Public Release of IN THE FLESH

Public Release of IN THE FLESH

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SeriousZone started this petition to Croteam and

What is IN THE FLESH?

In The Flesh (henceforth referred to as ITF) is a first-person shooter game for Microsoft Windows that was in development between 1996 and 1999 by Croteam, the creators of Football Glory (Amiga/DOS). After their first success on the Amiga, Croteam set out to make their own 3D action game inspired by 3D Realms' Prey, featuring a dark, horror-themed setting and portal technology that allows for "magic mirrors".

Publicly unveiled in a September 1996 press release on their website, ITF spent much of its long development period out of the public eye. Most of it was spent building S-Cape3D, their homemade 3D game engine. After a change in game direction in 1998 that dropped the dark horror setting in favor of bright open levels, ITF was ultimately scrapped in 1999. Its assets and engine would go on to be renamed and reused for their next project; an arcade first-person shooter game known as Serious Sam.

That is all the publicly available information known to us, at least.

How do we know ITF is still kept in Croteam's archives?

We know parts of ITF are still around in Croteam's office due to the existence of Serious Sam Origins. Back in 2013, a group of 20 Russians petitioned Croteam to release an alpha build of Serious Sam from before it was scrapped and turned into Serious Sam: The First Encounter.

Miraculously, Croteam obliged, providing them with a January 2000 build of Serious Sam along with a copy of the Serious Sam Game Design Document detailing the game's plans; it is the very same package that was sent to 30 different publishers back then, of which only two replied — with a "no". That's not all though; Croteam also gave these 20 Russians assets from ITF, which is how we came to know that not all ITF enemies were brought forward to Sam2000. Armed with Croteam's blessings, these 20 Russians set out to create Serious Sam Origins, a fan-made project aimed to finish Croteam's original vision for Serious Sam, and promised to release the original Serious Sam Game Design Document and In The Flesh assets together with it when it's done.

This, of course, never happened.

While the Publisher Evaluation Build of Sam2000 was leaked some time in 2015, the Sam2000 GDD and ITF assets still remain shrouded in secrecy.

What can we expect from a public release of ITF?

Any of these four items would be incredibly helpful:

  1. Assets (such as models, textures, sounds)
  2. Design documents and any related text files
  3. Working build(s) of the game
  4. Source code and SDK

As the game was never finished, whatever is archived of the project are all work-in-progress materials. Some may have reached a passable state to be included in the game at the time, some could have only begun development, and most simply never existed outside of being ideas on paper. The S-Cape3D engine itself was perhaps only an unoptimized, barebones 3D world viewer before its rebranding as the Serious Engine; perhaps it won't even run on modern systems, given its age.

So why should there be a public release of ITF?

For the sake of history. We do not expect a playable game to be released. Rather, we plan to look at it from a purely archaeological standpoint to:

  1. Learn what the full game plans were
  2. Study the state of the game at various points in time
  3. Examine the levels and assets using the backward-compatible Serious Editor and Serious Modeler

Most importantly, we want to save what little was made and remained of ITF before it's lost to data corruption within Croteam's backup CDs forever.

In short, a public release of ITF would be for archival purposes that will benefit every Croteam fan with an interest in their development process.

What is the purpose of this petition?

As a way to gauge interest for a public release of ITF. We do not expect this petition to achieve its goal; no Change.org petition ever has. This petition only serves as a show of hands that there are indeed Croteam fans who want to learn more about this part of their long history as Croatia's biggest game development studio.

So why make this petition?

If 20 Russians who signed a petition back in 2013 were able to convince Croteam to privately release an alpha build of Serious Sam along with its game design document for them to keep among themselves, then maybe, just maybe, 100 of us might be able to convince Croteam to publicly release a prototype build of In The Flesh along with any design documents for all Croteam fans to research, however unlikely of a miraculous event that is.

That is why we are asking any Croteam fans reading this; as long as you have an interest in Croteam games be it Serious Sam or Talos Principle:

Please consider signing your support for our cause to save this portion of Croteam's history from being lost forever.

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