The Saints Row franchise possesses a firm grip on many players' hearts, but it hasn't had a full entry since 2015, a gap rapidly approaching seven years. Thankfully, the Saints Row drought is almost at its end, with a brand new reboot that modernizes and even grounds the franchise — at least, a little bit.
On Wednesday, Deep Silver Volition confirmed that at least one classic element of previous Saints Row games is returning: player customization. The Saints Row reboot features an absolutely ludicrous number of tools and in-depth options for tweaking and personalizing characters, outfits, vehicles, weapons, crew members, and more.
Creating the best character
The Saints Row franchise began as an open-world action-adventure game following the story of the obscure 3rd Street Saints gang and their mission to escape irrelevancy and poverty. However, with each successive title, the franchise leaned more into absurd and over-the-top humor, gameplay, and plot. The Saints Row reboot wants to bring the series back to its roots, but there's still room for what players have come to expect.
One aspect that has always been important in Saints Row games is allowing the player to express themselves through their character and other parts of the game. Despite it wanting to stay more grounded, Deep Silver isn't holding back, as the new Saints Row game takes customization to all-new levels. Building on the already great system from previous entries — especially Saints Row: The Third and 4 — the new title lets players dive deep into customizing their characters, outfits and clothing, weapons and gear, vehicles, NPC crew members, and gang HQ.
Windows Central got a first look at how all of this comes together ahead of today's announcement. It looks amazing, even more so after we pored over the event footage for every detail. While the game starts you off with eight preset characters from which to choose, you can throw it all away and create whatever you want. Here's what we found just pertaining to player customization:
Inclusive body customization options
Saints Row games never shied away from letting players look however they want, but the upcoming reboot features more inclusive options and game design.
- No gender-specific or gender-locked options.
- Various and customizable prosthetic limb options.
- More options across the board, including for hair, skin tones, and beyond.
It also features a huge number of customization options for your character's physical body, enabling you to roleplay as anyone you want. There are:
- In-depth options for tweaking body size, shape, muscle and fat mass, muscle and vein definition, and more.
- Customization of nipples, genitals, and even the modesty censors that can be used to cover your character while naked.
- Seemingly endless options for customizing skin, including enabling unique textures, creating custom colors, applying sun tans and other effects, and more.
Greater face customization
When your Saints Row character's body is picture-perfect, you'll still need a unique face to pair with it. Fortunately, Deep Silver also built in a ridiculous number of options here:
- Asymmetrical face customization, allowing you to independently edit and tweak both sides of your character's face, including physical attributes, makeup, scars, tattoos, and any other effects.
- Plenty of sliders, options, and tools to customize and edit every part of your character's face and facial structures.
- More intricate color options for hair, including more hairstyles, unique textures, creating custom colors, and even dying your hair multiple colors.
- Full eye customization, including custom colors, unique contacts and textures, and eyeball types.
- A vast assortment of cosmetic options for makeup, scars, tattoos, physical blemishes and characteristics, and more.
Greater clothes customization
Even when your character matches exactly your vision for them, it means nothing if you can't deck them out in the perfect outfit. The Saints Row reboot will let you edit all aspects of your character's clothing, including:
- A full array of customizable clothing options for shirts, pants, overcoats, dresses, outfits, underwear, and even socks.
- Full customization for every piece of clothing, including materials, textures, colors, and more.
- The ability to save outfits as presets, which you can return to at any time from the in-game phone.
- Fan-favorite brick-and-mortar stores are returning from previous Saints Row games in addition to brand-new stores, where players can shop for new clothing and cosmetics.
I loved what I saw of Saints Row's character customization, even though it looks as though it'll be essentially impossible to land on a single character design. Fortunately, while Deep Silver didn't actively discuss this, we spotted the "community creations" feature that first debuted in Saints Row: The Third. No details were revealed, but this feature should allow players to create any character they want and upload it to the cloud, allowing other players to download and play as those custom characters.
But it doesn't stop at just your character
Of course, Saints Row customization doesn't stop at the character creation screen. There are plenty of other ways to express yourself in Deep Silver's upcoming open-world game with your vehicles, weapons, and The Saints themselves. Here's what we found pertaining to the rest of Saints Row's customization:
Saints Row features over 80 different vehicles players can collect, including cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, and aircraft. Every single vehicle boasts of a wide variety of customization features, including:
- In-depth color customization, including textures and materials, of multiple parts and sections of your vehicle.
- Upgradeable parts and body modifications to dramatically alter the look and feel of your vehicle.
- Fully customizable tire profiles, wheels and hubcaps, and more.
- Performance and off-roading upgrade kits.
- A unique "towing cable" upgrade that lets you tow a variety of objects and vehicles behind your vehicle.
- Customizable sounds for the engine, transmission, and horns.
- Special abilities, including enhanced driving techniques and a deployable wrecking ball to drag behind your vehicle.
- Multiple preset upgrades and enhancements options for every vehicle, which can also be modified freely.
Saints Row features an arsenal of available weaponry, including rifles, handguns, melee weapons, heavy and explosive weaponry, and even completely ludicrous weapons that don't fit in any conventional group. Every single weapon boasts of a wide variety of customization features, including:
- In-depth color customization, including textures and materials, for individual parts of your weapon
- Custom decals, which can be individually customized and applied to your weapon
- Complete modifications and even unique variants of every weapon
The Saints customization
Previous Saints Row titles allowed you to customize the look of your gang, and take over the city with your colors and theming. The new Saints Row will let you do the same with plenty of customization for The Saints, including:
- Customizations for the Saints HQ with a variety of decorations and options
- The ability to customize the outfits, appearances, and vehicles of your gang members
- The ability to choose how your gang spreads across the city through the establishment of criminal ventures in 14 unique locations
- The ability to access your collection of cosmetics, weapons, vehicles, and other customizations in the Saints HQ
It feels like Saints Row is guaranteeing that no two players will look the same while playing. Its colorful, it's silly, and just a tad overwhelming. Overall, I think Deep Silver has done an exceptional job of elevating the character customization experience from previous games, letting players embrace the chaos without going too far toward "outlandish."
That being said, character customization is ultimately a very small part of any game, so it remains to be seen if Saints Row can reach the lofty heights of the best Xbox games based on the little we still know. Even the end execution of all the astonishingly deep customization features we saw at the Saints Row event could fail to live up to our expectations. I have faith, but I'm still waiting before making a final verdict.
Fortunately, at least for the Saints Row character creator, we may not have to wait long.
Coming sooner than you think
Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row 4 drove adoption of its "community creations" feature by releasing its character creator as a free game demo before the full game was released. This means players could jump in and play with the creator and populate the cloud with all of their creations. At the end of the customization preview event, Deep Silver revealed that the same is happening with the Saints Row reboot.
Saints Row's impressive character creator is now slated to arrive as a standalone demo before the game's current release in August 2022, although exact timing or method was not announced. The company will share more details in the near future, and players will be able to explore and discover how easy it is to play as basically anything in Saints Row before they properly take control of The Saints.
The legendary Saints Row franchise is returning in 2022 with a brand-new entry from Deep Silver Volition. While this is a reboot that returns to the franchise's roots, the new Saints Row certainly doesn't hold back from delivering mountains of customization options to players.
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Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.