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Serious Sam 4 (from English – “Cool Sam 4”) is a computer game in the genre of first-person shooter from the Serious Sam series of games, developed by the Croatian company Croteam. Devolver Digital was the publisher of the project. The game was officially announced on April 19, 2018, and was released on September 24, 2020.
Serious Sam 4 is a story-driven prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE. The game takes place on Earth at the height of the war with Mental. The plot tells about the group of requisitioning of alien artifacts (GRIA), which includes protagonist Sam “Tough Sam” Stone and many characters from Serious Sam 3: BFE. The group travels to Rome in search of a priest who knows the location of the Holy Grail, an alien artifact that can turn the tide of war.
For the first time, the game was demonstrated to the press at the E3 2018 exhibition behind closed doors; the gameplay has been described in various articles from journalists. In addition, the gameplay of the pre-alpha version of the game was soon published. Compared to Serious Sam 3: BFE, the game has the ability to control vehicles and monsters, new types of weapons and enemies. So, the player will be able to ride a motorcycle, harvester and mech. The game also contains improvements for weapons, which can be found as you study the levels. These improvements add an alternate firing mode, or improve damage and rate of fire. Also in Serious Sam 4 it is possible to carry a weapon in each hand and shoot in Macedonian style.
One of the key features of the game is the implementation of huge open maps up to 128 km² in size. Croteam also announced the possibility of placing up to 100,000 enemies simultaneously, for which one of the innovations of the Serious Engine game engine, the so-called “Legion system”, is responsible. There are additional optional missions in the game. Also, as in previous games in the series, there is support for a cooperative mode of passing up to 4 players.
Development and release
The first information about Serious Sam 4 appeared in June 2013. Croteam announced the sale of their previous games on the Humble Bundle website and said that all the proceeds will go to the development of Serious Sam 4. The news was accompanied by a concept art with the main character of the series against the background of the destroyed Eiffel Tower, previously appeared in the film about the development of Serious Sam 3: BFE in 2011, and a postscript that the game will be released in 2014. However, this date has subsequently changed several times.
2014 saw the release of the new Croteam game, the first-person philosophical puzzle The Talos Principle. The developers admitted that the concept of the game was born during the development of Serious Sam 4. They wanted to add puzzles to the new part of the franchise in order to dilute the shooting process and create an alternative to the standard search for keys, but the invented gameplay mechanics seemed to Croteam so ambitious and interesting that they decided to do on based on a completely new project.
In 2015, new screenwriters joined the project – Jonas Kiratzes and his wife Verena. Jonas Kiratzes previously co-wrote The Talos Principle. On December 25 of the same year, Croteam wished fans a Merry Christmas and confirmed that Serious Sam 4 would be the prequel to Serious Sam 3: BFE.
In February 2016, in an interview with the Croatian magazine Reboot, creative director Davor Hunski said that photogrammetry and motion capture technology will be used to create Serious Sam 4. To bring this to life, Croteam personally created a special studio and the corresponding technical equipment on the basis of their office . In addition, the technical director of the studio, Alain Ladavats, announced that the new version of the Serious Engine, on the basis of which the game is created, will support Vulkan technology.
In April 2018, the first teaser trailer for Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass was presented at Reboot Develop, hinting at the announcement of the game at E3. However, at E3 2018, the game was not shown to fans, it was only shown to members of the press. Subsequently, Croteam only published a few screenshots on Steam, stating that they were not yet ready to show the game . The next show took place on May 20, 2020, when the release date was announced – August 2020, and the release platforms were the Windows operating system and the Google Stadia service. Also, representatives of Devolver Digital announced that the release on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms will take place no earlier than 2021. At the same time, the subtitle Planet Badass was removed from the title of the game, as it turned out later, due to its untranslability when localized into other languages.
Some time after the release of the trailers, some fans accused the developers of censoring the naked chest of the harpy, which in Serious Sam 3: BFE had a story rationale.