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"Check a look."

"It's a deliberate evocation of retro style gameplay with a subtext of nudge-wink self-aware irony, and it's published by Devolver Digital, because of course it is. Even if it had tried to get published by someone else, Devolver Digital would have burst in the window dressed like a highwayman and kidnapped it, because this is very much Devolver Digital's shit. Devolver Digital eats breakfast every morning on a big bowl of pixels and a tall glass of the piss that it took out of something."
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Devolver Digital is an American video game publisher and film distributor based in Austin, Texas, primarily known for publishing the Serious Sam series, Shadow Warrior's remake series, Hotline Miami, and Enter the Gungeon. While they have more recently branched into production and distribution of indie films, they are primarily known for their gaming content, and are known as one of the premier indie games publishers.

They have had a bit of an adversarial relationship with the Entertainment Software Association, though in 2017 they had their first E3 conference... But not really. It was a 20 minute-long pre-recorded satirical video that was one big exercise in trolling everyone else in the industry (complete with stock audience footage, spectacular amounts of Refuge in Audacity and a shocking amount of gore), hosted by supposed "Chief Synergy Officer" Nina Struthers (played by actress Mahria Zook)note . It was considered by many to be a breath of fresh air and downright hilarious. They proceeded to make it an annual thing, with a long-term narrative. All attendees of E3 will see them renting out a nearby parking lot to show off their games to media, complete with free beer and food and a large screen showing off their latest upcoming game like Ape Out or Heave Ho. You'll get what we mean when you watch them. Though they do still announce games in these things, including, as appropriate, the international release of Metal Wolf Chaos, long confined to No Export for You.

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Games published by Devolver Digital include:


Tropes exhibited by Devolver Digital's E3 press conferences Include:

