Croteam VR, the developers behind the popular first person shooter Serious Sam, are bringing their classic original instalment of the franchise to VR platforms next week with a new Early Access release called The First Encounter which promises full choice of locomotion methods.

Given the current accepted knowledge – that first person shooter games are somewhat difficult to pull off comfortably in virtual reality – Croatian developers Croteam and publishers Devolver Digital have shown some courage bringing their frantic FPS franchise Serious Sam to immersive platforms. Their first entry on VR platforms entitled The Last Hope. The title was a toe in the water for the developer, who limited the title’s locomotion methods in order to ensure the title was as comfortable as possible for as many people as possible on release.

Now, the team is planning to release a fan-pleasing hardcore edition of their original Serious Sam title and are planning to open up player movement to accommodate the original’s traditional first person shooter design. “Croteam’s VR division is delighted to present Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter – our first full locomotion campaign game for the VR market, with all the bells and whistles found in regular (a.k.a. non-VR) Serious Sam games, ” reads the Steam Early access page – which notes that Serious Sam: The First Encounter will be released on 20th Dec.

serious-sam-the-first-encounter-2The First Encounter looks to be a boon for fans of the series with VR gear, with the action being presented on Croteam’s brand new “2017” engine, giving the original title (which is now over 15 years old) a welcome lick of visual paint. But perhaps most significantly for those frustrated with the current reliance of developers on teleportation locomotion techniques in VR games, Croteam is opening up movement choices significantly. The First Encounter will ship with the teleportation system seen in The Last Hope, but will also allow people to use standard trackpad (and presumably joystick for Oculus Touch) input to guide Sam around the levels. Here are those features in full:

Serious Locomotion – Explore the levels using trackpad movement (if you are brave enough), go with safer built-in teleportation system and move quickly to avoid charging enemies with the help of Sam’s personal translocator device or tweak and adjust the way you move through the VR space to best suit you playing style with using our own Serious Warp ™ locomotion.

Double the Gun, Double the Fun – Let go of the keyboard and gun down enemies, one weapon in each hand, or dual-wield them, quadrupling your stopping power. Combine different guns or just grab two of the same, but whatever your style, remember: Mental must be stopped!

Old School, New Engine – Hordes of enemies and non-stop action set against the expansive and visually stunning backdrop of ancient Egypt. all powered by the latest Serious Engine 2017 to create one of the most unique VR experiences!

It’s pretty encouraging to see such a well established traditional games developer throwing themselves so willingly into the VR fold by re-releasing older favourites with fully integrated virtual reality support. We’d love to see other developers take some cues from Devolver Digital and Croteam here.

In addition to this new VR title, Croteam have also added a co-op mode to their first VR release The Last Hope along with “two new difficulty settings: tourist and serious”, all free to owners of game on both Oculus Home or Steam. That co-op mode works cross VR headsets too – so Rift and Vive owners can battle it out together.

You’ll be able to buy Serious Sam: The First Encounter via Steam Early Access on December 20th right here.

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  • wheeler

    YES! Adapting older titles is what they should be doing for early VR. And with locomotion options! I’m going to be all over this.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I agree completely – many games, even strategy, etc. would be worthwhile to have in VR and I also think would go a long way towards pulling in more people who currently are sitting on side waiting for content development. Using “big screen” attempts with older games is almost useless because all anyone notices is the poor resolution in comparison to 2-D.

    • Mane Vr

      I thinking porting all games going forward should be in vr it lower the risk to devs we get more content all while giving devs the research they need to make a great from the ground up for vr. if they made COD playable in vr that game is going to sell millions and make it’s money back even if 1% plays it in vr to the company it doesn’t matter they made their money but to us it’s a big deal can we get a full aaa game. Eso need to add vr the list goes on and on

  • Raphael

    This is amazing news. Full locomotion. I will be buying.

    • ummm…

      ill be happier when we get an arma or ghost recon-esque shooter, and not the fast moving silly serious sam. ive got the other vr ss and will buy this one. but id like an onward single player.

      • Raphael

        You best petition Bohemia then. The more people that contact these companies with their requests… the better. Bohemia told me they were interested in developing for VR a year ago so it’s not out of the question.

        • ummm…

          cool. sadly i think arma is a long way off. looooooooooong way. vorpx doesn’t even come close to scratching that itch.

