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Saints Row: Boss Factory Preview - Shaping up to be a good time

Delve deep into the rich customization features of the upcoming Saints Row reboot (Images via Deep Silver/Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Delve deep into the rich customization features of the upcoming Saints Row reboot (Images via Deep Silver/Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

A new trailer for Saints Row was showcased at the recent Summer Game Fest 2022 event. The upcoming open-world action-adventure from developer Volition aims to take the GTA-inspired series in a new direction while retaining its over-the-top vibe. The footage highlights a variety of custom avatars that players can shape their Boss into.

While the full game itself is still a couple of months away, the team has finally released their Boss Factory character creator demo to the public. This allows players to get a sneak peek at the changes made to the creation tool of the upcoming action-adventure title. We've already got our hands on it and here's our impression.


Saints Row: Boss Factory is a promising start for the reboot

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The basic gist of the Boss Factory is to allow players to create their Boss character before the game launches. This way, fans can take their time creating their player character. Character creation is a minute process after all, especially when the tools offered allow one to mold the protagonist as desired. Well, Saints Row's customization suite offers just that.

For starters, it is, in fact, a noticeable improvement over the predecessor Saints Row 4, offering new options to allow players to shape their Boss as per their tastes. Let's take a closer look at the variety of options included in this suite.


Your Boss, your call

What build do you prefer? (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
What build do you prefer? (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

Those who have stuck with the Saints Row series since the start will be intimately familiar with the new look offered in this demo. The layout and options are very similar to Image As Designed, the character customization shops from Saints Row 3 and 4. Players will start off with presets that can be further expanded upon and changed entirely in many ways.

Booting into the main screen, players are greeted with a plethora of tabs that can be checked out. Let's go through them one by one:

1) Outfits

Looking classy (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Looking classy (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

These are varied and include a wide assortment of attire. This includes Head (further split into Helmets, Hats, Upper Face and Lower Face), Upper (Shirts, Jackets, Necklaces, Underwear, Hands and Wrists), Lower (Underwear, Bottoms), Feet (Socks, Shoes) and Full Body (pre-made unique outfits)

There is a healthy variety in each accessory/clothing option. From several sunglasses and wristwatches to a number of jackets and jeans. Items like face face masks and rings can also be donned to further personify the character.

All of these are malleable, with different Colors and Material quality (though in the demo only the basic Material was available). Admittedly, some clothing options did look far too bland in comparison to others, almost as if from a PS3-era game.


2) Body

Customize physique with the Build option (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Customize physique with the Build option (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

Next is the Body section where players can change their Build: determine Figure as well as Chest Size and Groin Size. Build is essentially a free-form slider and covers skinny, ripped and fat body categories at and between each edge of the triangle.

Figure determines the hip-to-chest ratio, with higher values slimming down the Boss. The other two are self-explanatory, offering a slider that can go up to exaggerated values for those areas. Volition allows choosing prosthetics as well, just one of the many hints at inclusivity in the game.

The Modesty option allows toggling the character's innerwear, which is useful when streaming footage of the game.


3) Skin

Determine the Boss' skin features (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Determine the Boss' skin features (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

This tab features the following options:

  • Skin Types: Essentially skin tones, from the palest of white to darkest of blacks - and nearly everything between.
  • Skin Tint: In addition to the tone, skin can also be colored, from vibrant reds and blues to metallic like gold and silver.
  • Muscle Definition: A slider to exaggerate muscle tone
  • Veins: Increase visibility and density veins on the skin
  • Glossiness: Increase skin glossiness

There are also cosmetic categories for the skin, like a variety of Scars, Tans and Body Hair options. Pretty detailed, in one word.


4) Hair

I like ya cut g (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
I like ya cut g (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

With the Hair category, players can style up their boss with their hairstyle of choice, or maybe none at all. There's Hairstyle, Facial Hair, Eyebrows and Eyelashes. Each offers a decent number of options, including for coloring.

It is interesting to note that options under most of these are entirely new, with only a handful of hairstyles and facial hair returning from previous games.


5) Head

Look at the number of tweakable parameters (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Look at the number of tweakable parameters (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

The Head category is by far the most feature-rich. Besides picking the Head Shape from a pre-defined set, there's Forehead, Brows, Eyes, Nose, Cheeks, Jaw, Chin, and more.

Each has at least three to over a dozen sliders to play around with. This includes Eye Color and Type. All of these sliders change the target head part with noticeable changes, granting precise control over the character features. Impressive, to say the least.


6) Face

This adds a finer layer of personality to the Boss (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
This adds a finer layer of personality to the Boss (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

Somewhat similar to Skin, Face allows for changes in aspects like Complexion, Wrinkles and Scars. Players can also apply makeup and accessories, like piercings. Small but effective details, though most of the piercings seem far too small to be really noticeable.


7) Tattoos

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One of the many returning customization options are Tattoos. They can be equipped to the Head, Arms, Torso, Back and Legs. They have finer subcatgories like wrists, lower right leg, and so on.

Most have a fine selection, however the final game will have more on offer. This is across all accessories (like clothes and headwear), and not just the tats.


8) Personality

Lend the boss a voice (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Lend the boss a voice (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

Players can pick a voice for the Boss as well as allow emotes. The voice pitch slider is oddly missing from Saints Row 3 and 4, and the emotes are more limited in comparison too. But as mentioned before, perhaps the final product will see additions.


9) Share and Import Bosses

Players can get pretty creative (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)
Players can get pretty creative (Screenshot from Saints Row: Boss Factory demo)

Once everything is done, players can choose to upload and share their custom Bosses with the world. In turn, they may browse the vast selection of user-created Bosses and download one for their own use.

I should also mention that there were some bugs, including one where the demo did not save one of my characters at all even after clicking the save option. There are also some minor glitches with clothes clipping, skin tone bugs, etc, but this is a demo after all.

But all in all, besides some new additions like the teeth, it is a familiar and welcome experience. The character creator is easily one of the most complex out on the market right now, easily surpassing its predecessors with flying colors. The Boss Factory demo can be downloaded for free from each platform's digital storefronts i.e., Epic Games Store for PC, Xbox store and PlayStation Store.

Given how robust this creation tool is, we can't wait to see how the full game fares. Saints Row is set to be released on August 23, 2022. It will be available for PC, PS4, PS5, XB1 and XSX|S.


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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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