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The Red Faction Easter Egg You Can Find In Saints Row

After a decade-long hiatus, "Saints Row" is back. Players finally get to explore Santo Ileso, the biggest sandbox in the history of the series. Early reactions to the open-world action game have been less than favorable, with critics complaining about the litany of bugs that can be found throughout the game and its generally mediocre 20-30 hour long story, but there are still those who enjoy the title for its bombastic gameplay and endless exploration. Some of these very players have even already begun to hunt through the city in search of Easter eggs that Volition Inc. has hidden throughout the game.

One of these gems seems to be hidden in plain sight: an area in the game called Red Faction Memorial Park. This appears to be a reference to the game "Red Faction," a sci-fi shooter also made by Volition and released in 2001. The game follows Parker, a miner who moves to Mars searching for a better life only to discover that the corrupt Ultor Corporation forces its employees to endure brutal working conditions while a plague decimates the colonies. This culminates in an open rebellion from the miners, who finally declare that they have had enough. It seems the team that made "Saints Row" wanted to give an homage to this dystopian tale.

Workers protesting

"Saints Row" players who visit the memorial park will find several automated signs. Pushing a button on each of the signs delivers some informations to the player about the history of the park, telling them that it was built in memory of a group of workers who went on strike. One of them states, "On May 22, 2021, Red Faction made its final stand here against the Ultor corporation. The striking workers sought to end inhumane working conditions and unethical human experiments." That story certainly sounds familiar! The date also particularly stands out, since that was the day that "Red Faction" was released. The faction of workers is an obvious reference to the game. 

Chris Plante of Polygon recently analyzed the parallels between the workplace injustices referenced in "Saints Row" and crunch culture in the video game industry. Crunch is a term that refers to the all-too-common practice of incentivizing employees to work long and unreasonable hours in the name of getting a video game out on time. While not quite as dramatic as the Martian corporate oppressors that can be seen in "Red Faction," it is a major problem in the industry, and it's easy to see why some players could see a connection here. That said, nothing in the Easter egg specifically references anything other than the studio's own former game. Still, it does give players some interesting connections to ponder.