Mod on the Spot - Exception
By Mauritsio

Welcome to the second edition of "Mod on the Spot" where we review old and new mods that have had something important to do with 7Smoke's history. In this episode, another oldie, to commemorate the BFE anniversary!

In this highlight, we're looking at one of the earliest singleplayer campaigns around for BFE, which was slated for completion until never, and finally saw some light of progress in Fusion! I'm talking about Exception by one funky modder: FunkyFinzy! I'm sure almost all of you have heard of this campaign - it's popular among the whole Serious Sam modding community for various reasons!

Although the campaign came out during November 2012, right around when the Steam Workshop for Serious Sam 3 went live, its first appearances could be traced to much earlier times - fans could see the mod's progress on the now-defunct SeriousZone site. The original Exception mod consisted of a four-level campaign in what is something very reminiscent of Psychonauts - Serious Sam himself is a victim of his own mind as Netricsa goes insane with her own power - trapping him inside it. As such Sam must break her hold over him, venturing through four other entire maps with their own very unique thematic. It reminds one of the earlier Tennis campaigns. But it's really not so bad - the campaign has plenty of charm to it through its unique artistic expression. Not just the levels themselves, but the narrative consists almost solely of existing Serious Sam 2 voice lines. Some would call it lazy, but it actually really works, which shows creativity. That, coupled with the fact that the maps are littered with references to other video games both in secrets and outside of them, make Exception a mod that doesn't let itself be constrained by the conventions of realism yet isn't overly wacky. That's a big part in what makes it great.

It follows that as one of the earliest fully-fledged campaigns on the Steam Workshop, Exception would also be one of our oldest events. Indeed, we've first played this map around 2013, possibly even earlier in some "off-the-radar events", or what we would now call an underground. Even many years after that, it would frequently find itself in a quieter period when no new campaigns or Survival maps were releasing onto the workshop - like this Team Beast Hunt event we did in late 2015. Somehow, we never fully got tired of playing that campaign - it was just the right length for an event (at the time) and was fun to play through - even if the campaign was in an unfinished state...

...speaking of which, Exception has actually become infamous for this, even outside the specific Serious Sam communities - it was never finished! At the end of the fourth level, right before stepping towards the final battle, a mailbox will dread to tell you that the final boss hasn't been finished yet. And yet, for all that time, we're six years past the original release and there is still no true final boss. Although this changed a little in 2017, when a "Complete Demo" update release extended the final level to include a bit of the final boss - though the mod still wasn't fully finished with another mailbox politely asking you to wait for the next update. After this, Finzy dropped working on the original Exception for an indefinite amount of time and instead focused himself on Exception 2: Cyberspace for Fusion, which takes more inspiration from NieR: Automata, and directly follows the events of the first mod - although once again, this one lingers in a state of seemingly permanent hibernation on all development fronts. Will we ever see a finished Exception campaign within our livetimes? Only Finzy can really tell. hint, hint.