The Witcher’s Upcoming Game: A Fusion of Sons of the Forest and Bioshock Worlds


“Serum is life.” These profound words were uttered by Game Island’s CEO and creative director, Michal Ojrzyński, as we embarked on our exclusive preview of the upcoming survival adventure game at Gamescom 2023. With strong financial support from Toplitz Productions, this Polish game studio is setting its sights high, hoping to captivate survival game enthusiasts in what is undeniably a saturated and competitive market.

Drawing inspiration from recent hits such as “Sons of the Forest” and “Green Hell,” Serum transports players to the year 2070, immersing them in the harrowing journey of Adam. Following a tragic plane crash, Adam finds himself stranded on an isolated island in the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. A poisonous green fog shrouds the island, and within this perilous environment, Adam stumbles upon a mysterious substance known as Serum. This enigmatic liquid not only bestows immunity against the toxic fog but also imparts unique abilities. However, these powers come at a cost, as there are significant side effects to reckon with.

Intriguingly, Serum is more than just a survival game—it’s a narrative-driven experience with a hint of “Lost Ark” influence and a focus on the island’s diverse wildlife. Ojrzyński explains, “We concentrate on the passage of time, the struggle to satisfy one’s hunger, the ever-present threat of mutation, and how Serum can be harnessed to fend off aggressive animals while altering your own character. The central questions are: Where am I? What have I gotten myself into? And what lies ahead?”

One of the game’s standout features is the time element represented by a countdown clock on Adam’s left arm. To withstand the unforgiving island, he must continually replenish this timer using Serum. The act of frequently injecting oneself with glowing liquids may evoke memories of “Bioshock,” a game that the development team openly acknowledges.

Despite the initial concern of the time element being overly punitive, the gameplay is balanced in a way that doesn’t overwhelm the player. Movement is fluid, and there are numerous ways to replenish your timer, making for a more enjoyable and less stressful experience.

The weaponry in Serum shares similarities with “Bioshock,” utilizing the negative effects of Serum to upgrade and enhance weapons. However, in Serum, the emphasis is on stealth rather than outright combat. This unique approach challenges players to adapt and avoid confrontation when possible.

As players delve deeper into the game, the mysterious E.V.A.S corporation operates in the background, hinting that all is not as it seems. Gamers must confront mutated island creatures while piecing together clues about past events. The game boasts four to five distinct biomes and introduces players to seven types of animals, each with multiple variations. For instance, the Bonebreaker, a massive wart hog, is three times the size of its regular counterpart, and the Fog Wolf, with its luminescent green eyes and pack-hunting behavior, adds another layer of danger to the island. To extract Serum, players must confront and defeat all these formidable creatures.

Beyond the central mystery and survival mechanics, Serum aims to captivate players through its unique sense of style. “We’ve placed a significant emphasis on the graphics style and the distinctiveness of the animals and creatures populating the game world,” mentions Soltysik. “Utilizing Unreal Engine 5, we’ve harnessed beautiful lighting, creating a visually stunning world enveloped in green mist and fog. The art style and the ferocity of the mutated animals make Serum stand out in a crowded genre.”

In a move sure to excite fans, “The Witcher’s” iconic Geralt of Rivia, voiced by Doug Cockle, will make an appearance in Serum as Richard, a character with an undisclosed role. This unexpected connection to “The Witcher” universe leaves us eagerly awaiting Richard’s involvement in the unfolding story.

In conclusion, the preview of Serum left me considerably more excited about the game than I was before. The compelling combination of narrative depth, survival challenges, and a unique art style all point to a promising gaming experience. After all, in the world of Serum, the message is clear: Serum is life.

Serum is scheduled to launch on PC via Steam in the first quarter of 2024, expected between January and March. Additionally, the game will offer one to four-player co-op gameplay, promising to deliver an engaging and immersive experience for friends looking to tackle the challenges of the island together.

For those seeking similar gaming experiences in the meantime, consider exploring the best survival games and crafting games available on PC in 2023, including the previously mentioned “Green Hell” and “Sons of the Forest.”