Saints Row Devs Form Blazing Lizard

Former Volition staffers Sandeep Shekar, Jiovanie Velazquez and Christopher Stockman have left the Saints Row (X360) developer to found the just-announced Blazing Lizard studio, which will focus on downloadable console offerings.

Shekar, who acted as Volition's studio artist manager, serves as company president. Stockman and Velazquez, both of whom led the Saints Row design team, respectively occupy the roles of studio director and creative director. All three lead the core development team.

Based in Savoy, Illinois, Blazing Lizard is currently working on an original IP it claims will "take the fledgling console downloadable genre by storm." The developer plans to formally unveil its first title August 13.

From The Chatty
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    August 8, 2007 8:05 AM

    The art direction of Saints Row was the weakest thing about the game.


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      August 8, 2007 8:15 AM

      Creativity wasn't exactly its strong point either. Judging by the amount of innovation in Saint's Row, I expect this new downloadable game to be a Geometry Wars clone.

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        August 8, 2007 8:33 AM

        I thought Saints Row did a really good job polishing and refining the GTA game style. Waypoints were really good and I really liked the variety in random missions. I was far less frustrated from Saints Row than I was a lot of time in GTA.

        So, super But they made a good game.

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          August 8, 2007 9:07 AM

          Polishing and refining? Have you played San Andreas?

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            August 8, 2007 1:55 PM

            GTA:SA is the superior game, hands down, but SR did do some things better and was also a great, if not particularly original, game overall.

            With GTA:IV delayed until next year and Crackdown completed I would very much like for the SR sequel to come out right now.

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        August 8, 2007 9:04 AM

        A gta inspired game? yeah. buggy? a little. but honestly, for that type of game, especially for when it came out, it was the best looking example of it's genre, and it controlled well to boot. I had fun playing it, and my gf's brothers love the game, preferring it over the gta games (and saying i was crazy for thinking gta:sa was the best example of that genre, even if it looked a little dated)

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      August 8, 2007 8:18 AM

      I actually enjoyed the visual feel of Saint's Row. It was a little week on the clothing front for my personal tastes but I felt it capture the various aspects of a city and inside the buildings really well.

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      August 8, 2007 8:32 AM

      I don't think FrozenPixel is going to like this post :( If it wasn't for the bugs, I'd have loved the game personally

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        August 8, 2007 8:42 AM

        I'd still be playing it, but lately it crashes worse than Mercenaries back-compat :/

        It may not have been innovative, but I felt it polished the GTA-alike genre to a previously unseen golden gleam. Sensible car storage, waypoints, instant mission restart, tons of interesting side stuff, FINALLY good combat and a truly customizable avatar. What's not to like?

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          August 8, 2007 8:56 AM

          Agreed. If GTA IV doesn't carry over any advancements from Saints Row (mission restarts, for crapsake!) then it's going to be a hurdle for Rockstar's pet genre.

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            August 8, 2007 9:23 AM

            i like not being able to restart a mission right away if i fail it in GTA. i like having to work at getting guns and weapons back if i fuck up like that and lose them. having to travel back to the mission start, maybe doing something else along the way. the games are a lot better if you just let it flow and play them and don't save / load after every single mission or every time you die, get busted, or fail a mission.

            i have only played the saints row demo, but what i saw was pretty bad.

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              August 8, 2007 9:36 AM

              I thought the same thing till it showed up from gamefly.

              It's a pretty damn enjoyable GTA clone.

              I'd recommend it as a rental to anyone. They did a pretty good job tweaking the core, only thing that was REALLY bad was the horrid quality of loading in the zones if you are racing through the city at very high speeds (resulted in the invisible car bug).

              The only thing that I would've preferred was a more functional quick save, not just a mission restart. Some missions were far too similar to how Mafia was structured, with loooong drive times to get to the mission only to have to redo that same drive (whether you end up taking the freeway there, or the backroads/sidestreets).

              Of course I'm a PC gamer who is used to the notion of a quicksave and hate wasting my precious gaming time on redoing mundane stuff over and over again only because someone got off a lucky grenade toss or something similar.

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                August 8, 2007 9:41 AM

                i mostly didn't like the driving / car physics & framerate. plus the graphics seemed much worse than i thought they would. is the full game that much better? because i'd rather play crackdown or san andreas again.

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                  August 8, 2007 11:10 AM

                  driving physics were much better than crackdowns over the top craziness.

                  Color me mistaken, but I figured that Saints Row was first gen 360, so the graphics could've used some polish and the art direction wasn't that great, but gameplay > graphics in my book, and I enjoyed the 20 some hours that I spent on it (I only know this because I received an achievement for it).

