The Saints Row reboot has reportedly seen an 80% drop in physical sales in the UK the week after it launched, tumbling down the charts.
YouTuber Vara Dark discussed the claim in her video, citing GamesIndustry.biz‘ report on the UK boxed sales charts for the week ending September 3rd. Sure enough they reported “Saints Row saw an 80% drop in sales compared to last week and falls to No.6.” The prior week it had been at the number 1 position.
This means the reboot was being outsold by games that were over 7 months old (Horizon Forbidden West), and even 5 years old (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe). While the genres and styles of those games are different to Saints Row, it should be noted Nintendo’s popular racing game has been further supported by post-launch DLC.
Saints Row was also outsold by new launches including The Last of Us: Part 1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection, and F1 Manager 2022.
It should be noted that, even though Saints Row fell to the 9th place in UK boxes sales the following week — ending September 10th — the game was reportedly the best selling digital game of September 2022 in the UK. It fell only behind Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga in physical sales. Saints Row also sold 21% more on Xbox platforms.
Vara highlights how the Saints Row social media account pushed back against fans of the original series, hating how it looked in early trailers. They had dismissed criticisms of censorship and the main cast being unlikeable, with declarations they were proud of what they had made, and wouldn’t be changing anything.
The Last of Us: Part 1 reportedly sold half the copies Saints Row did in its launch week. Vara notes this isn’t that abnormal. She explains the former also received some backlash on social media — partly due to not offering refunds or replacements for damaged Firefly Editions — and the game is a remake as oppose to a truly brand new game.
Even so, Vara finds the game dropping to the number 6 position in its second week, with an 80% drop in sales, is terrible. Yet, the news was not surprising to her.
On launch the game was loathed by both critics and independent reviewers; condemning it for its dated, poor story and characters, uninspired gameplay, and being riddled with bugs. Embracer Group, the parent company to publisher Deep Silver, saw its shares fall 7% as reviews went live. It was supposed to be the holding company’s first AAA release after numerous acquisitions this year.
Vara also reminded viewers that the game was delayed for an additional six months for “extra polish,” though stated it “clearly needed more than polishing.” She proposes those extra months were actually spent on trying to patch the game to the best of their ability, or crunch-time working conditions, or the delayed date was the maximum the publisher or superiors allowed.
The YouTuber isn’t entirely forgiving of the developers however, claiming some had ranted online and lost any good will. “Their were still developers going on social media going basically saying ‘you’re -ists if you don’t like this game,’ ‘you’re a terrible person if you don’t like this game and, you know what, don’t just purchase it; we don’t like you.'”
After comparing it to other titles — Elden Ring and Battlefield 2042 being the best sellers for their respective months but with polar opposite receptions — Vara noted the game’s poor user scores on Metacritic across all platforms.
At the time of her video, she noted Saints Row had user scores of 1.5 (Xbox One), 2.2 (PlayStation 4), with other platforms noted as sitting between 2.3 to 2.6. At this time of writing, user scores are between 1.7 to 3.0, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 scores being marginally higher from the date of Vara’s video.
Much like critics and other reviewers, the user reviews are also shown deriding Saints Row for its story, characters, tone, gameplay, and bugs. Some also highlighted the game’s poor PR when fans were outright telling the publisher and developer what they didn’t want, and that they preferred the original games. Several had also sworn of developer Volition as “woke.”
“I feel the same exact way at this point,” Vara concludes, “I feel like Saints Row is kind of dead, I don’t see Volition changing their ways in the future, I don’t see them going in the opposite direction.”
“At this point they have definitely committed to going woke, and unfortunately for them, it seems they’re going broke too, as their sales are dropping, user reviews are awful, everyone is still laughing at this game on social media, and I think that it’s safe to say that this title is a fail for them.”