The first gameplay footage for the Saints Row reboot comes in a 7-minute developer diary shedding more light on the game's setting, characters, and factions.

First Saints Row Gameplay Revealed in Welcome to Santo Ileso Trailer

The first gameplay footage for the Saints Row reboot comes in a 7-minute developer diary shedding more light on the game's setting, characters, and factions.

Fan opinion of the Saints Row reboot is certainly divided since it was officially unveiled at Gamescom, and while the American Southwest setting of Santo Ileso might want to stay “strange,” things do feel a lot more grounded so far. 

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Regardless of how sentiment eventually pans out, Saints Row is surely still about building a criminal empire and taking on rival factions to make that dream a reality. There’s also a lot of shooting, bludgeoning, and general violence to go around as you make your way to the top of Ileso’s most-wanted list.  

The newest trailer, which sees various members of the Volition development talking about the game’s setting, characters, factions, and more, contains the first snippets of Saints Row gameplay peppered throughout the 7:20 runtime.

Aside from “brutal” street melees and gunfights in nightclubs, there are helicopter battles and deadly (if visually stunning) laser shows. Explosions abound, there are glimpses of what look to be Mad-Max-style escort missions, and there’s something to do with a few barrels of nuclear waste, though it’s not clear what. 

As we learned in the reveal trailer, the Saints are made up of four new characters, but “Welcome to Santo Ileso” goes into their backgrounds in a bit more depth.

The Boss is the player character and is described as a “charismatic murder machine.” Eli is into subterfuge over outright conflict. Nina knows cars and how to get her squad out of danger fast. And though the developers don’t know why Kevin is shirtless, he nonetheless aspires to be a TV chef who runs around shooting folks in his downtime. Everybody’s got to have a hobby…

Standing in their way are three wildly different factions: Marshall, the militarist megacorp with laser guns; The Panteros, “tough and brutal” gang members that wield devastating melee weapons and explosives; and The Idols, Deadmau5 acolytes (my words, not theirs) that depend on sheer numbers and all kinds of small arms to overwhelm their enemies. 

From the looks of it, each faction will require specific strategies to take down based on their kits and ways of doing business. But you’ll have everything from pistols and assault rifles to rocket launchers and miniguns at your disposal to take them down, shaping Santo Ileso into your own felonious utopia along the way. 

Saints Row is set to release on February 22, 2022, for PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Series X|S, and PC via the Epic Games Store. Pre orders are available now. Stay tuned for more info between now and then. 


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Jonathan Moore
Jonathan Moore is the Editor-in-Chief of GameSkinny and has been writing about games since 2010. With over 1,200 published articles, he's written about almost every genre, from city builders and ARPGs to third-person shooters and sports titles. While patiently awaiting anything Dino Crisis, he consumes all things Star Wars. He has a BFA in Creative Writing and an MFA in Creative Writing focused on games writing and narrative design. He's previously been a newspaper copy editor, ad writer, and book editor. In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, watching football, and walking his three dogs. He lives on Earth and believes in aliens, thanks to Fox Mulder.