You’ve might have heard this somewhere already, but Croatian national football finished 2nd in the World Cup! The match against Russia went into overtime and felt more like a long and difficult battle, like wrestling a bear while trying to play football. England nearly gave us a synchronized collective heart attack in the first few minutes, but Croatia won that match in the end. And then lost to France in the finals.
Before, during and after each Croatian match our fans from Russia, England, France and all over the world reached out, cheering or taunting. We did the same. There have been plenty of op-eds discussing why exactly this feels good (right up until your team loses) and discussing what happens when the entire population comes together to lose themselves in euphoria, or why is football, in fact, a highly politicised form of national expression.
Things are much simpler for us at Croteam – we just love playing the game!
It’s no surprise that Football Glory was the first game the studio created and released for Amiga, back in 1994. “It made perfect sense at a time” remembers Davor Hunski, Croteam’s CCO “We loved videogames and we loved playing football. We still play. Well, most of us do.”
A group of high school friends with a passion for creating video games, and that’s what Croteam was in the 90s, pitched the idea of a football game to Alen Ladavac, Croteam’s CTO. He responded with a characteristic and unapologetic call for a game design document: “Sure. I’ll do the code. If you explain the rules.”
Five-A-Side, an indoor version of Football Glory, followed a couple of years later and even scored a nice award at a competition in Japan. The award felt nice, almost as nice as Croatia entering the World Cup for the first time in 1998. and shocking the world by finishing in the third place.
Serious Sam and The Talos Principle followed, today we even have this thing called Croteam Incubator, but we still love and play football to this day and couldn’t have wished for a better birthday present for our 25th anniversary than Croatia’s second place in the World Cup. Admittedly, not all of us wear checkered jerseys to work, and some of us insist that Surfin USM (“You fat bastard!”) reflects the sentiment for the sport better than some other football related stuff that came out of Croatia, but this year’s World Cup result remains a pretty big deal for Croteam, a dev team out of Croatia.
Why? Because it feels very much like reading about Serious Sam for the first time on Old Man Murray in 2000:
“It’s one of the greatest news stories ever. It has everything: war, hardship, broken English, and a great, technically accomplished, already playable game. It’s just the kind of uplifting, underdogs-struggling-against-impossible-odds success story that could only happen in America or Croatia.“
PS Reboot Develop Blue just announced the first wave of speakers for 2019, impressive as ever, but here’s the most important part: the international industry tournament is happening again. Come to Croatia and play football with us!