          • hyperskyper

            I’ve never played Arma, but isn’t Onward very similar?

          • ummm…

            in the sense that they both attempt to be military sims. however, arma is a humongous game. if you dont know much about it, id reccomend you look into it. nothing like it has ever been made. it is a military sandbox and has a robust editor.

  • Me

    The joy ! Xmas ! Hallelujah !

  • The Sifter

    Yes! Finally maybe we can begin to move past this B.S. and be confident about first person shooters in VR once more!!!!!!

    • Raphael

      Yes, I was beginning to think VR would forever be held back by nausea hysteria.
      I’ve just tweeted to croteam to offer encouragement for taking this step. I suggest any other full-locomotion fans do the same.

      • The Sifter

        I’m so happy!!! I OWN THIS THE MOMENT IT’S RELEASED!!

      • Get Schwifty!

        It’ll always be a concern, at least until people “grow up” with VR…

        Still no reason though not to offer it as an alternative where possible…

        • hyperskyper

          A lot of people have properly functioning brains that react how they should when playing VR games with trackpad/joystick movement. People get sick because their brains realize that they aren’t moving when it looks like they are. Those people are not able to “grow up” as you childishly say.

          • bullno1

            Or some people have better brains which know they are just playing a game and not actually moving.

          • yag

            I noticed that the people who don’t get VR sick are usually smarter and better looking.
            But maybe it’s just my case.

          • Slootha

            I think Schwifty meant literally kids growing up with VR, as in future generations that grow up with VR as a medium will find it easier since the brain could learn to accept that medium at a young age while the child is “growing up”. I may be wrong, but that’s how I took his meaning

          • Sam Kennedy

            Think you read that wrong, He was talking about kids growing up with VR therefore getting used to this type of disconnect between brain and perceived movement and a young age.

            Way to get salty way to quickly though :)

        • Konchu

          I agree here I have personally have got a better tolerances to VR than when I started. And with tweaks to supplements this such as Auto FOV tweaking and anchoring I think they can make this usable for most people.

      • Mane Vr

        yes I will do just that hope it breaks the door open for move devs to follow

      • hyperskyper

        VR sickness is no joke. Some people get used to it, but others will never. I have had my Vive since July and still feel nauseous in quite a few games. Onward is the only game with trackpad movement that I can comfortable play. I think it’s great that some developers offer the choice of trackpad moment for the subset of people that don’t feel nauseous.

        • Raphael

          Agree it’s great when both camps are catered for in a game. By the way… someone once mentioned travel sickness pills for VR nausea… My wife can’t handle VR and she has mentioned taking meds to see if it helps…

          • johann jensson

            This is just suppressing the symptoms. You’ll never get used to artificial locomotion with pills.

    • Mane Vr

      I agree I been playing doom it’s going to be great to add a new game to my list to play. sucks it’s only on steam for now but i’ll buy it anyway

    • AndyP

      In the net!!!!!!!!! Finally they are listening.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Full locomotion? Sold.

  • VR Cat

    Nice! Delighted to hear this. Game looks great, can’t wait!

  • The Sifter

    I hope the dev’s on the DOOM VR project are paying careful attention!

    • Raphael

      They almost certainly won’t be… mark my words Mr Sifter: Doom 4 will be little more than an incoming wave shooter perhaps with some awful blink teleport.

      • The Sifter

        Man I hope you’re wrong, but that gut feeling says otherwise.

  • OgreTactics

    The Serious Locomotion system seems interesting.

    • Raphael

      It’s the most serious locomotion system this side of the internet.

      • David Herrington

        Wait, I can’t tell if you are being serious…

  • The Sifter

    I hope this becomes wide spread common practice among devs. I have almost 4,700.00 invested and I’m bombarded with an ocean of simple 10.00 dollar games! I haven’t placed an order for the Touch controls yet either! Very disheartening. VR is struggling to believe in itself. It would be so simple and smart if dev’s would include a native VR option in their 2D games that would let us try it first. Oculus and Vive would throw some cash at the studios for the effort and in the end both companies would ultimately save money having more precise info on “how to do what.” They(Oculus/Vive) really believed teleport movement would be acceptable for FPS. FPS are over 50% of gaming, not to mention various walking sims. VR sickness is real, but how could limited options in a fledgling industry ever be a good idea?

