CROTEAM – DEVELOPING GAMES SINCE 1992
Croteam is the most known Croatian game developer and one of the oldest game developers in the world still in business of developing games and game engine technologies for PC, consoles, mobiles, VRs and online streaming platforms since 1992.
Croteam development team was formed in August 1992 Utrine (now Utrina) suburb, Novi Zagreb, Croatia.
In late August 1992, Roman Ribaric and Davor Hunski made the decision of reviving their high-school idea of making games for a living, while both still studying in different universities and still spending time out in Utrine suburb where Roman and Davor were born, grew up and went to the same class for entire 8 years in elementary school called “Mladost”.
After setting up key team rules, they called their former high-school mates, Dean Sekulic and Damir Perovic, to join in as co-founders.
It was an easy call, as Roman, Davor, Dean and Damir all went to the same “Nikola Tesla” high-school, attend the same class for entire 4 years (1987-1991), whereas in 1989 they also formed their first game development team and worked on a 2D side-scrolling game called “Kids”.
At the same period (1987-1991) each of them was also programming their own games for ZX Spectrum, Amiga and PC for fun and school events, while also having regular soccer session weekends in Novi Zagreb (Dean coming from Sopot suburb and Damir from Slobostina suburb).
In early 1993 Croteam worked on an Amiga-to-PC development port, while at the same time Croteam contacted Black Legend UK publisher, who was looking for both the developers and publishing partners in East Europe.
This soon led to becoming a Black Legend / Croteam publishing division, where main goal was to find talented Croatian teams and offering them publishing and marketing support in getting their games sold through Black Legend UK.
At the same time Croteam’s internal goal was to see if they can also develop their own game and get published under the same Black Legend / Croteam label.
So, in autumn 1993 Alen Ladavac, Tomislav Pongrac, Admir Elezovic and Marko Sekulić were also called in to also join in as co-founders and game development for Croteam’s first game called “Football Glory”.
Alen, Tomislav, Marko and Admir were all well-known from the Amiga demo scene, scoring various awards, whereas Tomislav and Marko also separatelly worked with Davor Hunski on an Amiga 2D puzzle game called “Workaholic”.
From early 1993 to late 1995 Croteam got a number of Croatian developers, who had their games already in development, to get promotions in UK and Germany through Black Legend / Croteam publishing label, specifically “Embryo” for Amiga, which was developed by Beyond Arts (released in 1994.) and “Inordinate Desire” for PC, which was developed by Virtual Arts (released in 1995).
More Croatian games followed, with “Evil’s Doom” from Amiga from Olympia Entertainment Group and “Spherical Worlds” by 4Matted, also getting marketing help from Black Legend / Croteam (they were later published with different publishers in 1996).
FIRST GAME (FOOTBALL GLORY)
In November 1994. Croteam released their first game called “Football Glory” for two platforms/computers (Amiga 5000 and Amiga 1200).
“Football Glory” for PC MS DOS and PC CD-ROM was released in 1995.
With the release of “Football Glory”, Croteam has made a strong presence in the European Amiga and PC market (mainly UK and Germany), with Football Glory receiving 95% score in CU Amiga UK magazine (November 1994 issue), 90% in Amiga Action UK magazine (December 1994 issue) and 80% in Amiga Format UK magazine.
In 1996 Croteam developed two more games for three different platforms/computers: Football Glory indoor sequel called “5-A-Side Soccer” (Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200) and TV game called “Save The Earth” (Amiga 4000).
SERIOUS SAM START
In summer of 1996 Croteam decided for their next game, a 3D FPS game with dark and horror setting with a working title “In The Flesh”. “In the Flesh” was planned to also include strong narrative and portal game mechanics, which was previously announced and showcased in 1995 in the upcoming game called “Prey” from 3D Realms.
Since there were only a few game engines at that time, which were either not offered for licensing, or were costing around half million dollars or more, it was instead decided to internally develop a 3D game engine called ‘SCape 3D’. Also, looking at how time consuming was to work in Quake editor, which required overnight level calculation before actual work testing, the idea was to also create a WYSIWYG editor to allow for easier and much faster level world building than any existing world editor at that time.
In late 1997 Davor Tomicic also joined in Croteam, coming also from the same high-school “Nikola Tesla”, attending the same class as Roman, Davor, Dean and Damir, while also being their long time friend and also coming from Novi Zagreb (Slobostina suburb).
In 1998 while developing “In The Flesh”, it was decided to drop dark, horror themes and strong narrative and instead go with bright and open environments with big fights.
In 1999 the game name changed from “In the Flesh” to “Serious Sam” and game design direction changed to “not-so-serious” main character called Serious Sam, adding “Monty Python” humor, light story, while narrative was set to one liners from main character Serious Sam. At the same time game engine name was changed from “SCape 3D” to “Serious Engine”.
Between late 1999 and mid 2000, Damjan Mravunac, Dinko Pavicic and Petar Ivancek joined in Serious Sam development team.
