Developer Volition has unearthed a canceled PSP entry in its popular Saints Row series, and is now giving away an unfinished prototype version free of charge.
Though Volition notes that it can’t supply technical support or assistance in getting the game up and running, enthusiast site Unseen64 confirmed that the canceled project is playable using software emulators like PPSSPP.
Saints Row: Undercover was designed as a PSP-exclusive spinoff in Volition’s open-world action series, and features a unique storyline, original characters, and a redesigned control scheme suited for Sony’s legacy portable platform. Development started in 2009 before the decision was made to abandon the project prior to its release.
Publisher THQ originally envisioned Undercover as a port of mainline series sequel Saints Row 2, but when the PSP’s hardware proved inadequate for the project’s scope, its developers began creating a unique standalone game with the working title Saints Row: The Fall. The project was later renamed Saints Row: Undercover before its cancelation.
“THQ, our previous publisher, decided that Saints Row 2 was doing well, and maybe we could get a port to mobile,” Volition video producer Alexander Mejia recalls.
Volition community manager Mike Watson sheds light on what led to the project’s cancelation: “Volition isn’t a handheld developer, so when projects like this come up, we get an outside studio to work on it. […] Volition looked at the project and after multiple reviews felt that it really wasn’t living up to what a Saints Row game could and should be.”
The playable prototype version of Saints Row: Undercover includes a tutorial mission, limited character customization options, and an explorable open world, but story missions had not yet been fully fleshed out. Volition notes that it may show off more prerelease material in the future if fans respond positively to the release of Saints Row: Undercover.