I kinda wondered how known criminals The Saints could get sponsorship deals and reality shows and the like, then a thought occurred to me. If the world is in recession, then the Saints Row world may turn that Up to Eleven be in a full blown Depression. The Great Depression being when gangsters like Al Capone were seen as Celebrities.
According to a brief line in Saints 3, they've been paying off the Stilwater police. They would do the same in Steelport, but they don't have Ultor backing them there. However, the Great Depression parodies are eerie, maybe deliberate.
When the Saints try to airlift the vault the police will shout that Troy can't protect them. Troy had been made chief of police in the second game and had done a lot to help the Saints, from refusing to have the Boss' life support switched off to protecting Gat when he was in prison. It could be interpreted that with a little prodding Troy got the Saints to move more away from petty crime and use Ultor to show them as the gang that cleaned up Stillwater like Julius wanted.
Possibly similar to the thieves' guild in Discworld, the Saints control the criminal activities in Stilwater, including going against non-Saints members committing them. Likewise, the official site states the Saints motto is "say thank you when robbing people".
Near one of the two endings, Kinzie says she's not a Deus ex Machina when the Boss asks her to do something. Ostensibly, a bit of self-indulgent literary reference by Volition. Except that Kinzie, throughout the game, is nearly incapable of talking in Layman's Terms, even when she specifically sets out to do so. It makes perfect sense for her to use a specialized term most people won't understand when "I'm not a miracle worker!" or suchlike would do.
Well, that and it would be hard to use any other euphemism for Lampshade Hanging on the sheer amount of tech experts with New Powers as the Plot Demands in stock plots. "Sorry, I'm not a plot resolution device" doesn't have the same ring to it.
It was mentioned in Headscratchers that a lot of characters have changed come The Third, but think about it, they're now international celebrities. Think about how the looks and attitudes have changed - they're cleaning up their appearance and their act to fit in with the idea of being celebrities.
Shaundi, in particular, if you pick up on a few clues, her backstory works like this: she had a bad spring break in Steelport, and it seems Zimos is partially to blame. She wasn't always a stoner sleeping around, but that's what she was reduced to until Boss found her and helped turn her life around. Now by the third game, she has matured, and the reason for her being rather dickish is because of Gat's death.
Birk even mentions this in the first mission and later Gat agrees saying that they had changed. Then at the end, Killbane takes credit for turning the Saints to what they once were, a feared gang.
Why is Shaundi so shocked and troubled by Gat's death, despite having been present when other friends died in 2? Because back than she was constantly stoned, so the horrors of the gang warfare barely touched her mind. Likewise she hardly knew any of the other Saints members. Now she is sober and they are her friends, so unlike Boss or Pierce who are hardened against that, she is shocked.
I think you might be right. There's a trick in the second game where you can jump in a homie's car and have them drive you around. When doing this with other characters throw a grenade and they'll scream and start driving like they've lost their minds. Shaundi appears too stoned to care. It's very safe to say that she's off the drugs in the third game.
The zombie virus unleashed late in the story of on Arapice Island? It didn't come from the STAG cargo plane; the debris from the crash ruptured several canisters at the chemical plant there. Who owns the plant? Ultor. Who, in the "Ultor Exposed" DLC for Saints Row 2, had been conducting biological experiments, leaving mutated gray corpses that the Boss had to dig up. Potentially one big, cleverly hidden Brick Joke.
Killing Killbane in the bad ending bugged me because it wasn't even a fight, it was just a lame quick time event. Then it hit me... I sacrificed Shaundi, Viola, and worst of all, Burt Reynolds just to kill a man who I have already beaten. It was supposed to leave you empty and unfulfilled.
For that matter, the bad ending seems to suck because you've just killed off three of the characters, and have now turned to terrorism. But by allowing yourself to be consumed by revenge, you sacrificed your friend, your idol, and someone who at least helped. Then the government sends the army to kill everyone in the city, during a funeral no less. It's less the Boss becoming psychotic and more being crazy with rage at everything the government had done, so naturally he/she would lash out the way he/she did.
Think about that with the second game where fans were upset with the Boss' sociopathy. If we go by each mission being played in order then s/he just had to kill Carlos after he was tortured, the Ronin killed Aisha and nearly Johnny, and the Sons kidnapped Shaundi and are also the most sociopathic of the gangs, with their followers screaming to kill her. Boss retaliates by killing Jessica and in the next mission is moping over it. Then there was the fire and immediately afterwards kidnapped and drugged on the Sons product, remember they are voodoo (in both ways) and Shaundi is justified in being scared of them. Then after the Ronin tried to crash Aisha's funeral it would be more of a wonder if s/he didn't jump off the deep end.
