Of all the cool details we’ve learned about Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass, what we’re most excited about is the fact that there will be hundreds of thousands of enemies on-screen at once.
Not “thousands,” which may be the level of craziness you’d expect from the franchise. “Hundreds of thousands” was the term used, and the developers do mean that literally.
Towards the end of our demo session we saw an entire army of classic Serious Sam enemies coming over a hill. At the time we were in a large harvester and had been mowing down small groups of newer enemies.
The prospect of mulching a horde of smaller enemies seemed like amazing fun — but unfortunately the demo ended right there. It’s early days, and perhaps the engine isn’t ready to show us all of that blood.
The 3D models for all of the Serious Sam enemies, like Gnaars, look much more “realistic” now. As real-to-life as you can expect a headless, screaming maniac carrying two bombs with lit fuses. All of which makes it more impressive that Croteam is able to fit so many into one battle.
After Devolver included precisely zero minutes on Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass in its press conference, we still had nothing to go on other than the original teaser trailer. In the interview above, we were able to get a few of the main important points out of Croteam.
Co-Op and Huge Levels
There will definitely be co-op, fans will be happy to hear. You and a friend can roam the incredibly large maps together, looking for secret areas, tackling quests, and circle-strafing your way to victory.
This is the French countryside, and everything is very green and pleasant, but make no mistake — it’s already been taken over by Hellish forces. In the full game, sections of the world map will either be under control of Earth or Mental, and you’ll be liberating what territories you can. In our demo, we were in France because a nearby fort had a relic we needed — the Holy Grail.
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass features huge levels, and Croteam believes the wide open spaces are a pillar of the franchise. It’s not an open world, but it does kind of act like one. There’s a lot of exploration, side quests with NPCs, and tackling objectives in whatever order you like. We’re told a level will be 80×80 miles.
There were long periods of roaming the wide levels on Sam’s motorcycle, but Croteam is keen to keep you on your toes as you ride. Enemies will run out of forests and other hidden spots to intercept you if you don’t have a weapon handy. They might even climb on top of larger vehicles and poke their heads into your driver’s seat.
Speaking of forests, there were a lot of trees dotting the landscape. This could provide a different kind of firefight than Serious Sam fans are used to. They’ll either provide cover, or just make it more difficult for the AI to pick a path through. The trunks provide more opportunity for your shots to be blocked as well.
Serious Sam 4 Weapons Have Kick
We also noted that the weapons seemed to have a lot more kick than in previous games. And having just recently played through the co-op of Serious Sam 3, that old co-op action was fresh in our memory.
There’s a bit more weight to weapons as they kick back, as opposed to the old way of just watching to see if an enemy explodes as your only form of aesthetic feedback on your shots.
NPCs will occasionally help, too. An injured woman in a stone tower was blasting enemies with a sniper rifle as our demo driver circle-strafed on the ground. She had radioed for help, and we had answered. It was a side quest, but one that resulted in us obtaining a new sniper rifle.
All things considered, Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass is shaping up to be very much what we’d expect from Serious Sam, but cranked up to eleven. We didn’t expect to see anywhere near the amount of enemies on-screen as Croteam is boasting, and the levels are also significantly larger than usual. Time will tell if it’ll all run well, and how co-op will affect that.
Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass will be out on PC/Linux at a date to be announced.