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  • Actor Allusion: In an early cutscene that finds the Boss watching the news shortly after escaping from prison, pay close attention to the news ticker on the bottom of the screen. It's mentioned that Benjamin King wrote an autobiography that would be made into a movie, where he'd be played by Michael Clarke Duncan. Michael Clarke Duncan is King's voice actor.
    • In the Ultor Exposed DLC, porn star Tera Patrick says she has issues with nudity.
    • In one of the Heli Assault missions where Shaundi makes drug deals, she'll swing round a coffee shop. "I ain't doing a damn thing until I've had my Boston Cream."
    • Completing a mission line earns you a number of gang-related rewards. For the Brotherhood, that includes Maero's outfit, the description of which claims "I guess today really was a good day to die." Michael Dorn is Maero's VA.
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    • The second game has a fair amount of references to anime and manga, particularly as far as the Ronin are concerned. Three of the bikes in the game are named Kenshin, Tetsuo, and Kaneda; the latter two are references to AKIRA, the former, possibly Rurouni Kenshin. Shogo Akuji and his father Kazuo are named after Shogo Kawada and Kazuo Kiriyama from Battle Royale. Finally, both Shogo and Kazuo are voiced by well-known anime VAs: Yuri Lowenthal and Steve Blum, respectively.
    • Some of the male "Escort" clients might describe cross-dressing and asking to be called "Hedwig". Take a guess as to who voices said clients.
  • Development Gag: There is a jewelry shop in this game named "Bling Bling", which is probably a reference to the original project title of the first Saints Row, while its Totally Radical radio ad may well be an artistic reinterpretation of trying to sell the concept such as Saints Row to the corporate suits at THQ. It even ends with a claim that marketing research said the name "Bling Bling" was cool!note 
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  • Name's the Same: The Boss, same as The Boss. Now that would be a cool fight, especially set to music by the Boss.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • Despite the game taking place in 2011 (five years after Saints Row), the setting just screams 2007-2008, especially with the fashion, music and cultural references.
      • The inclusion of emos, Hollywood Nerds, and scene-esque punks as random pedestrians around Stilwater.
      • In general, the fact that in-game music is bought from a record store chain that appears to be battling against illegal downloading and occasional civilian comments about new cars having CD players.
      • 89.0 Generation X's playlist is mostly emo rock, a genre that heavily fell out of favor in the public eye in the early stages of The New '10s. Even more so now that many of the bands featured on the station, such as My Chemical Romance, Hot Hot Heat, and Minus The Bear have now split up.
      • One of the artists featured on The Krunch 106.66 is As I Lay Dying, a band who would eventually wind up in controversy a few years later and break up for a few years as a result; had that happened before the game came out, it would have been impossible, especially for a game like this, to include one of their songs without the controversy getting at least a mention.
      • The technology as well fits the mid-2000s. The Boss owns a blocky, first-generation smartphone with limited internet access (with a Goldenpages Expy being featured as a way of contacting businesses, and the only other extra use they get for it is as a GPS), while other characters, including Shaundi, are seen holding flip phones. Blocky laptops and computers are also seen around Stilwater.
      • The War on Terror is referenced various times in weapon stores, with the Brass Knuckles commercial making a reference to freedom fries and post-9/11 patriotism.
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    • The Company of Gyros restaurants, as Company of Heroes and Saints Row are no longer under the same publisher following THQ's bankruptcy (Relic going to Sega while Volition was acquired by Deep Silver).
    • Tera Patrick's inclusion in the Ultor Exposed DLC and promotions for the game can count as this, as Patrick retired from porn shoots the same year. It's especially apparent for PC players, since they didn't officially get the DLC until more than a decade later.

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