranking member of Marshall Defense Industries, before they decide to leave the company and start their own criminal empire. The boss takes a few of their friends with them for the ride, all three of them disgruntled colleagues, each from various gangs around Santo Ileso.
The Saints, not to be confused with the Third Street Saints from previous games, are a brand new gang in Santo Ileso. At the start of the game, The Saints only has four members: The Boss, Eli, Neenah, and Kevin. When the four newcomers realize there’s more glory and power to be gained by creating their own criminal empire, they do just that, launching the Saints’ operations from an abandoned church in the Mercado neighborhood.
With The Boss at the top, the other three take on the role of lieutenants, each with their own unique set of skills that determine their role in the gang. Eli is the entrepreneur of the group, seeking to make as much money as humanly possible, and by any means necessary. His moral compass is definitely on the gray side.
Neenah was working for Los Panteros, a rival gang, but decided to join the Saints as a getaway driver. After graduating from art school, Neenah struggled to find a job in the industry, so she decided to embark on a life of crime instead. The last of the Lieutenants, Kevin is one of Santo Ileso’s most popular DJs and used to work at Idols nightclubs. A foster child, Kevin is always looking for a family he can call his own, and he hopes the Saints will be just that.
Saints Row releases August 23 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
MORE: 5 Things We Learned About Saints Row Gameplay & Combat
Games that allow the creation of large characters