    • Raphael

      VR sickness is indeed real but the assumption was made that it affected everybody or the majority. That may have been the case going back to DK1 but with DK2 the symptoms were reduced for some and with CV1 and Vive more people are able to play without issue. I also read a lot of comments from people who had nausea but it reduced over time or they overcame it through determined exposure to half life 2 or vorpx injected games.

      Yes, VR nausea is still an issue to varying degrees for some but the problem is the industry overreacted and the result was a flood of incoming wave shooters to the extent that many gamers became sick not from nausea but of seeing one incoming wave game after another released. The games that weren’t wave shooters were inflicted with ugly blink teleport and we’re now seeing a reaction to that as well. More and more comments from people who hate teleport.

      I want to see VR hardware develop to the point where no one has to suffer from nausea. I’m one of the lucky ones because there is nothing in VR that triggers it.

      It’s nice to see some developers waking up and realising that there is somewhat of a backlash happening against teleport and that a significant percentage really want full locomotion as evidenced by the very positive reaction to Doom BFG and this Serious Sam announcement.

      As you say… how could limited options for control be a good idea? It was totally unfair to cater only to the most sensitive VR users… my well-worn analogy goes thus: Imagine real coaster rides being designed only for the most sensitive people who suffer from extreme motion-sickness? That’s the situation we’ve had since VR nausea hysteria took hold.

      • The Sifter

        Yes. Completely agreed.

      • ummm…

        yeah i think you are right regarding the insistence upon teleportation mechanics. while i am not so bummed out by them, i do think it is because that is largely what we have on offer. i have a high tolerance so im lucky. there does need to be a pro and con debate re: vr sickness vs. attracting those like yourself that are vehemently against teleporting. It is really only an issue with multiplayer games. In single player it is slightly less important to have glide movement. i think you are overstating the hysteria as i haven’t heard much about it in months. Especially after onward hit the scene and showed everyone that it was possible AND FUN

        • Raphael

          I’m not overstating the nausea hysteria. The damage was done a long time ago and the VR game industry still hasn’t gotten over it. Sure nausea gamers are a minority with the latest VR headsets but the industry went into panic and the result was wave shooters and blink teleport. Just because a lone developer made Onward doesn’t mean the industry instantly gets past the nausea fear.

          • ummm…

            Well onward showed it was certainly possible. Solus did too. I think u r right that the industry is operating under that fear, and for real reasons, not imagined. I get to do VR everyday. But I do see effects on people that I demo it to, some more than others. Anyhow. Happy holidays.

          • Raphael

            You see fx on people who have never been exposed to VR or had minimal exposure? That’s a crucial point because I’ve read so many comments from VR users who took time to get adjusted. I’ve seen that some make a determined effort to get used to it while others give up immediately.

            A friend of mine got his mommy on eve Valkyrie for the first time and she had no nausea. It’s not universal this nausea and the game feedback reflects that. Still it does exist and it does need to be improved upon with better hardware and software.

            Happy pancake day.

          • ummm…

            yeah. i had to train myself when i first got it on a couple of experience; most notably project cars. Some ginger tea, and short play session helped me raise my tolerance (which was pretty high to begin with). I’ve had some issue with the second serious sam vr game. But, ive only put in a couple of minutes and haven’t trained myself how to move just yet. But, on the whole i can play it without much issue. I find that the body can be trained very easily.

      • hyperskyper

        Many people, including myself, have not gotten over VR sickness and never will.

        • Mane Vr

          this we understand and we want options for u to enjoy vr but what has happen is over 90% of games are made with those like u in mind while forgetting but those like me which isn’t fair. we don’t want them to stop using teleport we just want them to add free motion locomotion too so those like me can fully enjoy the game too. devs like 4 A games seem to think they r doing us a favor by taking the option to freely move in their game away from us. we need to not just voice our angry but vote with our money I refuse to buy games that doesn’t have freemotion in it. and look for games that does even if it’s not the kind of game I want to play. I will become picker as more and more devs wake up and see giving this option is the way to make more money.

          • Raphael

            Yup, agree. I have never wanted to ban teleport and lock nausea sensitive people out of games but I can honestly say I wasn’t shown the same consideration by nausea players in the past. All non-nausea players want is the option for full locomotion. Eagle Flight is another example of a game with forced comfort mode. I believe there was some mention of allowing it to be disabled but I won’t hold my breath.

