When Being a Robot is Not Enough – The Talos Principle Interview
Once it comes to Croatian industry, the country is not really the leading power in the world. Some will say that such situation is more than welcome, knowing the hype of Croatia as a prime tourist destination. However, there is one industry of this country which environmentalists don’t have to worry about. In recent years, the production of Croatian computer games has noted considerable increase, both in quality and quantity.
In 2014, several notable titles were released by Croatian development teams, including games such as the alien-shooting mayhem of Red Solstice and the sequel to star-travelling adventure Star Point Gemini 2. Yet, the most recent success comes from Croteam, the pioneers of Croatian entertainment software, the same developer who brought you globally famous “Serious Sam” franchise. Their latest title called “The Talos Principle” drew a lot of attention to itself, being praised by leading individuals of the industry, and receiving high marks by international reviewers.
While “Serious Sam” was a witty and action-packed game, “The Talos Principle” has showed a completely new realm of design and approach to gaming medium. This puzzle game involves a lonely robot on his way to discover his true nature, while the narrative reflects upon the topics of religion, existence and free will. Approaching the subject in the ways of legendary science fiction authors such as Asimov and Clarke, “The Talos Principle” is probably one of the most notable computer games currently on the market.
In order to learn more about the Croteam’s latest achievement, we asked the developers a few questions about how “The Talos Principle” came to existence, and what can be expected from their workshop in the future.
„The Talos Principle“ is a unique game which gained some rather rave reviews. What is the secret of its success?
We successfully married great puzzle experience with meaningful and deep background story, so that players can really immerse into this vast unknown world and enjoy finding out who they are, what they need to do and what exactly happened. It certainly helps that our artists did a great job and game runs and looks beautifully on most systems, adding to the success.
How did you get an idea for „The Talos Principle“?
First puzzles were created while we were prototyping new mechanics for the next game in our Serious Sam franchise, but soon were given the life of their own, once our designers realized the potential and fun factor that lied within. We designed general world setting and outline of the story, and then brought two excellent indie writers on board, Tom Jubert (FTL, The Swapper) and Jonas Kyratzes (The Infinite Ocean, The Sea Will Claim Everything), who did a marvelous job creating unique and rewarding experience that touches the bases of transhumanism and other important questions about humanity.
A lot of people, including Minecraft creator Markus Persson, said that your game somehow changed them in the good way. Were you expecting such kind of reaction from the players?
We hoped people will react positively to The Talos Principle, but seeing the comments from media, press and other developers raving about the game… it’s just crazy (positively crazy!). Seems that a lot of people really dig the game and think about the questions raised within the story long after they finish it, which is a sign we really did something good.
How is computer game industry in Croatia forming?
It’s getting stronger every day, and we predict bright future for Croatian developers in following years. Many teams here now develop game that are on par with industry standards and are very successful in publishing them, mostly on Steam platform. With the aid of local game magazines and newly opened gamedev schools, we are on a good way to properly put Croatian game development on world map.
Have computer games matured enough to be an art form?
For us, that already happened long time ago, but for the rest of the world, this topic is still highly controversial. While critics have never denied that games may contain artistic elements in their traditional forms such as graphic art, music, and story, several notable figures have advanced the position that games are not artworks, and may never be capable of being called art. We disagree with that and support the idea of games being an art.
Fans of your Serious Sam franchise are eagerly expecting the next installment in the series. What can you tell us about Sam’s new adventure, and when will it be released?
(laughs) It’s hard to talk about Serious Sam 4 without giving away spoilers, but for fans of the franchise, we can make comparison with Second and First encounter: what TSE was to TFE, that’s what SS4 will be compared to SS3.
With „The Talos Principle“ a new page has opened for Croteam. Apart from the things we know, what is your next move? Are we going to have another game like Talos in the future?
We have dozens of ideas up our sleeves, but our fans can be certain that we’ll give them new Serious Sam game, as well as new Talos game. And who knows, maybe we slip something in between.