LOS ANGELES—A producer for the popular Saints Row video game franchise has voiced her concerns over game developer Volition's use of porn stars and Penthouse Pets as characters in the game's second and third editions.
"I did not always love how much THQ put an emphasis on porn stars," Saints Row 4 associate producer Kate Nelson told Edge. "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."
Saints Row, known among gamers for its sexual humor, mounted a huge marketing campaign to promote the adult stars' and Penthouse Pets' involvement with the franchise.
Nikki Benz, Sasha Grey, Tera Patrick, Justine Joli, Ryan Keely and Heather Vandeven played characters in Saints Row: The Third. In the game, Benz and the other Penthouse Pets join the Saints as gang members who can be called into combat. The quartet of scantily-clad shooters takes on the syndicate on the streets, alleys and skies of the game's city.
Saints Row publisher THQ’s promotion of Patrick as a special producer on Saints Row 2 particularly rankled Nelson and Volition, she said.
“Saying that someone who had no industry experience was in a role that is sexualized as a producer of our project, or saying the penthouse girls are our QA staff—I just…I can see the humor in that angle of promotion but for me that’s the line where it gets into reality," Nelson told Edge.
“Saints Row, in lots of ways, has empowered minorities and empowered women, which I think is important to get across.”