SERIOUS SAM TECHNOLOGY TEST
May 30, 2000 was the big date for Croteam. On that day “Serious Sam Technology Test” was released as a free download in June 2000. Soon after it became the “#1 download of the summer 2000” on Gamespy.
Between 2000-2002 Croteam worked crazy hours and managed to develop three games:
“Serious Sam: The First Encounter” (PC – First Person Shooter, released in 2001, published by Gathering of Developers/Take 2 Interactive),
“Serious Sam: The Second Encounter” (PC – First Person Shooter, released in 2002, published by Gathering of Developers/Take 2 Interactive),
“Serious Sam Xbox” (Xbox – First Person Shooter, released in November 2002, published by Gotham Games/Take 2 Interactive).
Since Serious Sam: The First Encounter worldwide release in 2001, which was/still is “the highest Croteam ranked game on Metacritic with 87% score”, Croteam is recognized for its frantic action game design, crazy humor and powerful Serious Engine technology.
Serious Sam games were also released on other platforms such as Palm OS, GameCube and Playstation 2 and they were developed by 3rd party developers.
SERIOUS SAM 2
In 2005 Croteam finished the development of “Serious Sam 2”, featuring comic-style cartoon visuals and new Serious Engine 2 technology. It was released world-wide in October 2005. for PC and Xbox platforms.
DEVOLVER DIGITAL AND STEAM
In April 2008 “Serious Sam 3” publishing deal was signed with Devolver Digital.
“Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter”, powered by newly developed Serious Engine 3, was finished and published by Devolver Digital world-wide in November 2009 for PC and in January 2010 for XBLA.
“Serious Sam HD: The Second Encounter” was released world-wide in April 2010 for PC and in September 2010 for XBLA.
SERIOUS SAM 3
“Serious Sam 3: BFE” was released world-wide in November 2011 for PC, then new platforms Mac and Linux were added by mid 2012.
“Serious Sam 3: BFE” for XBLA platform was released in September 2012.
SERIOUS SAM 4 START
From October 2012 “Serious Sam 4” initial development started, which also included creating some new gameplay mechanics.
This work soon resulted in creation of a new puzzle gameplay prototype and in mid 2013 it was agreed with Devolver Digital to have it published as a separate game called “The Talos Principle”.
“Serious Sam 3: BFE” for PSN platform was released in May 2014.
THE TALOS PRINCIPLE
“Sigils of Elohim”, tetromino-like puzzle game for Steam, iOS and Android, was released in October 2014, serving as a gameplay introduction to one of Talos gameplay mechanics.
In December 2014 Croteam released “The Talos Principle” for Steam, Mac and Linux platforms, philosophical first-person puzzler which received numerous awards and nominations for game of the year and high praises both from critics as well as gamers, resulting in 85% Metacritic score and 95% overall Steam user score.
The Talos Principle’s “Road to Gehenna” DLC was released in July 2015, followed by “The Talos Principle Deluxe Edition” for PS4 in October 2015.
INDIE CO-PRODUCTION LABEL
In 2015 Croteam started Croteam Indie with the aim to help Croatian indie game developers with (co)investments and co-production.
First developer that signed co-investment and co-production with Croteam in December 2015 was Gamepires with the open world survival game called “SCUM”.
In October 2016 Croteam’s first VR game called “Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope” was released in Steam’s Early Access for Vive VR.
Throughout 2017 four other VR games were released for Vive VR: “Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter” (March 2017), “Serious Sam VR: The Second Encounter” (April 2017), “The Talos Principle VR” (October 2017) and “Serious Sam 3 VR: BFE” (November 2017).
In September 2017 Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope left Steam’s Early Access and was also released for Oculus VR platform.
FIRST CO-PRODUCED GAMES RELEASES
In May 2018 “I Hate Running Backwards”, developed by Croatian developer Binx and invested & produced by Croteam, was released on Steam, followed by three digital platforms: PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
“SCUM” from Gamepires was released on Steam in Early Access in August 2018 and immediately went to #1 spot on Steam top sellers, selling one million units within one week and hitting $10M Steam gross revenue within first three weeks following the release.
MORE CO-PRODUCED GAMES
In November 2018 Croatian developer 2×2 Games signed with Croteam for co-investment with a turn-based strategy sequel “Unity of Command II”.
In April 2019 two co-production games were released on Steam: “Battle Bolts” (developed by Shot Second) and “Serious Sam: Tormental” in Early Access (developed by Gungrounds), both published by Croteam.
“Unity of Command II” was developed and published by 2×2 Games on Steam in November 2019.
“The Talos Principle Deluxe Edition” was released in August 2018 for Nintendo Switch and in December 2019 for Xbox One platform.
“Serious Sam Collection” was released for Google Stadia platform in March 2020.
SERIOUS SAM 4
In September 2020 Croteam released “Serious Sam 4” for Steam and Google Stadia platforms, followed by PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S ports in December 2021.
SERIOUS SAM: SIBERIAN MAYHEM
A standalone expansion to Serious Sam 4 called “Serious Sam: Siberian Mayhem” which was developed by Timelock Studio, was released in January 2022 for Steam, followed by PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S platforms.