While digital and physical sales of the Saints Row reboot hit a strong second place in both American and European markets, the open-world crime sim was denied first place by Madden NFL 23 and Grand Theft Auto V, respectively. While second place isn’t bad, the Saints Row reboot has actually been a bit of a flop, at least as far as Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors is concerned.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, 7.7 million games sold in tracked European territories during the month of August, and 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V lead the pack. Saints Row came in at second, sandwiched between Rockstar’s god-tier mega hit and FIFA 22. And in the States, Video Game Chronicle has the NPD stats, showing the crime reboot losing out to Madden NFL 23. Quite a duo: Madden NFL 23 had disastrous reviews, and GTA V came out (exhales) nine years ago.
To be fair, Saints Row didn’t launch until August 23, while GTA V was of course available during the entire month. (Madden came out on August 19.) But Embracer CEO Lars Wingefors seems pretty down on its performance, too. Axios’ Stephen Totilo reports that during an investor call today, Wingefors described the crime-sim reboot as “one of the harder ones” for the company to see a return on. He’s hoping to see a “greater reception” on the game and that, while it certainly won over some players, many others haven’t been convinced.
It wasn’t all gloom and doom, however. Wingefors stressed that the company needs to “wait until the quarterly report in November to have more details.” Responding to inquiries about the future of the franchise, Wingefors highlighted his trust in those working on the game and said that any potential decisions are uncertain for now.
Asked if this game's performance will impact the franchise's future:
"Obviously you always want every installment of any IP to be greater than the last one, but what you do is...evaluate your position, the outcome ...
— Stephen Totilo (@stephentotilo) September 21, 2022
2022’s Saints Row, a reboot of the long-running open-world crime series, has been fighting an uphill battle since its somewhat polarizing reveal last year. Though the series has always played second fiddle to the GTA titan, its reappearance hasn’t been terribly well received by critics and fans alike, though Kotaku’s Zack Zwiezen found it a fun-enough time.
It’s one thing to contemplate what a modern Saints Row would need to look like and achieve in order to be as popular with gamers as it once was; it’s another to consider how anything at this point could unseat something that remains as remarkably popular as Grand Theft Auto V. Aside, that is, from its recently-leaked-to-all-hell sequel.