Devolver Digital feels a bit like the 1979 Superman movie, which was a smashing success. One of the first movies of its kind, the flick soared and touched the hearts and minds adults and children alike.
What was Superman’s secret power? The ability to laugh at itself. The ability of Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane to routinely refer to Clark as a nerd. Superman’s knowing awareness of how silly this all seems. Gene Hackman’s scenery chewing. This all was key. Without this playful attitude, the movie might have been self serious, awful, and painfully boring.
Which brings us to Devolver Digital. The weird, rock-n-roll indie publisher had its third annual E3 “thing” on Sunday. Aiming its M-rated laser of satire directly at the world of Nintendo Directs. The 21 minute video was filled with inside jokes, gruesome violence, body horror, and shameless hilarity.
Oh, and some game announcements. But don’t take my word for it!
“Devolver Digital E3 Press Conference Cinematic Universe (DDE3PCCU) and the senseless and revered violence that comes with modern-day E3 video game marketing events. Announcements included everything from a massively multiplayer party game to a collection of original rip-off bootlegs to a legitimate arcade-light gun game and we can’t say we even know what we are doing anymore. But at least we’re trying to have some fun.”
The big joke is Devolver Digital knows exactly what it’s doing. And because Devolver has been cleaning up in terms of quality gameplay experiences across console, mobile, and PC for years, fans are happy – in fact eager – to watch them take a self-indulgent victory lap. Which Devolver in-turn uses to take the proverbial wiz out of everything. Also, somehow, simultaneously achieving the goals of a traditional press conference, too.
It’s sort of like how the ‘stoner comedy’ 50/50 is a better ‘cancer’ movie than many serious dramas on the subject. Sometimes a light touch goes a long way.
Thus, Devolver Digital soldiers on, and do not strut ever. There was no “look how great we are” or stats rundown during the 21 minute video. It was designed, entirely, to entertain first, deliver news second, and it feels oh so right and oh so good.
As a famous DJ put it, all they do is win.
They used the time reserved for a much deserved pat on the back to deflate a whoopee cushion in the face of a self-serious gaming development industry and fanbase.
It was great, and special, and wholly good. A reminder to gamers and players and creatives and kids who sat on their floor in front of the couch in the early 1990s, jumping from platform to platform, wondering what could be. A reminder that sometimes, the good guys, the great guys, the silly guys, the smart guys, the weird guys can make it in their own special esoteric way, and that yes, Virginia, there is an audience for that*.
Simply put, Devolver wins E3 because in a way, to me at least, they’re the home team.
Oh, right, games! In addition to a bonkers gameplay trailer for the forthcoming, NOT DEADPOOL game, My Friend Pedro, there were a bunch of games at this thing, too.
Live from the press release, I present you the details, trailers, and website links for all the games announced at the Devolver Digital Direct.
*guys means everyone, not just guys.
Developed by Mediatonic
Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout flings 100 contestants together online in a mad dash through round after round of escalating chaos until one victor remains. Battle bizarre obstacles, shove through unruly competitors, and overcome the unbending laws of physics to avoid both humiliation and elimination. Leave your dignity at the door and prepare for hilarious failure in your quest for the crown.
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
Developed by Doinksoft
Devolver Bootleg contains eight original rip-offs of Devolver Digital games including Enter the Gun Dungeon, Hotline Milwaukee, Ape Out Jr., and ShootyBoots.
Developed by Phobia Game Studio
Carrion is a reverse horror game in which you assume the role of an amorphous creature of unknown origin. Stalk and consume those that imprisoned you to spread fear and panic throughout the facility. Grow and evolve as you tear down this prison and acquire more and more devastating abilities on the path to retribution.
Platforms: Console, PC