How will the game tempt people to drive or shoot if they can just use superpowers?
Ultimately we have always felt that SR is a game about choice. We want to offer a lot of variety for players and then let them decide how they want to play - there is no wrong way. To give an example, early in SR4 players will have super sprint allowing them to run faster than a car! However, this ability will run out of energy after a short duration. Some players may opt to keep driving cars in order to have a sustained journey. Other players may want to stick with super sprinting just because they love the feel of it. Either is a perfectly valid way to go.
Combat also presents the player with some fun options. We have designed combat to encourage players to use their offensive superpowers at the same time they use their weapons. Players have the choice of how much they want to focus on using superpowers over weapons, but i suspect players will enjoy using both at the same time.
Jason Rubin and Cliff Bleszinski have suggested that the series' adult tone is a barrier to Skyrim/Red Dead levels of success. Is that true?
Ultimately I don't think that SR's tone gets in the way of bigger sales. If anything, I think our tone is an element of our success. SR is quite unlike anything else out there, and I think gamers crave unique experiences - I know I do. We have a lot of passionate fans that love SR, so I think we are striking the right chord. Also, I do want to mention that Jason was extremely supportive if SR4 and really liked what we were doing with the game. He would often offer ideas for the game, and those ideas were never suggestions about changing our tone. He was a fan of the series and loved what we were doing.
Do you feel under pressure to outdo the wackiness of each previous instalment in the series? How long do you think that can sustained?
I wouldn't say it feels like pressure to keep upping the crazy. If anything it is liberating to be able to come up with any idea we think gamers will enjoy with no restrictions. Ultimately the pressure comes from trying to keep things fun in SR4. We have a very creative team that comes up with some fairly crazy ideas - that is almost the easy part for the team.
The challenge is to make sure these ideas have a purpose and are fun. We don't want to do crazy just for the sake of being over the top, so it is important that our crazy ideas actually add to the game. The pressure comes from having the time to really hone our idea into something that feels awesome for the player. We have had to cut any number of ideas if we thought we couldn't get the fun factor where it needs to be.
Do you think your fanbase would miss the bad taste elements of the Saints Row's universe if the generally irreverent tone was maintained?
I think our fans would miss what might considered juvenile elements of previous SR games. Based on the overall reception and sales of SR3, I strongly suspect many people enjoy this aspect of SR, even if some may not want to admit feeling that way. Thinking of a movie series like The Hangover - people love the humor but you might not want to discuss some of the finer moments of those movies with your mom, for example.
I think the same might be true for SR. We do get an awful lot of feedback from fans telling us much they love our juvenile tone - with some asking us to go even further! Ultimately SR4 doesn't try to take itself too seriously and we even have a lot of fun at our own expense.