Saints Row 4 associate producer Kate Nelson has admitted that THQ's enlisting pornstars to promote previous games in the series struck her and others at developer Volition as inappropriate. The point of boobs in Saints Row is that they're tongue-in-cheek boobs, you see.
"I did not always love how much THQ put an emphasis on porn stars," Nelson told Edge in an interview. "In Saints Row 2 and Saints Row 3 there was an emphasis on the penthouse girls, and earlier Tera Patrick. I think it's important in marketing games to make sure that the essence of the game is what's being marketed, and I think the porn star angle didn't really fit in with what Saints Row is at heart, which is a parody. We like to poke fun.
"You can be an important female character - you don't have to have a D cup either," she continued. "You can be large woman, a small woman - you can be blue. You can be who you want to be in the game and you have powerful female characters written into the narrative."
Having played Saints Row 4 for an hour or two, I can confirm the presence of large, small and blue women. My blue woman had a metallic finish, and red dreadlocks. It's a free country.
"I think our game actually does represent women in a positive way," Nelson added. "But the press will focus on, oh hey, there are strippers, or there's a dildo bat - it's unfortunate from my perspective that that doesn't come through. Because I hear women talk on panels and they're like 'there are no people that look like me in games'.
"Well, actually in my game [the main character] can look like you as our customization system is so extensive. We don't get that across in our marketing or in the press because it's difficult - we only have 30 seconds to explain."
The "appointment" of Tera Patrick as a "producer" didn't go down particularly well at Volition, according to Nelson. "Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualised as a producer of our project, or saying the penthouse girls are our QA staff - I just...I can see the humour in that angle of promotion but for me that's the line where it gets into reality.
"Saints Row in a lots of ways has empowered minorities and empowered women, which I think is important to get across."
You'll be relieved to know that my Saints Row 4 hands-on mentions pornstars only once - tucked away in the introduction, where absolutely nobody will see. More forgivably, Log's subsequent and more optimistic preview takes a moment to tell PRs off for hiring pole dancers.
Volition's no longer the property of THQ, of course - it's now owned by Koch Media, publisher of Dead Island: Riptide and this plastic effigy of a butchered female torso. Oh dear.