There's also an in-universe shade of Fridge Brilliance in regard to the anticlimatic final "fight" with Killbane: He may be physically strong enough to snap Kiki's neck one handed, but he's still a showman at heart. Boss was playing the game when s/he took him on in the ring, in order to humiliate him, which is what Angel insisted on. When they fight for real on the airport runway, Boss just slams him into stuff, strikes him in the throat, and breaks his neck. Killbane may have been powerful and charismatic, but he wasn't as good as he thought he was, so the Boss took him out with relative ease. S/he's been a hardened killer for the better part of a decade, after all... maybe even longer, depending on some of the voice options.
You also have to take into account he was weakened and disoriented from having just survived a plane crash.
Further Fridge Brilliance: the real enemy is not Loren, or Killbane or STAG, it's Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. Gat does so in regards to gangbanging and it gets him killed. Loren does with his feud with the Saints and it gets him killed. Kiki does in antagonizing Killbane and it gets her killed. Shaundi does with Gat's death and attack on the funeral and she's kidnapped and can be killed. Monica Hughs does after the attack on Gat's funeral and makes things worse. STAG does when it imposes martial law and that makes things worse. Kia jumps off it when she goes terrorist and she's killed off. Killbane jumps off it after losing to Boss and either lose his empire or is killed. Cyrus Temple jumps off it by reacting to the terrorist attack Kia orchestrates (thinking it's the Saints) by trying to destroy Steelport, and is killed. And Boss jumps off it by going after Killbane, leading to the deaths of three friends and rather than going the more Anti-Hero route becomes more of a psychotic sociopath than s/he ever was in Saints Row 2.
Gat sells his likeness for a Gangsters in Space comic, that the Saints turn into a movie. Now one might wonder why he'd do that if he's against how Merchandise-Driven the Saints have become. Take a look at the film. Take a look at the Bad Bad Acting. Gat was getting his jollies invoking Springtime for Hitler.
Could also be a reason why The Saints do the movie in one of the endings, despite Boss previous claiming they are done being media whores, they simply do it because Gat actually would have wanted it. Could also explain the Boss's horrible acting.
One would wonder why Hulk Hogan would voice Angel rather then Killbane, then it hits you when you realized that Hogan is basically playing the character he has been playing for the past decade: the aging pro-wreslter who loves the spotlight and would do anything to get back into the ring.
The final choice between taking out Killbane or STAG seems to be thrown on the player with little to no warning. It's the difference between shooting the Gangstas in Space movie, and continuing their selling out, and becoming a real gang again, but losing a couple of members. Except the entire game has been preparing you for it. After the first mission, Gat says he doesn't want to be a corporate whore. The theme starts right there, and continues throughout the entire game. The first choice, blowing up or keeping the Syndicate tower, is a choice between sending a message that the Saints are not to be fucked with, or keeping a crib because it looks cool. Then, not long afterwards, you can either sell some hos to the Morningstar, or keep them. Does a gang really need money coming in from hookers, or is it just to boost your image? The zombie apocalypse. Do you need the approval of the mayor to be a real gang? Or is it better just to have a hoarde of zombies on your side? And finally, unmasking Killbane. Yes, it hurts his ego and makes you and Angel look cool if you unmask him, but don't you want the power of ApocaFist? That's the reason why, in the Killbane choice, Boss can't answer whether it was worth. Because it was down to the player. How have you been playing the Boss? Would he rather stick with your choice, or would he have gone with the other?
The Gothedral in Steelport seems to be a random, kind of funny, but ultimately useless building with no influence storywise, right? Wrong. Remember in http//deckers.die, Matt Miller's avatar was inside 'that cathedral with all the tubes coming out of it'? That was the source of the data. It's where the Deckers were based. IT IS THE GOTHEDRAL. He's been under your nose the entire game and no-one's realised.
People have complained about how you can't go after each gang at your own pace like the previous gangs. Look at the Saints now. They're the heads of a multi-billion dollar corporation and international celebrities to boot. Of course any rival gangs going in alone would probably be killed instantly, they have a fighting chance if they all teamed up.
Why does Angel go on and on about how the Saints just can't go and kill Killbane, only to change his mind at the end? Because it's all a bunch of hooey. Angel isn't really concerned about taking down the Syndicate; he's more interested in reviving his wrestling career. To do that, he needs to reclaim his mask and come back with a bang in a rematch against Killbane. If Eddie dies, he's not going to get that revival he wants. By the end, Angel has his mask again but failed to get his revenge on Eddie, who's about ready to disappear over the horizon. Beating Killbane in the the ring just isn't going to happen anymore, so Angel will settle for killing him now.
Assuming that the ending of Saint's Row The Third: The Trouble With Clones DLC is canon where Johnny Gat is revived/cloned to Johnny Tag, how the hell is Boss and Pierce going to explain all this to the Saints, including Shaundi? Especailly after we've witnessed how she acted throughout the entire third game?
Boss: Yo! Shaundi! Aaah...don't be alarmed or anything, but I found us a new homie, and he's...like Oleg...except... He's the clone of our dead friend, Johnny Gat.