GOD Gets Serious

The Gathering's new ODI label will publish Croteam's offbeat shooter, Serious Sam.

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Gathering of Developers has revealed to GameSpot that its On Deck Interactive (ODI) division will publish Serious Sam, a first-person shooter developed by Croteam. Serious Sam surprised many when a small test demo released at the end of May generated enthusiastic grassroots support in the gaming community, which applauded the game's furious pace and unique creature design. Gathering launched ODI in May to publish value-priced games from lesser-known developers.

"We are very excited to be able to work with Croteam and bring Serious Sam into the ODI lineup. Croteam is exactly the type of up-and-coming developer we are looking for. They are a solid team with a lot of potential," said ODI CEO Robert Westmoreland. "The public demo generated a great reaction from the press and gamers."

In the game, you will play Sam "Serious" Stone as he attempts to rid the galaxy of an evil being called Mental, the last of the ancient immortals named Tah-Um (Notorious Mental). The game is set in the future, just after the celebrated start of interstellar exploration. Humankind has met Mental's unstoppable armies and is quickly being overrun by them. In an attempt to escape inevitable defeat, Serious Sam will explore the ruins of an alien civilization in the Sirius system and return to the time of ancient Egypt to assassinate Mental.

Across four worlds, you will encounter the endless hordes of monsters raised by Mental's magic. Croteam has worked to optimize the game's graphics engine to ensure that over 50 enemies can come at you on the screen at the same time - something that has been rare since shooters moved from Doom-style sprite-based objects to full 3D models. Croteam, a studio based in Croatia, prides itself on the brightly lit environments, which include both indoor scenes and expansive outdoor arenas. The Serious Engine allows for a number of advanced effects, including multiple gravity directions at different 3D locations in the same room and procedural textures, one of animated effects notably found in Quake III. The game will also feature a range of multiplayer modes, including the option to play friends on the same computer with a four-way split-screen mode and support for dual monitors.

Serious Sam is scheduled for release next spring, and a second multiplayer-enabled test demo is set to launch later this year. Gathering of Developers will issue a press release on Monday to officially announce the game. Read the accompanying interview with Robert Westmoreland, CEO of ODI Games, and Roman Ribaric, CEO of Croteam, for more details on the game's development.

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