As I promised yesterday, we're still rolling along with the birthday celebration through the end of this week. The focus for today will be on some factoids that you may not know about the Saints Row series, plus more than a few tidbits about what goes on behind the scenes here at Volition. The first few you can read here, but since the list is somewhat large, you'll have to hit the jump below to read the rest.
â¢ Since Motion Capture is a major element in determining the personality of each character, the animation and cinematics motion capture team retained the same principle actor from SR1 to SR2 to play the Main Player Character. This actor was involved in almost every cutscene shot and animation seen in the final game and helped maintain the same character from SR1 to SR2.
â¢ No actors were harmed in the making of this video game, kinda
. SR2 has over 90 minutes of cinematics some of which were extremely action oriented. This meant that the Motion Capture of those scenes can be dangerous for the actors. During the Motion Capture shoot for the epic fight scene between the Player Character and Maero, the leader of the Brotherhood, the actor playing Maero fell from a height of 20 feet and landed head first onto a mat, injuring himself. Thankfully he was just dazed and out of it a bit for a few hours.
â¢ During the initial brainstorming of new environments for SR2, underground areas came up as a potentially unique element to add. Several real-world areas were researched including a giant underground mall in China, stalagmite caves in the Midwest, the underground areas on Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago (seen in the new Batman movie), and the historic city areas buried underground in Seattle by 19th and 20th century fires and rebuilding. Each of these areas eventually became real locations within Stilwater.
â¢ The original Saints Row had an activity called Hitman in which the player tracked down and whacked specific targets. In SR2 we improved on this activity by adding more variety and complications to the targets themselves. Four of the five Hitman lists of targets for the player to kill were made up development team members from each discipline, including Art, Design, Programming, and Project Management. The final list was based on team submitted ideas that were selected in a raffle and included some ridiculous targets such as a pants-less police officer named Lieutenant Freeball.
â¢ Gang brainstorming during the blue sky initial phase of SR2 collected some pretty unique gang ideas. We originally considered gangs made up solely of Mimes, Pimps, Revolutionaries, Schoolgirls, Goths, LARPers, and even Cos-play Hookers. After lots of brainstorming and concept art generation eventually the Ronin, Brotherhood and Sons of Samedi gangs seen in the final game came together. Since we felt some of these characters would add uniqueness to the world we retained them as individual characters rather than full gangs. The Mimes, Pimps, Goths, and even LARPers made it into the final game and can be seen walking around Stilwater.
â¢ In order to try and maintain some ties between the gangs of Saints Row 1 and 2 we made certain subtle artistic choices to link them. The Carnales cross from SR1 is incorporated into the Brotherhood wolfâs head logo. Maero, the leader of the Brotherhood, originally had ties to the Carnales in that a major character of the Carnales from SR1 was a hero for him. That is until the player character killed him in a boss fight.
â¢ Zombies are a general interest for most people on the team so we tried to include Zombies in various parts of the game, where they made sense. For instance since there is a Zombie Lin homie character in SR1 we created a Zombie Carlos homie in SR2. These homies are unlocked by calling the Eye for an Eye voodoo shop after the character is dead.
â¢ âZombie Uprisingâ, our in-world Zombie videogame was originally a city wide activity, then based in a Mall, then ultimately moved to the run down theatre where it is in the final game. Originally the game was based around saving survivors but that ended up being less compelling than just throwing wave after wave of various types of zombie enemies at the player to see if they could survive.
â¢ Customization is a major feature of SR2, because of this our player character can be extremely complex to create. The player character in SR2 is extremely customizable and as such there are almost 1,000 individual art assets that make up the player when heâs fully customized.
â¢ SR2 had such a large development team across all disciplines and outsourcing studios that it takes 16 minutes to review the credits from start to end. And to top it all off some people were even accidentally left off of the list!
â¢ What do you do with a graveyard full of blank headstones? Well you fill them with the development team memberâs names! Most development team members names can be found on the tombstones in the western suburbs graveyard.
â¢ SR2 contains over 80,000 lines of recorded dialog. This is more than multiple non-open world games combined and took months to record and then months more to clean up and export to the game. In the end a generic pedestrian on the street can react to dozens of situations with dozens of different lines. Youâll rarely hear anyone say the same thing more than once.
â¢ At its peak, our SR2 team contained more than 100 developers. This number does not include QA, studio management or outsourcing teams. The SR2 team was so huge that not every person on the team could fit into any single conference room in the building for team meetings.
â¢ The fastest recorded play time for 100% completion
in single player is 15 hours, 30 minutes (normal difficulty). This time was accomplished by the QA team using various strategies they devised using Respect multiplying methods and Taunts. Comparatively, the SR2 design team took more than 25 hours to reach 100% completion
â¢ Action nodes are a part of the LIFE system developed for SR2 to add life and variety to the people of Stilwater. There are more than 20,000 hand-placed action nodes in the world that took months to put down along with 15,000 action nodes that are linked to objects like chairs and benches. There are 244 total types of unique actions that the player could witness while playing the game. The player can himself use many of these action nodes in order to smoke, drink, read, sit, and even dance. You can read more about them here
â¢ SR2 supports 13 separate languages. Localizing text for all of the various languages was a huge task that fills up an enormous spreadsheet, took weeks to fully translate, and is a great way to learn new languages. Ever wonder how to say just about every swear word under the sun in those 13 languages? Just look through our spreadsheet!
â¢ For cinematics in SR2, the desire was to keep them interesting, so many of these cinematics featured very action oriented scenes. In order to capture the dynamism of those scenes lots of cameras were used. Least amount of cameras in a cinematic: 1. Most amount of cameras in a cinematic: 149.
Happy Birthday Saints Row 2! Tomorrow I'll finish up with some of my favorite community creations from the past year.
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