The Talos Principle launches today on Xbox One, bringing mind-bending puzzles and a deep psychological story to the players. Fun times, right? It wasn’t always so…
“We didn’t expect it. We certainly didn’t plan for it. Honestly, at first, we didn’t know what it is exactly. But there it was, a game that just sort of happened and we needed to decide on what to with it.”
The Talos Principle was almost a finished game when Devolver Digital saw it for the first time. Graeme Struthers, head of Devolver’s Europan branch, was on a Skype call when it happened. “Croteam went off the grid for six months and it wasn’t a strange or a new thing, they do that from time to time. Suddenly they were back, asking for a conference call. Everybody here at Devolver assumed it was to share information on the next Serious Sam game.”
“They informed us that they were making a new game instead and that’s when my connection dropped out for a couple of seconds,” remembers Graeme. “I wasn’t disconnected from the call, it was just a few seconds of garbled video and voice. Everything went back to normal soon enough, just in time for me to hear somebody scream: ‘A philosophical what!?'”
Of course, a new Serious Sam title was planned at a time but that’s when the creative inspiration struck and took things in an unexpected new direction. Some of the most elaborate puzzles intended for the next Sam game evolved and soon grew to take on a life of their own. The Talos Principle, a philosophical puzzler, was born.
Croteam worked extensively with writers Tom Jubert and Jonas Kyratzes to build an existential narrative around the game’s interactions, resulting in a sedate experience with religious overtones and philosophical wonderings — a game that was the exact opposite of Serious Sam’s frantic, fast-paced non-stop action.
“It’s tempting to look at The Talos Principle in hindsight as ‘yet another great game from Croteam,’” sighs Alen Ladavac, Croteam’s Chief Technology Officer. “The game turned out awesome, reviews and scores are nothing short of amazing and most importantly players love it, stream it and turn its secrets inside out. We’re very happy and humbled by all of this today, but in reality, the studio took a huge risk when we decided to start working on Talos.”
“There were only a handful of puzzle games on the market and there was no way of knowing how the game will perform” explains Ladavac. “From a strictly commercial perspective, the next installment in a proven franchise always makes more sense, but we were lucky to be in a position to get excited about a project and turn this dream into a wonderful game.”
The Talos Principle went on to be a hugely successful game, which in turn spawned the Road to Gehenna expansion and allowed Croteam to increase the scope of its current project, Serious Sam 4: Planet Badass.
“Perhaps this is true for most studios, but what really keeps us going are fans,” says Ladavac “People getting in touch, saying how much they liked the game or explaining that one puzzle that they just couldn’t solve and then suddenly it all made sense. ”
As more and more gamers got in touch, asking for the game’s release on Xbox One, there was only one thing left for Croteam to do. “Today we’re ready to release the final piece of the puzzle with The Talos Principle for Xbox One. We pride ourselves in listening to fans and we’ve upgraded the Serious engine to support Xbox One. Croteam is a small studio, it took us a while, but to make things right we’ve added the 4K support for Xbox One X – the game never looked this good!”