The Talos Principle 2 Interview: “We Still Have Plenty Of Creative Ideas Left”

Croteam doesn't want to limit itself to just one genre, but it does want to polish the sequel before moving ahead.

Story Highlights

  • The Talos Principle 2 — sequel to the 2014 puzzle game — was released on November 2, 2023.
  • Croteam’s recent endeavors with the title have been praised by gamers and critics alike.
  • We interviewed the developers at Croteam regarding their latest sequel and some future plans.

Coming back for another go almost a decade after the previous iteration, The Talos Principle 2 emphasizes puzzle-solving from a first-person perspective in a similar manner as the first game, save for a few upgrades here and there. The game has been received well up until now, all thanks to its deeply enthralling dialogue, gripping narrative, sublime gameplay mechanics, and terrific visuals. 

eXputer had the privilege of sitting down in an interview with Croteam — the developer — over an email Q&A session. The studio has since provided interesting insights into the making of The Talos Principle 2 and has also said that multiple other fascinating ideas remain to be manifested—wonder how that’ll play out in the not-so-distant future. 

Read ahead for the full interview. 

The Talos Principle 2 - Screenshot via Steam
The Talos Principle 2 – Screenshot via Steam.

The first game received immensely positive reviews, and it seems like the sequel is on the same path. How has that feeling been for the team? Does it add to the pressure, or has it mostly increased the morale?
Croteam: We are immensely happy with how the game turned out and how it has been received by the public. Such reception has given us a huge moral boost, affirming that we created something worth the players’ time. We had big shoes to fill, and we are so happy that we managed to release a game that is on par with the first one and, in some ways, exceeds it.

The Talos Principle was released nearly a decade ago; what compelled the team to revisit the game and work on the sequel?
Croteam: We always discussed how we would create the second installment of the game, but we were distracted by other projects and emerging technologies like VR for some time. When we finally decided to proceed, we felt that enough time had passed and that we had accumulated sufficient new ideas in gameplay mechanics and story, as well as advancements in technology such as Unreal Engine, to offer new experiences to both fans of the original game and newcomers.

I'm curious to know how many of the developers from this game have experience working on the first title.
Croteam: The majority of the team that made The Talos Principle 1 is still here, but a few guys who were more into engine programming left. Meanwhile, we added some new young talents who were deeply involved with the development of The Talos Principle 2.

A question for those developers: what has changed since the first iteration? Both in terms of the development and gameplay?
Croteam: There have been numerous changes from the first to the second game. The first major change was switching from ‘Serious Editor’ to the Unreal Engine, which consumed the bulk of our development time. The second change was our desire to introduce NPCs into the game, which made the world feel more alive and, in turn, increased the scope and production requirements. In terms of gameplay, we adhered to the same principles for testing and prototyping as we did with the first game. We designed the base puzzles in a distraction-free environment. Since we were transitioning to Unreal and lacked the tools for creating puzzles, we initially developed them in ‘Serious Editor’ and conducted the entire testing phase there. In the first game, we utilized a bot for testing, which could only follow a predefined path, allowing us to fix obvious blockers. For this iteration, we didn’t have the bot set up, and it would have taken a long time to do so. Instead, we relied on real testers who went through the game daily, reporting all issues they encountered. This approach kept the game largely bug-free and allowed us to find unintended ways to solve puzzles or skip parts of the content.

We know that the game takes some inspiration from the works of Shakespeare, specifically The Tempest. But what other literature or games has the team taken inspiration from?
Croteam: Very, very few, really. Only the extremely obscure Rama ( from 1996) comes to mind, which has similar themes of exploring an unknown, monolithic structure.

Literature: The poetry of William Blake. The Culture series by Ian M Banks (who we also literally discuss within the game). Isaac Asimov. Arthur C Clarke. Uh… Ancient Greek mythology, in case that wasn’t glaringly obvious.

