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Volition teases Saints Row 3 "surprises"

Some Red Faction devs to join Saints team.

Saints Row: The Third will deliver "fantastic surprises", Volition has promised.

The over-the-top open world gangster game, which launches "around Christmas", "looks phenomenal" Volition studio manager Eric Barker told Eurogamer today.

But Baker offered a cagey response when asked whether Saints Row: The Third uses the latest iteration of the Geo-Mod engine – the tech powering Red Faction: Armageddon's impressive destruction physics.

"I can't talk too much about Saints just yet," he teased. "You've got some fantastic surprises ahead. The game looks fantastic. It's wonderful. Everybody's really excited about it."

As well as Red Faction and Saints Row, Volition has the Guillermo del Toro-inspired game inSANE in the works, due out at some point in 2013.

That's three huge titles currently bubbling under at the Champaign, Illinois studio – a slate most developers would struggle with. But Barker told Eurogamer the staggered launch of the games keeps Volition's workload manageable.

"What's very lucky for Volition is it's all been well planned," he said. "Armageddon releases in late May. Saints Row 3 is coming out at the end of this year. inSANE is 2013. It's staggered."

This, Baker explained, enables Volition developers to jump from project to project in a fluid fashion. Indeed when third-person destruction game Red Faction: Armageddon launches at the end of May (beginning of June in the UK), some of the developers will join the Saints Row team.

"Because of that it allows some of Armageddon's great team members to roll onto Saints," Baker said. "Then you've still got more than another year before inSANE is shown. So, plenty of time for people to roll onto the next project.

"We announced inSANE in late 2010 for a 2013 release. You can imagine how far along that project is.

"We're excited to have so much fantastic content. Red Faction being over a decade, four games; Saints Row, it'll be the third iteration, which people are just really excited about; and to be working with a visionary film director like Guillermo del Toro, who is a mad gamer himself, it's just fantastic.

"But luckily with them staggered like that, it's manageable."

Little is known about Saints Row: The Third. The player controls the leader of crime gang the Third Street Saints in the fictional city of Steelport. There's a rival gang, The Syndicate, which turns up and causes trouble.