Saints Row 2 is among my favorite games of all time. It was the first one where the devs stopped trying to make gritty GTA clones and instead created a gangster sandbox that didn’t take itself seriously. Yet it was also before they veered off the deep end into wacky zany nonsensical insanity, which leaves Saints Row 2 as the perfect middle child of both worlds. Its one major problem is that the PC port is downright terrible, making it a chore to even see the great game underneath the choppy framerate, unplayable vehicle sections and constant crashes.
But all that will soon be a thing of the past. Volition has announced that they’ve found the source code for the game! Fans of the series have known for years that the SR2 source code was the missing link needed for a new port to ever happen, and Volition devs Thomas Jepp and Mike Watson finally obtained a copy through repeated queries to THQ, the long-bankrupt company that sold Volition the Saints Row rights. Mike Watson is well-known in the Saints Row modding community as IdolNinja, the creator of the Gentlemen of the Row omni-mod that most other SR2 mods use to function and remains a mandatory download to get the current PC port to even run. IdolNinja was hired by Volition due to his outstanding work in the Saints Row modding community, and he mentions on stream that this SR2 rerelease has been one of his personal white whales because he knows the game deserves it. And I agree 100%!
Joining IdolNinja on this project is Jim Boone, a Volition programmer who’s worked extensively on the Saints Row website and will be handling the technical aspects, while IdolNinja is the project manager. (He was the one that created the system for saving, uploading, and downloading player characters via the Saints Row website, though he didn’t mention whether the new Saints Row 2 will be compatible going forward.) As a team of two, they’ll be the ones updating the source code for PC and also (this is my favorite part!) incorporating all the DLC missions, which until now have been Playstation-only.
The Polygon article I linked to has a lot of great info, but the stream gave a lot more the author didn’t mention. So, to go into everything we know about the upcoming rerelease:
1) They have no timeline on when it will release: this is a labor of love, and IdolNinja wants this to be the definitive PC version he’s always dreamed of.
2) The rerelease will be a new Steam game with a new ID, the old port and its saves won’t be affected.
3) The new rerelease will be free to anyone who owns the current Saints Row 2 port on Steam!
4) There will be multiplayer capability; Jim Boone has already gotten it working, and has been playtesting the whole game in multiplayer to check for bugs.
5) IdolNinja has plans to create a new Gentlemen of the Row for the new version of SR2, though he notes that right now the port is his primary focus and he probably won’t be doing anything with GotR until this new port is released.
And that’s it for now. Personally, I’m super excited IdolNinja is the driving force behind this project, because he’s talked at length about how he wants this to be a love letter to the SR community and a platform for modders to turn the game into whatever they want. As a big name in the SR modding community, he’s more than proved his dedication to this endeavor, and I would be buying this rerelease for $60 if they weren’t so graciously releasing it for free.
Thanks again Jim, Mike, and Volition for putting in some serious effort to find SR2’s source code and give the game the PC port it deserves! If you’re as excited as I am, I encourage you to give IdolNinja thank-yous and encouragement on Twitter!