Serious Sam 3: An Interview with Croteam’s Roman Ribaric

Senior Contributor
11.17.11

On the heels of debuting the new trailer for “Serious Sam 3”, we also had a short interview with developer Croteam’s CEO, Roman Ribaric. Ribaric weighed in on why Sam will never take cover, why aliens plowing through walls is an integral game choice, and why the sledgehammer isn’t just for comedy purposes, but will be your closest friend in the game.

Read it all, under the jump.

SS3 has made a real splash with its tagline “No Cover, All Man”. Did you discuss making it more like cover-based shooters early in the process?

The Serious Sam series is all about over-the-top action and massive hordes of unrelenting creatures converging on the player so a cover-based shooter was never an option. It just wouldn’t work with an action-oriented shooter series like Serious Sam. Serious Sam 3 continues that tradition and we think gamers will have a blast running through the battlefield firing cannonballs, rockets, and explosive shotgun shells just trying to survive the barrage of enemies and crumbling columns and walls all around them. While there is a place for cover-based shooters, we know that fans of Serious Sam don’t want to cower behind walls waiting for enemies to reload or stick their heads out for no reason. That was all summed up well in the line “No Cover, All Man.” Just get out there and pull the trigger until it goes click.

Did your knowledge that the game would be on consoles affect the overall design, and if so, how?

The PC has always been the lead platform for Serious Sam games and we followed this philosophy when designing Serious Sam 3. We really want to make sure that when we launch on PC November 22nd, we are putting out the best possible game that we can. Once we get Serious Sam 3 launched on PC, we are going to finish up the console version of the game and can assure all the fans out there that those versions of Serious Sam 3 will just as insanely awesome.

How’d you settle on the sledgehammer as the main melee weapon? It’s an interesting choice.

We noticed that a lot of modern shooters were getting pretty stale with their default melee weapons like hunting knives, the other end of a rifle, etc. Yawn. The team wanted to give the player something genuinely useful and since Serious Sam is all about facing off with large groups of enemies at once we needed to create a melee weapon with a variety of uses.

The sledgehammer allowed us to incorporate a more powerful, and therefore useful, melee weapon that could be swung in front of the player for a quick strike or overhead for a truly punishing blow. Once we started to play the prototype we realize that it was important we added a third swing for the sledgehammer so we gave the player the ability to do a full 360 degree swing to clear out everything around you once you find yourself overwhelmed. It’s pretty gruesome when you connect with any of the three and we think it’s a truly fun and useful tool in your arsenal.

Just how destructible are the environments, and how does it affect the gameplay?

Going back to the “No Cover, All Man” theme we have put in plenty of obstacles in the battlefield so both Sam and the enemies have their line of sight interrupted which causes a little more panic when the action cranks up. The key is in Serious Sam 3, these are just temporary reprieves from the assault and most of the larger enemies will tear right through things like partial walls, columns, statues, etc. in their relentless pursuit of the player. Werebulls will run right through walls, massive demons will push right through towering columns, and the rocket launcher-wielding Scrapjacks will blast through anything to get a clear shot at Sam. Between the player firing off heavy ordinance and the enemies going nuts trying to get through, the game can get pretty hectic with the environment crumbling down in the midst of battle.

How involved have the fans of the game been in the process? Have you been running ideas by some of them, or just watching the forums to gauge their reactions?

Our fans are absolutely integral to the design of the game. We listened to what fans of our games praised and criticized in Serious Sam HD, the remakes of the original Serious Sam games that we released last year on PC and Xbox LIVE Arcade. Serious Sam 3 had to be one part classic Serious Sam and one part new ideas and concepts. Additionally, most of our beta testing is done by a select group of hardcore Serious Sam fans because they know the series well and will be brutally honest with us during development. Their input has helped shaped the arsenal of weapons at your disposal, the vicious melee attacks, and the overall fine tuning of the gameplay in Serious Sam 3. We made this game for the fans and it would have been foolish not to listen to what they wanted in the next big Serious Sam game!

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