GameSpot last talked to Croteam not long after the Serious Sam compatibility test launched onto the scene two months ago. With today's news that the Gathering's On Deck Interactive (ODI) division will publish Serious Sam, we took the chance to speak with Robert Westmoreland, CEO of ODI, and Roman Ribaric, CEO of Croteam, about Serious Sam and their future plans. We also have a group shot of the Crotia-based development team linked above.
GameSpot: What is it about Serious Sam that convinced you it was right for ODI?
Robert Westmoreland: Well, for starters it's a really cool, fun to play game. ODI is about new developers with potential, and I couldn't think of a better partner for ODI than Croteam. This team is definitely one to watch.
GS: Was your decision to publish Serious Sam influenced by the community's enthusiastic reception of the demo released earlier this summer?
RW: It certainly didn't hurt. Any time you see a game get a reaction like Serious Sam did, you better pay attention.
GS: Roman, tell us a little about how the development of the game has been progressing to date.
Roman Ribaric: Since we released the Serious Sam test on May 30, the initial response from the Internet community was excellent. We got lots of support to continue what we are doing. Also, we got some good feedback about what needs to be improved and what good ideas we can implement. That and this deal with ODI are the best things that have happened so far.
GS: You've said previously that Serious Sam has largely been a project the team has developed in its spare time. Do you expect this deal to affect Croteam's schedule for the game?
RR: For some time we have been working full-time all seven days a week. Our schedule reflects that. The ODI deal just pushes us more not to miss [the release date].
GS: How does this deal affect your plans to develop the Serious Engine as a separate component?
RR: The Serious Engine is being developed along with Serious Sam. Once Serious Sam is released, it will give the engine much needed credibility. If Serious Sam becomes a success, this will also greatly increase the engine value. So, it is worth it to wait with engine licensing until the game is on the market. Until then, we'll improve on the technology and release the tools to the public like we promised.
GS: Robert, it is still very early, but has ODI looked into the possibility of publishing other titles built on Croteam's Serious Engine?
RW: It's too early to comment on that - but it sure would be nice if that turned out to be the case.
GS: How does Serious Sam fit in with the type of games ODI is looking to publish?
RW: It's a really good game that we can offer at an outstanding price. Just because a game retails for US$20 doesn't mean it shouldn't be a good game. I think one of the biggest problems in our industry now is there are too many crappy games sitting on your local retailer's shelves that put a bad taste in the consumers' mouths. ODI is looking to change that paradigm.
GS: What can you tell us about ODI's other projects?
RW: They are pretty diverse in nature. We've got a kids game called Bugdom coming out in September that is a port of an award-winning game that was initially shipped for the Mac. KISS Pinball is just what the name implies and is shipping in October, which will be followed by Duke Nukem Endangered Species. The common bond for all these games is quality.
GS: Can we still expect the second Serious Sam test to release this fall?
RR: Yes, we plan to have a Serious Sam Test 2 with multiplayer play. The LAN code is already working, but we want to test the Internet code as well and see how it handles various Internet issues. Cooperative play is planned to be there, too. There are numerous requests from the Internet community for this option, so we'll see how it turns out.
GS: When do you expect Serious Sam to ship?
RW: February 2001.