2001's arcade-style shooter Serious Sam: The First Encounter seemed like a breath of fresh air for first-person shooter players, who, at the time, had otherwise pretty much been stuck having their virtual gun battles in brown sewers, gray warehouses, gray sewers, or brown warehouses, all full of more crates than you could shake a stick at. It was, in fact, this novelty that led independent game site Old Man Murray to first discover the game and make it known to the public--and the rest is history. The unusual shooter, developed by Croatian studio Croteam, placed its action-hero protagonist, "Serious" Sam Stone, in enormous outdoor environments and pitted him against a gigantic army of completely insane alien monsters led by Notorious Mental, an alien overlord bent on taking over the universe. Now, Serious Sam is getting ready for his newest adventure in Serious Sam 3: BFE. Croteam CEO Roman Ribaric explains.
GameSpot: Give us an overview of Serious Sam 3. What's planned for the new game? Bigger fights against crazy enemies in even bigger outdoor environments? How will the game improve on the previous games in the series? And, what new areas will it explore?
Roman Ribaric: Serious Sam 3: BFE serves as a prequel to Serious Sam: The First Encounter and tells the story leading up to the events of the original game. You'll definitely see some familiar areas, in addition to some completely new locales. It was important to us that we build upon the existing Serious Sam legend and expand on some of Sam's earlier adventures to explain how in the hell he got into the situations you've already played through.
GS: We understand that Serious Sam Stone is going to have a new set of melee attacks. How will this work against enemies that come charging right up to him, like sirian werebulls and the exploding beheaded kamikaze bombs-for-hands guys? How will it be viable for Sam to use melee attacks to defend himself against enemies that charge at him or try to explode near him? Are you ready to talk about how this feature works?
RR: This feature is easy to show but hard to describe. For example, in the case of the beheaded kamikaze, you first stand still, then wait for him to get close to you, then you bend over, have him explode in your face, lose half of your health, and happily stand still for the next one.
GS: So maybe it is a bit too early to talk about how melee works, then. In that case, the series has become known for having huge outdoor environments with big, big battles. Just how big will the new game's environments get? How big will the battles get? How many enemies can fit onscreen at once?
RR: There is going to be a massive number of enemies onscreen at once, along with huge outdoor levels. Our new Serious Engine 3 engine technology actually helps our designers create more massive fights and open spaces.
GS: Are there any crazy new enemies in the new game that you'd like to share with us?
RR: We wanted to pile on the awesomeness and introduce some new enemies that fans would find a little intimidating. Serious Sam is known for enemies like the beheaded kamikaze and kleer skeletons that attack in big groups and make your palms sweat a little bit. New guys, like the Scrapjack you see in the screenshots, will be making appearances and will be waiting to absolutely wreck your world.
GS: Aside from the awesome power of crates, what other lessons from developing the previous games is the team using to create Serious Sam 3? And, are there any specific requests from the fan community that you're looking to include?
RR: We are open to hear fan suggestions on how to [pay tribute to] Old Man Murray [and its ideas]. Feel free to e-mail us or post your suggestions in our forums.
GS: We understand that the new game will support cooperative play for up to 16 players. Is this only for the PC or for console as well? How will this work? How many players can play locally? And, will that be via split-screen?
RR: In terms of first-person shooters, the PC is still king, so 16 players is PC only. However, on the consoles, we will have more co-op players playing the single-player campaign than the two current best-selling console military shooters. Combined. Oh, yeah, Sam is the co-op king of all first-person shooters. No cover; just a whole bunch of guys.
Co-op in Serious Sam games is total mayhem! We've traditionally scaled up the enemies and the difficulty as more players join forces in co-op. When you get to 16 players tearing it up, we throw everything we've got at you, and it really becomes overwhelming. At that point, if you want to take out someone on your team, you might want to think twice, since having that extra gun blazing might be the only thing keeping your group alive!
GS: Aside from cooperative play, do you plan to include any other new multiplayer modes, such as competitive modes? Could you give us some examples?
RR: Along with the most famous cooperative play, the classic competitive modes that were introduced in Serious Sam HD will also be there, like Capture the Flag, Last Team Standing, and My Burden.
GS: Will Sam be using the same kinds of guns, like the dual revolvers, chainsaw, minigun, rocket launcher, and cannon he used previously? Any changes to his arsenal? Any new weapons or items he can use in Serious Sam 3?
RR: Yes, yes, and yes!
GS: Well, fair enough. Thanks, Roman.