Coming up in the criminal world and building a self-made empire isn’t easy. In the new Saints Row, that journey from rags to riches will feature plenty of run-ins with the well-established competition in the streets of Santo Ileso. These three factions known as Los Panteros, The Idols, and Marshall have a firm grip on the illegal activities in this fictional American Southwest, and their influence runs deep. Each of these gangs has a distinct style in aesthetic and how they go about business, and all three have a representative of the new Saints in their ranks at some point, including the main character, The Boss.
These gear heads are all about tradition, family, power, and fast cars. Settled into the Rancho Provedencia district (where a massive panther rock formation rises ferociously above the neighborhood), you’ll find members of the Los Panteros in classic muscle cars, tuned to perfection. While guns are a necessity for survival in Santo Ileso’s gang systems, members of Los Panteros can often be found swinging solid melee weapons. They’ll take on the Saints with crowbars or massive sledgehammers, both implementations that make use of their deadly strength. An early story mission called “Making Rent” features a run-in with these brutish forces in a junkyard after they become privy to your actions and strip vital parts off the Saints’ getaway car. As a former mechanic for Los Panteros, Neenah brings her tuning and driving expertise to the core group of Saints founders.
Longtime Saints Row fans may know the in-universe muscle car manufacturer known as Scorpion. It was revealed to us by Saints Row Art Director Frank Marquart that Santo Ileso is where Scorpion originates. Being the home-grown faction in this new Saints Row, Los Panteros thinks of this brand and its vehicles as their own and has made their home/headquarters in an abandoned Scorpion factory.
The Saints’ fun-loving, perpetually shirtless fighter, Kevin, made his bones in a group known as The Idols. It’s a faction that’s less a traditional organization and more of a cult. The Idols can be seen from a mile away, sporting bright neon colors, glowing paints, and LED helmets. They’re very much the kind of folks you’d find at the dankest desert rave. Because of the popular nature of the group, its follower count is massive, making the sheer number of Idols a standout feature of the faction. The Idols always attack in large numbers, almost in swarm-like formations.
We learned in the mission “Idol Threat” that firefights with a group of these neon-baddies can last a while. Hordes of these gun-toating ravers come out of the woodwork every time you think you’re in the clear. Some Idols have unique weaponry that requires The Boss to think of different methods to take them out. One of which is a pair of LED whips spun in front of the Idol and used to deflect your volley of gunfire. It’s annoying to deal with, but that’s kind of the point, right?
While playing Saints Row for our cover story and supplementary coverage, Marshall was the rival faction I interacted with the least. However, the reach of Marshall is long and even stretches into the origin of the new group of Saints. In their early days, The Boss wasn’t the boss of anyone but rather a deadly member of battlefield-ready Marshall. Their style is unmistakable, using cowboy imagery, and expensive vehicles and weaponry usually adorned in white and blue.
Marshall is by far the most high-tech and wealthy faction you’ll face off against in Saints Row. They make their base of operations in a cowboy boot-shaped skyscraper in the fiscally savvy Lakeshore district. Marshall utilizes advanced weaponry and strikes with militaristic accuracy. You can find them in possession of laser-powered lassos, long-range precision rifles, and all kinds of tactical gadgets like smoke grenades.
Our time fighting off the grand trifecta of Santo Ileso’s criminal element was always fun, with each requiring a different strategy for engagement. We’re looking forward to seeing how the individual founding Saints’ histories with these gangs will play out in the broader narrative. As we move closer to the release of Saints Row on February 25, we’ll hopefully learn more about what makes these factions tick and see what it’s like warring with them over the streets of Santo Ileso.