How the Death of THQ Might Have Helped the Saints Row Mod Community
Modding has a long history in games; from the communities surrounding Valve games to Just Cause 2, fans are always excited to add their own spin to games (especially sandbox games).
Still, up until recently, the Saints Row franchise was lacking a supported mod community. The Saints Row franchise is known for its emphasis on customization and wackiness. You can beat a man to death with a giant purple dildo, and that's not a mod. Still, fans wanted to create their own mods, and were stifled by THQ. Evidently THQ told Volition, the developers of Saints Row, to basically ignore the mod community. They didn't try to stop the modders, but they weren't going to help them either. Mike "IdolNinja" Watson, developer of the Gentlemen of the Row and Gentlemen of Steelport, said that for 2 years mods' emails were ignored.
The mod community for Saints Row has existed for years, but it's never had any of the assistance that say Half-Life 2 modders receive. Every quirk the Saints Row engine has, mod makers had to find on their own, and they didn't receive any development tools to help them create.
Then THQ imploded.
With the death of THQ and the upcoming release of Saints Row 4, Watson tried once again to get in contact with Volition, to get some assistance for the mod community. He says he just wanted a dedicated email where he could send questions about file formats, etc. Instead, Volition informed him they were giving him more than that.
Without THQ to hinder the efforts, Volition was excited to help out the mod community. For years, Volition team members had evidently wanted to help out modders, and now that they could, they were ready to give modders development kits and direct support from 15 employees.
Jeff Thompson, Volition's studio director of programmers told Penny Arcade:
"We are just at the beginning of things, and this is a grassroots effort within Volition. By that I mean, right now, it's entirely fueled by people within Volition who want to do this...Even with that load they and others are on IM talking with IdolNinja [Mike Watson] and Minimaul, getting tools modified to work for modders, developing an early modding [software development kit] for release, and answering questions on the saintsrowmods.com forum."
The mod community is ecstatic. Watson said in a blog post:
"I have had to pinch myself repeatedly and reread emails to prove that they were actually real and not some kind of crazy fever dream"
The kit will evidently contain packages for modders containing documentation, file formats, tools, and more for the Saints Row: The Third engine, as well as information for Saints Row 2 and hopefully for Saints Row 4 as well. For a community that has so far subsisted on what it can glean on its own, this is a very big deal.