Once upon a time – by which I mean nearly a decade ago – developer Croteam started work on a game called Serious Sam 4. While Serious Sam 4 is due to launch in a handful of weeks, there’s not a whole lot of continuity between that original game and the one we’re now getting. That first idea eventually morphed into the cerebral puzzler, The Talos Principle, and the experimental ideas which led there won’t fit in with the back-to-basics approach of the new Serious Sam.
After the success of all the previous Serious Sam games, Croteam’s Damjan Mravunac says that with the original Serious Sam 4, “we wanted to explore a different side of the game. So we invented some new mechanics for the peaceful areas in the game where there is not much combat – for exploration.”
Croteam has already spoken in the past about how those ideas evolved into The Talos Principle, and Mravunac says “it’s a game that made us really happy, and it took quite some time to develop, but in the end it was worth it, I think. The fans loved it. The critics loved it. We loved it.”
But when it came time to return to FPS games with Serious Sam 4, Croteam decided not to pursue those original ideas. “After resting from the series a bit, having a longer pause, we actually went back to the roots. We decided not to put any of those mechanics into series and keep it in line with fan expectations,” Mravunac says.
“We do listen to our community. They’re the reason why Croteam exists. We love our community, and probably the community’s favorite game is the first one – The First Encounter. We call it dancing with enemies. The fights where you dance with enemies, not like the modern day shooters. We came back to the roots, but decided to do some upgrades as well.”
“We did go back to the roots in some sense,” Daniel Lucic adds. “But at the same time, we had to figure out how to expand on the gameplay to make it not feel really old. The way we’ve done that is not by changing the original formula, because it still works. It shows because our games are still played daily. It was about giving flavor to that formula.”
The expanded flavour for Serious Sam 4 includes new enemies with new attacks, and things like weapon upgrades. “Those are not complex upgrades where you would craft the weapon or something like that,” Lucic says. “It’s about finding an upgrade for your weapon which provides you with either alternative fire or just boosts your firepower.”