                  I am looking forward to Volition's next Saints Row, hopefully they'll learn from the mistakes of the first.

                  Pyide, it's worth the 5 bucks or whatever you pay for renting a game these days.

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                    August 8, 2007 11:31 AM

                    oh i know the driving physics in crackdown are just as bad, but in a different way. i'm just saying i'd rather play that game because i don't have to drive :P

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              August 8, 2007 11:19 AM

              The demo was horrid. I recently borrowed the game from a friend and I'm really enjoying it.
              It doesn't have the soul that the GTA games seem to have. Something about it just seems... lacking.
              There's also some serious framerate issues when you get lots of stuff and explosions on the screen at once.

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              August 8, 2007 2:00 PM

              In GTA:VCS if you die or get busted then there's an icon next to where you spawn at the hospital or police station which lets you buy back the weapons you had for $2000 (which very quickly means nothing in the game).

              I don't know if it will carry over into GTA:IV, or if it's just to make the game more suitable to a portable, but having to re-get your guns may be a thing of the past.

              I'm in two minds about it. I use it in GTA:VCS (which I'm playing at the moment) and as a result I use weapons bought from Ammunation mostly, instead of the ones that spawn at my safehouses due to finding the balloons (like hidden packages, but they're in the air, stuck underneath things in this game). In the previous games I'd have to go back to my safehouse and I'd only have a small amount of ammo until a few more safehouse visits. In this game I go to the shop every so often and buy a crapload more ammo, without worrying that I'll be wasting the money, because I know I can keep those weapons and ammo as long as I want. I don't know which is better.

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          August 8, 2007 8:57 AM

          Yeah it was super innovative but the changes they made to the core game play were great. The aiming was really well done and I loved being able to retry a mission without having to drive all the way across the city again and losing all my weapons.

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            August 8, 2007 2:01 PM

            I forgot about the aiming. I seriously hope GTA:IV uses the same free-look aiming system. It worked brilliantly in SR.

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          August 8, 2007 1:48 PM

          Solution to Mercenaries > turn off music (by setting volume to 0%)

          this was a problem on the xbox version also and was sadly never solved. Used to crash every half to an hour untill I set it to 0% an could play for several hours on row. Still one of the best games of the original catalogue in my opinion.

          Sorry for going off topic, best of luck to you guys! Shame about the name though, Blizzard was the first thing I thought about too. Games need less copy pasting even if it's clever (and do they need less clever).

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            August 8, 2007 3:00 PM

            Nice, didn't know this! I love the game but the 30 minute "Old Reliable" crash got a bit tiring. Thanks for the tip!

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        August 8, 2007 9:09 AM

        As long as she's not responsible for the dudes in the game looking like they all escaped from the set of Breakin' 3 : Atomic Boogaloo she shouldn't be too mad.

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          August 8, 2007 9:37 AM

          no, she said she made the architecture of some of the buildings in game (or something along those lines)...

          I know, I pissed her off when I first started bitching about the bugs that I had on my first dirty disc from gamefly.

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            August 8, 2007 2:03 PM

            It's weird, people often say SR was really buggy but I can't remember any serious bugs at all from the many hours I spent playing it. (I've seen some of the videos but, well, all games have bugs if you're unlucky... Sounds like some people saw a lot of them in SR but I saw virtually none myself. Maybe the European version contained fixes or something?)

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              August 8, 2007 3:03 PM

              I played through it fine on my first 360, with slews of crashes followed by days of flawless play. This new 360, I dunno. About every 10 minutes kaboom, total freeze; I can't even make it to the savepoint which pretty much makes it unplayable.

              TDU, Crackdown, Just Cause - hours of continuous play with no issues. I don't get it either. Some weird voodoo of SR + this 360. *shrug*

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      August 8, 2007 11:38 AM

      I really liked Saints Row. It was a GTA clone, sure, but it was a very enjoyable one nonetheless. I enjoyed all the little touches they added into the game. For example, when your gang members sit in the back seat of your car, they roll down the windows. All the cars actually had projected light headlights that cast appropriate shadows on things. The fighting was nice. The damage model was greet. Thee game just felt polished and well thought out. I I just has a blast playing the game. f only they worked on the framerate some more...

      In some ways, it's sad that Blazing Lizard team won't be back to work on the sequel, but I wish 'em all the best.

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      August 8, 2007 7:32 PM

      I'm going to temper this a bit because I really really did like Saint's Row. I thought the environments were extremely well done, but the gang member characters were just stupid looking. The guy with the hair? Yeah that guy. Really cool. :P

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