I was surprised with how nice and optimised the engine behind The Talos Principle was, so it's kind of a surprise to see Croteam say that they won't be using it for the next iteration of the Serious Sam series.
But that's OK, you see, because the next engine will be even better.
In a post on the Steam forums, Croteam were being quizzed on whether they would be supporting Vulkan for Serious Sam 4. If that sounds alien to you, then here's the short version: Vulkan is an alternative graphics API to OpenGL or Direct3D, one that NVIDIA is throwing a significant amount of weight behind.
The GPU manufacturer touted Vulkan's "explicit control and multi-threading capabilities" earlier this month on their developer blog, although they stressed that Vulkan "suplemments OpenGL, and that both APIs have their own strengths".
(And the Cliff's Notes of that bit, in case you're wondering: OpenGL makes it easier to access hardware, while Vulkan lets users push commands from the CPU to the GPU faster. There's obviously way more to it than that, but you can read the NVIDIA blog for yourself if you want to start going down that journey.)
In any case, a Croteam developer hopped into the Steam discussion to confirm that the studio would be supporting Vulkan -- as well as all the other graphics APIs -- but that support was coming along with a better engine.
"[Serious Sam 4] certainly will not use the same version of engine as Talos does," the developer wrote. "It will use a much improved version. Exact details will be revealed when SS4 is officially presented. Talos will support Vulkan on Launch. SS3 not yet, but maybe later."
The Talos Principle is already a pretty good engine to use from a benchmarking perspective, so it'll be interesting to see what improvements Croteam makes to Serious Sam 4. Hopefully it remains just as scalable as their superb first-person puzzler.
(Note: the above screenshot is from Serious Sam 3: BFE; there's no quality images or footage available from SS4 yet.)