Monday Music Appreciation: Saints Row Franchise


Saints Row Franchise

(Music directors: Various, including Malcolm Kirby and Victor Rodriguez)

Little more than a decade ago, Saints Row 2 looked at Grand Theft Auto and its glittering radio stations and said, “Oh, yeah? We can do that too,” and they did; and then, they upped the ante because that’s what Volition does—sometimes to their own detriment, but ultimately for players’ amusement. The diversity and quality of radio play throughout the Saints Row franchise provides seamless atmosphere and pleasant distraction on long journeys across sprawling city maps. The stations contribute to narrative, particularly from SR3 onward, as radio playlists reflect the various gangs across the city as well. Additionally, SR radio waves occasionally provide some foreshadowing because most of the licensed music associated with iconic moments of the game are available in vehicle (such as Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” on 107.7 The Mix).

But, Volition took that step farther and made their characters sing. One of the most popular features in the franchise (so much so as to have an achievement tied to it) is the car sing-along with the Saints Row crew. Trigger certain missions or pick the right protagonist voice and the Boss and their posse, typically Pierce (Arif S. Kinchen), spontaneously burst into song with the radio. And in pursuit of taking things too far, Volition has since experimented with musicals (Gat Out of Hell DLC) and music-driven quick-time events (“You’ve Got the Touch” in SRIV). Although plummeting from the sky to Kanye West’s “Power” or Aerosmith’s “Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” builds hype for an nonsensically epic story, the affectionate sing-alongs and witty banter capture the fundamental charisma of the Saints Row universe.

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