        • Raphael

          Many people, including myself, have never gotten VR sickness and never will.

      • johann jensson

        What i’m wondering is, why did it take so extremely long for gamers to realize that roomscale wave shooters are no fun?? I saw the previews of the first couple VR games on YouTube (Spring 2016) and found the concepts OK, but only for a demo version. I never believed complete games would release this way.

        But weeks later i started to become very disappointed by the new titles and completely postponed buying into a VR system. Didn’t want to rely exclusively on VorpX for any “real” games, because it’s not a very clean solution.

        But i’m glad that there are changes coming. And i salute Croteam for leading the way. It’s always the smaller companies who have the balls, right?

        • Raphael

          I think several things happened… firstly the nausea hysteria took over and it was exaggerated and made to look like everyone suffered nausea with VR. What actually happened was that DK1 induced more nausea in a percentage of people, DK2 induced nausea in a slightly smaller percentage and CV1 and Vive reduced nausea in a much bigger way. Sure there’s still a percentage suffering to varying degrees but it’s nowhere near the problem it was. Unfortunately the rot set in very quickly and developers went overboard trying not to upset nausea gamers. Non nausea gamers were thus completely ignored and astonishingly they represent the VR majority as evidenced by the steam feedback for any number of VR games with only a small percentage complaining about nausea for games more likely to trigger it.

          Nausea gamers will always try to convince you they are the majority. They aren’t… just a very loud shrinking minority and they will continue to shrink as the hardware and software improves.

          Incoming wave shooters became an easy way to placate the nausea gamers and it quickly spiraled out of control. Developer after developer releasing wave shooters and let’s be honest… it’s an easy type of game to make for a development team. You don’t need sprawling maps to build… just a few static locations. So the market saw wave after wave of wave shooters and many gamers reached breaking point… You’d see comments like “yawn… another wave shooter… no thanks”.

          The same thing is happening with teleport movement mechanic. Growing dissatisfaction amongst VR gamers at seeing games release with blink teleport.

          So now there’s a quiet revolution… Croteam have picked up on gamers desire for full locomotion option. And yes, the smaller devs lead the way. Onward developer ignored the angry nausea clan members who harassed him to make his game with teleport. He explained he’d developed a system of full locomotion that wasn’t causing anyone to spew. He was telling the truth… I was one of the ones to offer him encouragement on steam by telling him to ignore the demands to make his game use teleport.

          So VR game development may come back to full swing without having to exclude anyone. I estimate it will still be another year before we see any sign of a VR battlefield, Arma or GTA. Devs are still afraid of upsetting the nausea clan at this point.

      • Sam Kennedy

        Yea, every VR writer started stressing the importance of not turning people away by making them sick. Yet we still have people getting sick regardless. Some people are not going to react well to VR there are quite a few people out there with 3d sensitivity who have trouble watching 3d movies without getting sick, I know quite a few people like that so you will never fix it entirely, and I beleive it was an overeaction to people with 3d sensitivity that caused it in the first place. Not to say that I havent felt queezy once or twice playing a FPS with a controller while sitting down, but usually I can just stand up and maybe walk in place and get over it relatively quickly.

        Your going to turn away just as many people by limiting games to only teleportation locomotion in the long run anyways. I think comfort options should be made available to people who are sensitive but just not to the degree where you are limiting yourself in the games you can make and in the type of playstyles for these games.

        Think about what VR would be RIGHT NOW without this overeaction. I have no doubt in my mind it would be drastically different. There would certainly be more ports (which could be seen as a good or a bad thing).

        Edit: That being said sometimes barriers and restrictions allow devs to be creative in other ways, maybe because of this a different form of locomotion or different types of games will be made so it goes both ways. I just dont know that its worked out for the better thus far, with games being so limited in this aspect so far that many look and play exactly like each other.

    • Mane Vr

      I agree 100% I refuse to buy any game that is only teleporting

  • wowgivemeabreak

    Cool! I am one of those who gets a bit funky at that type of movement in VR but I am all for companies offering full movement along with other ways for folks like me. Hopefully this works out well and other companies can see you can add multiple styles and please everyone, or at least most.

    • AndyP

      Have you tried taking travel sickness pills while your brain gets used to it?

