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Serious Sam 4 threatens to put 100,000 enemies on your screen at once

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Doom Eternal (opens in new tab) adds so much more stuff to the familiar demon-blasting formula than I ever expected: mods and upgrades and runes and gadgets and special moves and first-person platforming and wow, it is a lot. Serious Sam 4 (opens in new tab), based on a series of short new videos (opens in new tab) that dropped today, will take the opposite approach when it arrives in August, by sticking very closely to the tried-and-true ridiculousness of the previous games.

Which isn't to say there won't be more, but it will come in the form of enemies rather than systems. Croteam's new "Legion System" is a "nice trick," graphics engineer Dean Sekulić says in the video below, that enables "thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands" of enemies on the screen at one time.

"This is one of the systems we actually developed for Serious Sam 4," he explains. "We have some levels that we'll actually be able to populate with this many enemies. We were really pleasantly surprised with how fast it can run, because originally we were hoping for like 10,000 enemies, and now we've hit an order of magnitude more."

The new game will also feature new weapons (opens in new tab) and enemies (opens in new tab), and it looks like most of the familiar friends and firepower will be returning as well. And addressing a common complaint about the relatively slow start of Serious Sam 3: BFE, which opened with several levels of conventional machine-gun action against relatively normal, human-like enemies, Sekulić said that Serious Sam 4 will "go with full Sam from the beginning."

It's a very old-school approach to shooter design, but after 20 years—the original Serious Sam came out in 2001—it's both expected and, I think, exactly what fans of the series want. Monkey bars and glory kills are fine, but sometimes you just want to hold down the trigger and yell.

The one spot of bad news amidst all of this is the title: Croteam has, for some reason, dropped the wonderful Planet Badass subtitle. I am legitimately bummed out by this development—I cannot imagine a more perfect Serious Sam game title, and it amazes me that they'd let it go. 

Serious Sam 4 is slated to comes out sometime in August (opens in new tab). While you wait, you can pick up the other games in the series on sale for up to 90 percent off on Steam (opens in new tab).

Andy Chalk
Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.