Devolver Digital’s “Press Conference” Was a Psychopath’s Fever Dream | E3 2017

Devolver Digital Screen Pay E3 2017 1

Devolver Digital’s Big Fancy Press Conference was a 15 minute, prerecorded journey into insanity. It began by lightly lampooning the games media, poking fun at how journalists wouldn’t bother watching the conference of a single indie dev. The conference was cute and lighthearted, but it quickly spun out of control.

Devolver Digital E3 2017 Funhaus
Funhaus, among other outlets, joined in on Devolver Digital’s… fun?

Welcome to Devolver Digital’s nightmare

The video then cut to the inside an auditorium, supposedly filled with real-life journalists. However, whenever the camera went into a reaction shot, we got canned footage. Sometimes the audience was laughing with far too much enthusiasm, sometimes they were playfully munching on popcorn or sipping a soda. Regardless, they were in no way, shape, or form actually reacting to Nina Struthers, Chief Synergy Officer.

Devolver Digital E3 2017 Nina Struthers
Nina Struthers, Chief Synergy Officer

Nina came in, cheery, professional, and psychotic. But the crowd wouldn’t stop cheering. They just wouldn’t listen.

Devolver Digital E3 2017 Gun Shot

Nina Struthers, Chief Synergy Officer, quickly whipped out a gun and fired into the air, forcing the audience into silence. She unloaded round after round, going all Yosemite Sam. Once they calmed down a bit, she tossed the gun to the side. Then, a man in a motion capture suit scurried in and rushed the gun off the stage. Naturally.

Devolver Digital E3 2017 Press Conference
Enjoy that soda while you can, Sheron

Descent into madness

The lampooning of games media and press conferences continued. Nina kept describing their upcoming line up with a ludicrous amount of “very”s. She continued speaking in nonsense, filler buzzwords until, finally, they showed off a game. For literally one minute.

Ruiner has promise. It’s a top-down, cyberpunk shooter that plays much like Hotline Miami – Devolver’s original claim to fame. The trailer was fun, showed off a decent amount of gameplay, and gave us a good idea of what the final game will look like. If the quality of past Devolver games is anything to go by, it’s definitely worth keeping on your radar.

Milo Lowrie Devolver Digital E3 2017Milo Lowrie Devolver Digital E3 2017
Back to the… press conference?

Milo Lowrie, head of Research and Development and More Research, then took the stage. He discussed the disconnect between gamers claiming that they’re “throwing money at the screen” and actually having that money get into Devolver’s pockets. They called it “Devolver Digital Screen Pay.” So, naturally, this is how they showed it off:

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Without skipping a beat, the conference went straight into another one-minute trailer. This time, we got a peek at Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour. It’s another top-down shooter, featuring a campaign mode with online co-op, a survival mode, versus deathmatch, and full mod support with a game editor. It looks like crazy, hectic fun.

Is… is she okay?

Nina returned to the stage with a profanity-laced speech mocking early access games. “What if I told you that you could buy that game right now. This second. Before it was even finished?” she asked, pimping their new fictitious initiative, Devolver Digital Earliest Access. “It will be a revolutionary way to hastily rush unfinished content out to consumers.”

The vaudevillian show continued, throwing punches at online commenters by touting a new feature called “Comment Created Content.” Good old Nina got so impassioned and riled up that, well…

Nina Devolver Digital E3 2017 nosebleed
O, Nina. Sweet, demon possessed Nina.

What followed is nearly impossible to describe. Short bursts of gameplay from various Devolver Digital titles cut in and out of crowd shots. Then Nina began to hemorrhage. The crowd volunteer whose hand got chopped off began vomiting on a computer. Nina’s head exploded, Scanners style.

Nina Devolver Digital E3 Head Explosion
O, Nina. Sweet, dead Nina.

And then it was over.

But why though?

It’s hard to understand exactly why Devolver Digital made this expertly engineered tire-fire of a conference. It only properly showed off two games for one minute each. It briefly threw footage of countless others at us without a single title to let us know what to be excited for.

The current theory is that the video was an insane parody of an E3 press conference, made to be hyperbolic and incomprehensibly violent. Was it funny? That’s subjective. It took cues from irreverent shows like Tim and Eric and The Eric Andre Show. As a traditional press conference, it would be a total and complete failure. But as satire? It certainly was… something else. Here’s to seeing what Devolver Digital cooks up for next year – hopefully, nobody actually gets hurt. Physically or psychologically.

For all the trailers shown off at yesterday’s Microsoft conference and for other E3 2017 news, keep an eye on The Game Fanatics.

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