Saints Row developer is being shifted to Gearbox following tepid launch

saints row reboot
(Image credit: Deep Silver)

After a lukewarm reception to the Saints Row reboot, Embracer Group has announced that it'll be plucking Volition from Plaion (formerly Koch Media) and handing it to Gearbox instead.

As part of its quarterly financial report, Embracer looked back at how Saints Row performed and the future of its developer. While the parent company said that "financially, Saints Row has performed well in line with management expectations," critical reception was a different story. "The reception of Saints Row did not meet full expectations and left the fanbase partially polarized," Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors said. "The game development studio, Volition, has been working hard to improve the player experience."

As a result, Embracer is internally transferring Volition from one of its operating groups to another. "Going forward, Volition will transition to become part of Gearbox which has all the tools, including an experienced management team in the US, to create future success at Volition. This is the first internal group transfer where we transfer a major studio between operative groups, but it is not necessarily the last."

Saints Row screen

(Image credit: Deep Silver)

It's a rather vague explanation behind the move, but perhaps Gearbox will be a better fit for the Volition team than Plaion. As Wingefors said, Saints Row didn't exactly have the best comeback. Jody found it was a little too restrained, awarding it a 60 in his Saints Row review. "Saints Row is always at its best when it cuts loose, when it goes full dubstep-gun stupid, and the reboot forgets that for long stretches. When it remembers, you get things like a storyline in which you take part in a citywide LARP, fighting Mad Max roleplayers with foam weapons while dressed in cardboard armour, and that's the kind of daftness it could do with more of."

Wingefors himself acknowledged that player reception was disappointing shortly after launch. "Obviously, personally I had hoped for a greater reception of the game," he said."It's been a very polarised view, and there is a lot of things that could be said and entails around it, but I am happy to see a lot of gamers and fans happy. At the same time, I'm a bit sad to see also fans not happy. It's difficult." A November Saints Row update promises to be "a beast," coming with over 200 fixes and quality-of-life updates.

The studio switcheroo isn't the only news to come from the quarterly financial report—Dead Island 2 has also been delayed. Yes, again.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.