Volition: Sarkeesian right to criticize Saints Row

"We never call a woman a 'ho' in Saints Row 4" says creative director

Steve Jaros, creative director at Volition, has supported the work of Anita Sarkeesian and admitted that there are things the studio's Saints Row franchise could change.

"I think it's fair to be called out on your shit," he told The Escapist.

"I think that it's a sad man that can never be self-reflective. I think that we tried to go and carry ourselves with respect, and try to respect sexuality and respect gender as much as we can, and sometimes we fail but hopefully we'll do better and continue to get better."

He also praised some of the decisions the studio had made in regard to the sex workers portrayed in the game.

"It's very minor but it means something to me. We never call a woman a 'ho' in Saints Row 4, we call them sex workers. We respect that that's their position and we don't take a cheap shot at them for that. It's a minor thing, but it's something ... It's the right thing to do," he explained.

"There's a reason that none of the Saints Row characters ever get naked, it's a conscious choice. Viola and Kiki are sex workers in Saints Row 3, but they are the most covered up characters. They're wearing turtlenecks, leggings and a skirt over leggings. They don't show an inch of skin, and it was by design, because we didn't want to sexually objectify them."

The series has faced criticism in the past, including from one of its own producers, for its use of adult entertainment stars to promote the franchise.

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Latest comments (4)

I'm so happy to see this! I loved SR3 and SR4(and they're still a very rare example of a game that allows you to play a badass overweight woman), but the use/treatment of 'hos' in SR3 made me uncomfortable. I hope the games continue to become more aware and progressive as the series goes on.

This is what progress looks like. Developers examining, discussing and taking responsibility for their work.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany4 years ago
This is a good example of taking critics in a mature way. A lot of gamers (and member of the industry) should take note.

As of today, After you get an M there is no such a problem with that (The Witcher II, for example)
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Craig Burkey Software Engineer 4 years ago
Saints Row 2 had the most shocking scene I've ever played in a computer game, to the point I skipped Saints Row 3 as I didn't really think it appealed to me, the scene in question involved tying up a rivals girlfriend in the boot of a car as he drove over it in a monster truck, I respect the right of Volition to include the scene though, it certainly had an impact on me.
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James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada4 years ago
SR is also a good example of a series that has strong female characters - Kinzie, and Shaundi (who's SR3/4 version is one of my favourite video game characters ever). It also depicts males in dominated roles - Zimos and the chariot race was hilarious. Bring on Gat out of Hell!
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