Saints Row: The Third Vehicle Improvements

By Jonathan Barnes, 5 years ago
You know what I love about open world games?

The walking.

All kidding aside, vehicles are needed to find your way around virtually every open world game, from your trusty steed in Red Dead Redemption to the classic vehicles of, vehicles make transversing the environments easier, more varied and ultimately satisfying.

On the flip side, driving in open world games can be a real pain. Fortunately, the team at Volition is working hard to make improvements in the vehicles for their upcoming Saints Row: The Third. Here are their big focus points of improvement as well as a video to show off some highlights.


The "herky jerky handbrake" from past Saints Row offerings is gone so that drifting now maintains the flow of high-speed driving instead of interrupting it. The David Bianchi explains the new "drift button" in their most-recent developer blog:

An interesting note on the new drifting system: it’s not actually a handbrake. There are many ways to drift and handbrake drifting (commonly used in games) is just one of them. Since it’s not a handbrake, hitting the drift button in Saints Row: The Third won’t slow you down too aggressively, allowing you to better maintain speed as you take the corner. It will, however, allow you to take a tighter turn and you’ll look better doing it.

When driving in a game, nothing feels worse than having a Mack Truck slam into a Pinto and see equal damage. Fortunately, the Saints Row: The Third team agrees and has improved the sense of weight in all of the cars which will create more satisfying collisions.

Damage Model

Cars go crunch and will now look MORE crunchy! In addition to body damage, tire damage will now be more varied all the way from blowouts to your average (as average can be in a Saints Row game) flat tire. As an added bonus, cars can be flattened, Bigfoot style, by the new tanks.

Yes... TANKS.


Saints Row: The Third will feature another new type of vehicle which has the slick acronym, VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing). Much like a Harrier Jet Fighter, these craft can take off vertically (like a helicopter), hover in place and target enemies with a high degree of precision. Then, at the press of a button, blast off like an airplane.

Bianchi goes on to assuage some fears about the flying:

Of course, what’s the point in being in a plane if you can’t fly it? One issue that was made painfully clear in playtests is that most players had major issues with the planes in Saints Row 2. To address this, we’ve gone back to formula and rewritten our airplane handling from scratch. The result is something far more arcadey, and much simpler to pick up and play. The new planes have been a big hit, but if you prefer the old, hardcore method don’t fear. It can still be accessed using an advanced option.

With all of these overhauls in vehicle design, performance and functionality, one can only assume that the sound of the vehicles is getting a new coat of aural paint as well. From new engine and drift sounds to the "dying tyrannosaurus" screech of a garbage truck attempting to drift, the audio team has spared no expense.

It's Still Fun!

The team does want to reinforce that they are NOT taking away from the "arcadey feel" of the previous games, however. These (and the rest of the changes/tweaks) are aimed at building upon the outrageous action rather than giving it a higher degree of verisimilitude.

Now that you've done your day's worth of reading, enjoy the video that shows some of these improvements in action!

Saints Row: The Third is scheduled for a November 15th release in North America and Australia, and a November 18th release in Europe.

Thanks to the many community members who suggested this!
Jonathan Barnes
Written by Jonathan Barnes
Jonathan has been a news/views contributor since 2010. When he's not writing reviews, features, and opinion pieces, he spends his days working as an informal science educator and his nights as an international man of mystery.