It has been a long road for Serious Sam 4. First announced in 2013, the game is finally coming to PC and Stadia in August. We had the chance to speak with CCO Davor Hunski of Croteam, the Croatia-based developer of Serious Sam 4, to talk about the game’s development and what fans can expect for Sam’s triumphant return.
A little something for everyone
PC Invasion: When coming back to the Serious Sam series, what were some things from the previous games that you wanted to change or build upon? Were there any immediate goals for the development team when the project started?
Davor Hunski: It’s been almost 10 years since we released a proper Serious Sam game (VR and spin-offs excluded), but the original formula still works very well. We didn’t feel like we needed to change a lot, so we decided to build on what we already had. With that being said, Serious Sam 4 will be a recognizable game that fits the series; the core gameplay will be the same, but with some modern FPS features added to the mix. Our focus from the get-go was to touch up and beautify the Serious Sam formula, not change it too much.
Since development has been going on for a while, have more recent games influenced Serious Sam 4 that just didn’t exist in 2014?
Hunski: We love video games, and most of us play them whenever we can. In that regard, there’s no doubt that some of the amazing experiences released in the past decade influenced our own design choices. You can’t escape that. If you enjoy certain elements from another game, you’re always looking for a way to incorporate them into your own game, albeit in a way so that they fit in with your original vision. The changes are, more often than not, very subtle, and they happen even if you aren’t specifically pursuing them.
Would players who have never played a Serious Sam game before be able to pick up this newest entry?
Hunski: I think so. Being a prequel, Serious Sam 4 is not very dependent on our previous games. At the same time, its relatively simple concept allows you to jump in without any previous experience. I’m certain that the game can be enjoyed by veterans and new fans alike.
Same Sam, new tricks
What new features or advancements is the team most proud of with this latest entry?
Hunski: I can’t speak for the rest of the team because we all have our favorite parts of the game, but for me, it’s the flow of the combat. Serious Sam was always about finding the right rhythm and dancing with the enemies to avoid their incoming barrage and destroy their forces. Serious Sam 4 has some of the biggest battles in the series’s history, so I’m thrilled that it still feels like Serious Sam. Only bigger.
Will there be any new developments or insights into Sam’s character akin to in Doom Eternal? Is that something the team has considered or would even want to do?
Hunski: Oh, for sure. The Serious Sam 4 story is being penned by Verena and Jonas Kyratzes. Some of our fans will recognize Jonas as the co-author of The Talos Principle story. The two of them have created the biggest Serious Sam adventure story to date, something that our hardcore fans will surely enjoy. This is not to say that we’re turning Serious Sam into a story-driven game — far from it — but we are creating a story that brings forth a sense of adventure and adds some meat to the bone that is the action.
What the future may hold
How long does the team see themselves sticking with the franchise? Have there been talks about a Serious Sam 5 or any kind of spin-off title?
Hunski: Looking at our servers right now, I see a folder named “Serious Sam 7.” It’s not a folder with an actual project, but a bunch of ideas we’ve been tossing around. We may stop before we reach it; we may go beyond that. Who knows? Serious Sam is in our blood and we won’t be dropping it any time soon.
What is the one thing you would want to communicate to players, new or old, about Serious Sam 4?
Hunski: Serious Sam 4 is nonstop action from the get-go. As our gameplay designer said in his very awkward but very true interview – “This game is the game.” It’s the biggest and most action-packed game we ever made. We can’t wait for everyone to play it and be blown away.
Thank you very much to Davor Hunski for taking time away from his busy schedule to speak with us. Serious Sam 4 releases this August on PC and Stadia, and you can pre-purchase it on Steam right now.
[This interview has been edited for clarity.]