Mike Watson, A.K.A Idol Ninja was a beloved modder in the Saints Row community who worked on various huge mods for the Saints Row franchise. A lot of his works in the community are now considered essential additions to playing the series and his impact in the community has been felt deeply, and so is his passing. He even went as far as locating the source code for Saints Row 2 to fix the numerous issues present in the game’s PC port to this day earning him a position as Volition’s Community Developer. Watson left his position as Volition’s Community Developer but still continued to work on SR2’s patch while fighting through Stage 4 cancer, stating:
“It is 100% my choice to spend my last days contributing to it. Both Volition and Deep Silver have been incredibly supportive and have always given me the opportunity to leave the project with a solemn vow to make sure it gets finished without me.”
later on 10 May, Idol Ninja further took it to Steam, and wrote an extensive emotional message on why he had decided to step down as CM, and feedback on SR2 patch.
His death was initially confirmed by a now-deleted tweet from a Volition employee which fans used as an excuse to complain about the reveal of the upcoming reboot of the Saints Row franchise because people are tasteless assholes. Following this and speculations, Ryan McCabe, a lead game designer at Archetype Entertainment officially confirmed Watson’s passing on Resetera.
McCabe who originally wrote it on Facebook and then the forums, said the following about his friend.
“One of my Volition besties, Mike Watson, passed this morning after battling cancer for well over a year. He’d known for some time that it was a battle he was ultimately going to lose, so many of us did as well. That doesn’t make you ready for it.
Mike was one of the best of us, and the world is no doubt darker without him in it. We shared so many interests in common, and our small group chat where we’d geek out about horror movies, especially after I moved and still haven’t found a dedicated horror crew, were highlights on the days new messages appeared, because it was guaranteed to be Mike telling us about some new, obscure horror film that we all needed to watch. His passion was palpable and infectious for everything he loved. From comics to movies to games to Saints Row… and for as much as he loved them, it was always clear that more than anything, he loved his friends even more.
We did a Christmas movie marathon years ago, 2017, where we watched the insanity that was Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, the Star Wars Christmas Special, and a few other very random Christmas movies. When I got there, we’d not talked about exchanging gifts or anything like that at all. It was a movie night, at Christmas time. But damnit, Mike, you had a present for me. I was surprised, but I shouldn’t have been, because that’s who you were. And it’s one of my favorite geeky shirts ever, and I’ll keep it forever. Yes, I’ll say it again, I love it. He actually asked me if I liked it after I opened it and had a slight concern that I might not for some reason.
I’ll wear it tomorrow.
Love you, Mike, wherever you are.”
Following this statement, McCabe also posted a touching tribute to Mike Watson with various figures from the Saints Row community coming together to give him a farewell.