Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is one of the most promising sandbox games on the horizon right now. Its flight mechanics and multilayered cityscape promise to make exploration a blast, and with all hell let loose from the game’s outset things should get truly insane by the endgame. But one of the most exciting aspects of the game has barely been touched on until now: the Seven Deadly Weapons.
There are seven legendary weapons that can be unlocked over the course of your Gat out of Hell playthrough, each embodying one of the seven deadly sins. According to Kate Nelson, associate producer at Volition, it was a happy accident that Saints Row already has exactly seven weapon slots. As a result, there will be one deadly weapon of each type, ranging from pistols to high explosives, and you’ll be able to carry all seven of them with you at once. The Saints Row series has always had some pretty off-the-wall weapon designs (who could forget the dubstep gun and dildo bat?), but these are going to be their craziest yet. Nelson says that “having this theme around the Seven Deadly Weapons really let us explore some unusual mechanics this time around.”
We’ve already seen Armchair-A-Geddon, the minigun-mounted recliner (which is a rifle, apparently) that embodies Sloth by allowing you to mow down enemies with dual chainguns and lazily wave swarms of seeker missiles at your foes. Using the chair was definitely one of the highlights of the PAX demo, and apparently it stood out for the Dev team as well. Nelson said that Armchair-A-Geddon had the most technical challenges associated with it, “because it has unique animations, it has two modes of fire, and it’s a weapon that, when equipped, doesn’t use the standard animation set – when you equip it the character sits down in the chair. We had to think about how to make that chair move in and out seamlessly, because one moment you could be sitting in the chair and the next you want to blast off flying. So there’s certain considerations we had to make to make sure it looks right, feels right, and doesn’t get in the way of gameplay. It was a big challenge because it moves like a vehicle but behaves like a weapon.”
The SMG slot contains the Diamond Sting, a cash-loaded Uzi that embodies greed. “Wages of Sin” are the currency in hell – the collective sins of a hell-bound soul’s existence prior to death – and when you use the Diamond Sting against enemies, more wages will fall from their bodies. Diamond Sting can be seen in the shop right from the beginning of the game, and you’ll need a lot of cash to acquire it, but once you do it pays for itself. Because those extra wages can then be used to buy other equipment and upgrades, “it’s a very beneficial weapon to get early-on.”
Gluttony is embodied by the Last Supper, a special weapon that works somewhat like a flamethrower, except that instead of burning napalm it spreads delicious frosting across the battlefield. Showing a bit of a sadistic, side, Nelson clarified that this is “evil, hellish frosting, and as soon as enemies are coated in it, anyone near them will attempt to eat them to death. It’s very nice in combat because, if you coat an enemy with it, the other enemies will be distracted by wanting to eat them, so it frees you up to do other fun things – I mean, in addition to seeing people getting ransacked by other people.”
The Melee slot plays home to the flaming sword Uriel’s Edge, which “was actually inspired by a story of envy.” In concept art, one of the five Archdukes of hell “wields this fiery sword, and of course as soon as we see a fiery sword we all want it.” In addition to its close combat abilities the sword has a cool ranged alt-attack. When you slam the sword down it hurls out a large fireball, which is very useful for taking down aerial enemies.
You’ll be able to satisfy your (blood)lust with the Boom-Chicka shotgun. There were apparently “a lot of crazy ideas about what the weapon could be. Those were the discussions where we almost just went ‘ugh, *facepalm.*’” Eventually they settled on building the weapon around its gameplay purpose: enemies hit by the scattershot at a distance are hit with “lust perfume” that causes them to prance, frolick, and gyrate toward you in a humorous way. Of course, this being a shotgun, every step they take closer increases its efficacy.
The game puts good old-fashioned biblical wrath in your hands with the Ark of The Covenant, an explosive weapon very clearly inspired by Indiana Jones. The weapons is obtained from one of Satan’s top lieutenants, whose identity Nelson refused to reveal. She did say that “people who know the franchise will really appreciate seeing that character in that role,” so Saints Row nerds out there will probably have figured out who it is by noon today. The gun sucks enemy souls into its barrel before launching them at other foes, at which point the face-melting goodness will spread to nearby targets.
Nelson’s personal favourite is Gallows Dodger, a pistol that embodies pride. The thing that Nelson likes about it is that “it will talk to Kinsey or Gat, whoever is wielding it, and boast about all of its murderous escapades throughout history. It has its own backstory, and really tries to convince the player that it is the best murder-facilitator of all time.” Dodger shoots arcane blasts that fill up a rage meter, and when the meter fills up it can unleash a flurry of explosions. The gun “reacts to certain things that you’re doing, such as pulling enemies out of vehicles, or taking down certain foes.” It will even “try to egg you on a bit, saying stuff like ’oh, that’s okay’ about your kills.”
All of the normal weapons in the game – such as the locust swarm SMG and the Lil’ Croaker frog launcher – have ultimate upgrades that give them additional gameplay, but with the legendary weapons all of those mechanics will be unlocked right from the start, and can only get better from there. Nelson says they “wanted the legendary weapons to sing as soon as you get them, so with the upgrades we just take the unique mechanic that it has and turn it up.” On top of that, Gat out of Hell features superpowers (much like Saints Row IV) and “some of those powers can play off the weapons in fun ways. For example, Greed can cause a lot of wages to drop that you’ll want to run around and pick up, but we have a power called Vacuum Stomp that sucks in everything around you, which also includes wages.”
With these seven weapons in hand you’ll be able to raise any sort of hell you want when the game releases on January 20, 2015. The Saints Row games have charted a course for total insanity, and while they might not have gotten all the way there yet, I’m pretty certain “icing that makes you eat people” fits somewhere along the spectrum. I know I’ll be playing Gat out of Hell on launch day, almost certainly with a devilish grin on my face.