Saints Row 2 "very differentiated"

On a different path to GTA, says THQ.

Saints Row 2 will be very distinct from Grand Theft Auto IV when it launches in October on PC, PS3 and 360, says THQ chief executive Brian Farrell.

"We have a very differentiated product in this open-world genre," Farrell said at an investor meeting in Chicago yesterday, in comments recorded by Next-gen.biz.

Farrell said the game would be more "tongue-in-cheek" with "silly, over-the-top gameplay" compared to its big rival, GTA IV. Developer Volition has previously spoken about the game's tremendous levels of customisation, which will feed into how much respect you accrue from your colleagues and rivals in Stillwater's battle for the streets.

When we first looked at it in March, producer Greg Donovan prefigured Farrell's comments: "I think for us it's almost about a hyper-realistic quality, over-the-top, all about memorable moments, very compelling gameplay, and frankly we wouldn't be releasing this year if we didn't think we could be competitive," he said.

"I think co-op is a huge distinguishing factor," he added. GTA IV did ultimately include some co-op elements in online multiplayer, but Saints Row 2 aims to have drop-in/drop-out functionality.

"We're always concerned about GTA as a competitor," Farrell said yesterday. "It's a great product, the leader in the genre. But we were actually very pleased when we saw GTA IV. It's a great game, but they went in this great creative direction - more character- and story-driven."

It's not hard to believe that THQ thinks about GTA a lot, mind you, given that it never seems to stop talking about it. We even had a trailer recently parodying Rockstar's game. As long as people are talking about the two products in the same breath, presumably that's job done - despite an aggressive backlash against the trailer in certain quarters.

We'll be able to see for ourselves how distinct Saints Row 2 is on 17th October in Europe, and one way that it will definitely be distinct from GTA IV is by coming out on PC at the same time as the PS3 and 360 releases.

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