The Croteam Incubator is an internal division of Croteam formed in 2015, with an initiative to provide Croatian developers with opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available while focusing on Croteam’s studio values – creating great games and enjoying what makes game development fun.
“This year, Croteam is celebrating its 25-year anniversary. Starting up in this business wasn’t an easy ride. We went through it all, but we were also very lucky,” remembers Roman Ribaric, Croteam’s CEO and President of Croteam Incubator. “Croteam started in the proverbial garage, went through tough times and experienced a lot of difficulties before we got to where we are today. Now we’re in a position to help out and that’s exactly what Croteam Incubator is about.”
A lot of things weren’t available to new game dev studios in the past, like engine technology, grants, loans and private funding, which all are now more accessible to everyone willing to start in game development. At the same time, a lot of startup development studios are still struggling to get their projects off the ground.
“Over the years we’ve had so many great ideas, and even prototypes of new games and innovative game mechanics, but most of those ideas had to be shelved. The reality is that the studio can only focus on one or two core projects at a time,” says Ribarić. “With Croteam Incubator we’re finally able to implement some of those ideas. We now have a number of Croteam’s veterans that are working closely with their own internal development teams on their own game designs and ideas.”
“Having said that, Croteam is also one of the longest standing indie studios in the world and with the word of Incubator slowly getting out through word of mouth, young (and old) Croatian developers also started turning to us for advice,” explains Ribaric. “Sometimes it was the basics, such as setting up a self-publishing account or choosing the right platform for the game. But every project that we discussed had different needs, from funding to finding a publisher, and we always wanted to do more than just offer advice. So, we have assigned a number of Croteam senior developers to produce and oversee games developed by external Croatian indie teams and offer assistance and guidance.”
After finishing the initial set for the Serious Sam 4 soundtrack, Croteam’s veteran composer Damjan Mravunac “jumped ship”
and used his iconic style to produce tunes for I Hate Running Backwards
Currently, there are six different studios in the Croteam Incubator, with all of them sharing the same office building in Zagreb, Croatia, working on very different games in various stages of production. Every one of them also shares a common trait – a passionate team of developers working on their dream project.
“As we set these studios up, one by one, with offices, dev-kits or licensing deals, people came up to us and said that we’re doing a fantastic job,” says Nikola Mosettig, VP of Croteam Incubator and a team lead/producer/game designer on an unannounced Incubator game. “We took it upon ourselves to help out and the only criteria for selecting the games was the same passion and drive that we used to create our first game when nobody believed that could be done here. It felt good, but I guess it could also just be vanity.“
Working alongside Mosettig is Damjan Mravunac, composer for Croteam’s The Talos Principle and Serious Sam games and COO of Croteam Incubator. “With Serious Sam 4 soundtrack nearly finished, I went to the Incubator offices to see if there’s anything interesting happening. I ended up composing for three games there and that was before I started working on a little game of my own while taking on producer’s role for I Hate Running Backwards.”
The best part? Games, of course, and they are shaping up nicely. I Hate Running Backwards, Tormental, Battle Bolts, and Guardians of Erda are some of the first games that will be coming out of Croteam Incubator. We’ll be presenting them here starting next month, but if you’re eager to get an early hands-on demos, come see us at Reboot Develop 2018 in April or drop by PAX East next week where you will be able to try I Hate Running Backwards.
Alternatively, simply drop us a line on our official subreddit. We’ll have someone from the respective dev-team drop by and chat with you.