The Talos Principle 2 - Screenshot via Steam
The Talos Principle 2 – Screenshot via Steam.

I watched another interview where it was mentioned how creating a puzzle game was not an easy decision as there weren't many puzzle games or at least successful ones. But now that Croteam has cemented this series as one of the best puzzle games, will the studio continue expanding it or make other titles in the same genre?
Croteam: We always have lots of ideas brewing in our heads; we aren’t fond of limiting ourselves to a single genre. Our next project could indeed be another puzzle game, or it might delve into an entirely different genre. You can be sure that we still have plenty of creative ideas left, and we’re excited about the many possibilities that lie ahead.

In terms of the story, The Talos Principle 2 does a great job of expanding the universe we were first introduced to in the 2014 game, and it does so quite literally by focusing on the civilization and the society, introducing so many new characters as compared to the only 2 in the first game. I'm curious to know where we can go from here. What is the next thing that the story writers would want to focus on?
Croteam: The first game explored this new robot race in its infancy. While The Talos Principle 2 looks at them on the cusp of adulthood, the logical progression is to explore further along those lines. If there will ever be The Talos Principle 3, we will need a strong, exciting reason to develop it; it needs to bring something new to the table, similar to what we did with the Talos Principle 2.

One thing I find quite fascinating is how the team managed to make a sequel that doesn't really require you to play the first game. It is a continuation of both the story and gameplay, I want to know how Croteam managed to create it that way and still deliver a compelling game with a lot of emotions and world-building.
Croteam: Making a sequel is not easy; there are expectations, and we have to believe in our ability to bring that new experience to the players that won’t just be a rehash of old ideas. This is also one of the reasons why it took us some time to develop the sequel. We wanted to introduce enough new mechanics and story elements to ensure players would not feel as if they were playing the same game. In the same vein, this approach allowed us to design a progression of puzzles that lets new players learn and master new mechanics while ensuring that veteran players won’t feel bored slogging through easy puzzles. As a result, both new and returning players are almost on equal footing in this regard. Story-wise, the depth of lore in the first game is significant, but the events, including how the first robot escaped the simulation, can be easily summarized in a few sentences. This allows the player to be quickly caught up with the main plotline, after which the second part forges its own unique path. While there are some plotlines that touch upon the first game, which should please returning players, the majority of the story stands on its own.

After the release of The Talos Principle 2, is the team considering making a DLC? Or will the focus shift towards another project entirely?
Croteam: Currently, our focus is on addressing any remaining issues with the game, ensuring that it is a stable and enjoyable experience not just for current players but also for those who will play it in the future. Our goal is to polish what we already have rather than immediately chasing after the next big thing. While we do have some ideas for future projects, we believe it’s better to leave some things to the imagination.

Is there anything you would like to say to the audience? Something we haven't touched upon?
Croteam: Thank you all so so much for trusting us and all of the kind words. Thank you also for noticing all of the passion that we poured into our beloved games. Your recognition is an obligation that will constantly remind us that we have to give everything that we can all of the time.

YouTube video

The Talos Principle 2 has not only lived up to the expectations set by its prequel but also exceeded them in some aspects. It was released to “Overwhelmingly Positive” reviews on Steam, along with an 88 Metascore on Metacritic. Croteam appears to be pleased with its performance and will polish the title further so that future players have little to no issues in-game.

Afterward, Croteam could go on exploring the horizons to pinpoint the next genre in which it will mark its foray. However, as the developers said, it’s better to leave things up to imagination until an official announcement has been made.

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Mudassir is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering the stories behind our favorite virtual worlds. Armed with a trusty notepad and a keen curiosity, he dives headfirst into the gaming industry's most exciting personalities. His knack for insightful questions and his ability to connect with developers and gamers alike makes his interviews a must-read. While on the lookout for the next person to interview, Mudassir keeps himself busy by writing news surrounding the gaming universe. Experience: 4+ Years || Senior Journalist || Education: Bachelor's in Psychology.

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