Skip to main content

Serious Sam dev Croteam lures pirates into a DRM honeypot with The Talos Principle

heres talos principle traps elevator e3 001
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The Talos Principle, a philosophically-inclined first-person puzzler from Serious Sam developer Croteam, punishes pirates that steal the game by trapping them in a particular elevator at a key point of progression.

One such thief fell for the honeypot and outed themselves on the game’s Steam forum. Although the original post appears to have been taken down, it was recorded by a NeoGAF user and shared on publisher Devolver Digital’s Twitter for shaming.

Well played, @Croteam. Well played.

— Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) December 28, 2014

This is not the first foray into gameplay-linked piracy protection from the Croatian developer Croteam. In 2011, Serious Sam 3: BFE featured an immortal pink scorpion that would only appear in pirated copies of the game. The fleet-footed, invincible nightmare relentlessly pursued the player from the opening moments of the game, making it  nearly impossible to play.

Punishing piracy in-game has become an increasingly popular solution to the age-old problem of illegally-copied digital games. Croteam’s solutions are reminiscent of what Kairosoft did with Game Dev Story, a game development simulator wherein illegal copies featured in-game pirates that would steal the player studio’s games until it went bankrupt.

Instead of adding in punishing features, Ubisoft protected Far Cry 4 by removing certain camera control options from the game that were then patched in to legitimate copies in a day one update.

Clever, in-game ways to actively punish pirates are an appealing alternative to restrictive, universal digital rights management policies, such as requiring a constant internet connection to play. These DRM practices often provide more frustration to legitimate owners of the game than pirates.

Online requirements on for single player modes have led to substantial technical problems and fan outcry in recent years surrounding the launches of games like Diablo III and SimCityFlooded servers in the aftermath of release locked out many paying players who had no interest in using online features in the first place.

The Talos Principle, released on December 11 for Linux, Mac, and Windows, is a first-person puzzle solving game that feels like a cross between Portal and Myst. It features a growing set of reconfigurable elements, such as blocks and lasers, but infuses its head-scratching action with a philosophically rich story to uncover through careful exploration.

The game is scheduled to arrive on PlayStation 4 and Android platforms in early 2015.

Editors' Recommendations

Will Fulton
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Will Fulton is a New York-based writer and theater-maker. In 2011 he co-founded mythic theater company AntiMatter Collective…
Fortnite’s Rocket Racing is so fun, it could have been its own game
rocket racing hands on impressions jumping through air

Yesterday, Fortnite began its biggest expansion yet by dropping Lego Fortnite, a full survival crafting game that's playable for free within Fortnite. It was a pleasant surprise, but it isn’t the best piece of new content coming to the live-service juggernaut this week. That honor goes to Rocket Racing, an arcade racing game from the developers of Rocket League that’s available in Fortnite today.

This isn’t a simple kart racer that anyone could have put together in Fortnite’s creative mode. It’s a full-throated, free-to-play game that features 26 tracks at launch and some surprisingly deep driving systems. While Lego Fortnite may have had trouble standing on its own two feet outside of the Fortnite client, Rocket Racing could very well have launched as its own game -- and it still would be the best racing game of its type this year.

Read more
How to get planks in Lego Fortnite
lego fortnite hands on impressions village


Collecting resources and building isn't a foreign concept to Fortnite players. A major part of the game, unless you're in zero build, is smacking trees, walls, rocks, and basically everything with your pickaxe to get materials to build basic walls and structures to give you an edge in battle. Lego Fortnite has its own crafting and building system, but doesn't work in quite the same way. Planks in particular are the most essential building material in the game, but you can't get them by simply whacking a tree. Here's a quick rundown on how to collect planks to build your dream world in Lego Fortnite.
How to get planks in Lego Fortnite

Read more
Where to find knotroot in Lego Fortnite
Brite Bomber in Lego Fortnite.

Crafting is at the heart of Lego Fortnite. Without the right materials, you will never be able to get new gear, build new structures, or do any upgrades. And knotroot is a key ingredient in a ton of recipes. While not the rarest of items in the game, it is at the uncommon rarity level, meaning you won't just stumble upon it very often, and certainly not enough to satisfy your need for it. Let's narrow down your search so you can collect as much knotroot as you need in Lego Fortnite.
Where to find Knotroot

Despite being a type of wood, knotroot isn't found in a tree like normal wood. Instead, you will need to head to underground caves to get your hands on some. But before you go spelunking, you will need the right tool to collect knotroot , namely an Uncommon Forest Axe, as the base-level version won't cut it (literally). You can upgrade your axe to the Uncommon level using your Uncommon Crafting Bench with three bones and three wooden rods.

Read more