      • johann jensson

        The brain will not get used to it if it’s not trained properly/regularly to these new stimuli. Pills are not a solution.

      • SimonH

        Screw taking meds, just walk on the spot. And tip your head a little more than norml if necessary. That will stop the sickness caused by perceived motion but no inner ear fluid movement.

  • Chrissie

    ZombVR has full locomotion since day1.

    • Mane Vr

      just watch the video it look a bit ruff but i’ll buy it next pay check i’m always looking for game with locomotion option to play and put on my youtube page.. I play seated and tell my watchers how well a game works seated

      • Mane Vr

        Is ur game coming to oculus home like i said i plan to support full locomotion games in hope more and more devs do it then I’ll get pickly i ask about home cause i prefer to use it for my vr gaming o er steamvr

  • Joe Dert

    This is what I’ve been waiting for. I only want to play all my fps in vr with full locomotion controls. More devs need to at least offer the option and stop catering to only the weakest links. I’d be popping dramamine for the full VR fun if I had to. I’m unaffected in VR but I know I have to if I go deep sea fishing and ocean boating. Those affected should try to only move forward at first and only turn by looking and work your way up. Walk in place if you have to. Try to fully trick your brain the rest of the way to ignore the missing momentum. I think it helps if you can really try to let your imagination fill in the blanks that audio and visual can’t quite do for you yet. You’ve got to suspend any disbelief in the experience. Worth a try.

  • Corbin Dalas

    Looks brilliant, I would definitely enjoy it playing! It will be also good if you can see your upper body in VR, I believe these guys does it:

  • Sean Fulton Hall

    I don’t get the simulator sickness after 7+ years of VR dev, but I am still extremely interested in finding movement that lets one “get into the game” seamlessly and allows *all* of my friends to join me in my virtual adventuring. I am ready to Serious Warp(TM) with co-op!!! Anyone know where I can find any details on their locomotion early? I am excited to try it.

  • The Sifter

    A traditional game pad is not useable!!! They purposely made sure you must own motion controllers even though the whole point is to move freely without teleport movement!!!!! Game pads have pulled this off just fine since the early 1990’s, but now there’s no way!!!

    Although, the game pad works perfectly for navigating the options menus, but when it comes time to move, nothing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m considering getting ride of my whole VR rig… everything!!! I’ve had it with these scams and gimmicks!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve really had enough of VR!!!!

    • DM

      Hate to break it to you, but gamepad VR is not what everyone wants these days. Motion controllers in VR give us way more interesting options.

      I think you should just sell your VR gear and let the rest of us enjoy propper VR.

    • CaptainHappy

      Touch controllers actually mimic a traditional controller in terms of buttons and thumbsticks so nothing is lost with touch controls… but why wouldn’t you want separate hand controls at the same time? It’s virtual reality, not “play Xbox games with a headset on” having your hands in game is a big part of the experience. I won’t foot controllers too so I can kick the baddies in SUPERHOT

  • AndyP

    Just played this – this game shows two really important things: 1. full locomotion ABSOLUTELY works for FPS (instantly comfortable with movement and aiming – really intuitive), 2. Classic old FPS games like this, Doom, Quake 2 etc etc which are still brilliant after all these years can work really well in VR with free movement!!! This is a dream come true for an old gamer, and tonnes of easy money for developers (with so many great old titles that will be refreshed in VR) and fun for old and new generations. These games can make VR mainstream, and that will also give new titles a chance to be developed! In the net Sam!!

    • CaptainHappy

      On the surface that’s a great idea. It’s when you start thinking about all the work that actually goes in to re-master a game and implement touch/wand controls that it becomes way less lucrative for publishers. Let’s not forget that developers are probably aching to make amazing VR games but publishers are saying – “where’s the money?”. The big AAA games we want are £££ and currently VR titles are £.

      Obviously, it’s not what I want. I want a first person Max Payne with full movement control along with roomspace movement (dual wield and slow motion kills are a perfect fit for the touch controllers) but it’s just how it is right now.

  • johann jensson

    Finally some developer does it right. Choices is what we need. Full locomotion for the serious gamer, and keep in the teleportation nonsense for the casuals. Maybe 2017 will be the year when VorpX will become obsolete?

  • beestee

    It really doesn’t make sense why this isn’t always an option. Make the ‘safe’ locomotion systems default, but hide a setting in every first person game for full locomotion.