  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Linda's vision in 2020 is a constant stream of video game trailers and hype for the sake of hype alone.
  • Advertisement Game:
    • In 2019 they released Devolver Bootleg, a demake compilation of various games they published.
    • In 2020 they released Devolverland Expo, a free short game containing trailers for that year's game announcements and concept art from three unannounced games.
  • Arc Words: "The future's future" and "The future's future's future".
  • An Arm and a Leg: The fan throwing cash into a computer screen with "Devolver Digital Screen Pay" eventually gets his whole arm stuck in it. High-Pressure Blood ensues.
  • Arm Cannon: The audience volunteer dismembered in the 2017 conference comes back at the end of the 2018 conference with a gatling gun on his arm.
  • Bad Future: What "The Future's Future's Future" is suggested to be by Margaret unless Zane helps her stop Linda’s plans to have the hype machine transcend the actual games they’re supposed to be advertising.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Linda appears to be very sweet and well-mannered when introduced. The end of the 2019 direct and the entirety of 2020 demonstrates she's extremely vicious and well-mannered.
  • Blob Monster: The Carrion Beast, who shows up in the 2019 and 2020 Directs as part of the trailers for its game.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: Devolver Digital Screen Pay where you play a game by quite literally throwing money at the screen.
  • The Cameo: Several during the 2020 direct, including Geoff Keighley, SonicFox, and Geralt of Rivia.
  • Catchphrase: Nina has a few. Most prominently 'the future's future's future' and 'check a look'.
  • Chest Burster: Carrion makes its debut by bursting out of the body of one of Nina's guest hosts.
  • Cigarette Burns: At the end of the 2019 direct Linda puts out her cigarette in Nina's eye.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Nina manages to have elements of both this and Honest Corporate Executive. On one hand, she has little regard for consumer safety and makes it very known that all she cares about from the audience is money. However, she still opposes Linda's "perpetual hype machine" strategies, openly admits to her audience that Our Product Sucks, and genuinely is interested in video games as a medium.
    • Linda, meanwhile, is a more straightforward CCE, being abusive towards her staff members and deliberately misleading audiences with fake game announcements for the sake of hype.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Nina apparently set up the Devolverland Expo failsafe to directly counter Linda using her comatose body to obsessively deliver game announcements.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: When Nina releases the Devolverland Expo, Linda explodes in a shower of blood.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • A running term in all the events are "the future's future" and "the future's future's future".
      Margaret: It's a thing, trust me.
    • The Youthful Exuberance Supervisor has a rather limited vocabulary.
      Fresh: It's a fantastic video game year for video games this year already, and we here at Devolver can't wait to show you what our video game developer friends have been video game developing this year in video games.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: The Carrion Beast has a fairly chill personality, apologizing for arriving early due to "time" not being a concept in its home dimension and getting really excited to host its segment in 2020.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Linda's plan is to create an endless train of hype, where the anticipation of a game will replace the game itself. However she never actually developed any of the content needed for such an endeavor and the 2020 direct quickly burns through all of the planned announcements and several unplanned announcements leaving her with nothing for the ending.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Played for Laughs. The 2020 direct ends with Play The Game by Stemage, whose lyrics basically describe everything that just happened in the 2019 and 2020 directs.
  • Fantastically Indifferent: When Carrion starts erupting from Stultz, Nina barely pays any attention. Once it fully emerges she starts critiquing Carrion on showing up too early.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Don. Despite also disliking Linda, Zane calls him a dick and he's more interested in keeping his job than getting out of the simulation.
    • When he walks in on the group hug in the 2020 show Margaret chases him back out of the room.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • Nina during the 2019 direct. She's not happy about it.
      Nina: Okay, so I can't say 'fuck' anym - whoa! Whoa, just said it! Haha! Fudge ye- wait, no... fupping dagnabbit what the pope is going on?!
    • This later seems to have been caused by Linda, who just talks this way by default.
      Linda: That's enough with the primping you poops, cheese and rice!
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: During the 2019 conference Linda started overwriting Nina's personality with a perky, vacuous host like the standard E3 fare. This visibly unnerved Nina, who was eventually subsumed by the host personality.
  • Inside a Computer System: Nina from the start of the 2019 conference to the end of the 2020 conference.
    • Zane, Don, and Linda during the 2020 conference.
  • Interface Screw: During the 2019 direct the blurbs on the trailers become increasingly nihilistic as the show progresses. Once Linda takes full control and starts loading trailers faster than Nina can stand, the video and audio starts to distort as well.
  • I Was Never Here: "My uncle who works at Nintendo" states this at the end of his segment.
  • Mind Rape: The 2019 direct has significant shades of this with Nina. At first it's subtle with Linda forcing her to say certain things and not curse, but eventually it escalates to unbearable agony as trailers are loaded faster and faster until Nina is subsumed by the hype.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Linda snapping at Don is enough for him to go along with Zane and Marge's plan to announce Devolverland.
  • The Mockbuster: In 2019 they acknowledged that popular games inevitably attract shoddy knockoffs on the "grey market". Therefore they released Devolver Bootleg so they could control that market share as well.
  • Our Product Sucks: Nina admits Devolver's products suck but knows the ignorant audience will still buy it.
  • Parody: Of E3 press conferences for the first two years. By 2019 they become a parody of video game marketing in general, switching the setting from a (supposedly) live conference to an online 'Direct' format.
  • Precision F-Strike: The only time Linda properly swears is near the end of the 2020 Direct, where she completely loses it when Don tells her there are no announcements left.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: The 2020 show focuses directly on the rise of digital direct conferences. While this had been happening for a couple years, the COVID-19 Pandemic caused E3's cancellation and subsequently meant pretty much everyone was doing digital direct conferences that year.
  • Sequel Hook: Every conference after the first has ended on one.
    • The 2018 Big Fancy Press Conference ends with the dismembered fan from 2017 killing Nina with his Arm Cannon.
    • The 2019 Direct ends with Linda taunting Nina, and then timeskipping to "the future's future's future" where a heavily militarized Margaret locates Nina.
    • The 2020 Direct ends with Zane and Margaret asking Nina what's next for them, Nina simply replying with "The future."
  • Shout-Out:
    • The end of the 2018 conference heavily references Robocop.
    • The credits of the 2019 conference start with a riff on the classic Terminator theme while The Stinger has Margaret looking suspiciously like Judgment Day-era Sarah Connor.
      Margaret: [to Nina] Come with me if you want to live.
    • Linda makes a sneaky and very specific Demon Knight reference during the 2020 direct.
      Linda: ...until these hodunk podunk well-then-there dumbpoop consumers...
  • Slashed Throat: In the 2019 direct, Nina tears Fresh's throat out with her bare hand.
  • Stylistic Suck: When the "my uncle who works at Nintendo" ends, the uncle is obscured by a cloud of smoke to disappear... except the cloud doesn't fully cover him as he shuffles offscreen while waving his hands. Bear in mind this is happening inside a virtual simulation where they could have just made him disappear.
  • Take That!:
    • The 2018 Big Fancy Press Conference makes one towards both Loot Boxes and the instability of cryptocurrency, with Nina announcing "Lootboxcoin".
      Nina: Lootboxcoin is the world's first cryptocurrency that is so fucking secure, not even the owners know its actual value! Totally unregulated, and absent of all civil, governmental, international, personal, or institutional liability!
    • During the 2020 connect Don mentions that Konami announced four Metal Gear games in a direct and then made a breaking announcement that three of the games had been cancelled in the same direct.
  • Take That, Audience!: Nina's diatribes about the blind consumerism of their customers is so blatant it loops right around to amusing.
  • Tongue Twister: In 2020 Margaret starts stumbling over "future's future" and "future's future's future".
  • Umbrella Drink: Zane goes through two during the 2020 direct. Neither appear to be actual liquid.
  • Uncertain Doom: The credits imply that although Linda was destroyed in Nina's mind, she's still alive outside of it.
  • Urban Legends: The 2020 direct has a section with "my uncle who works at Nintendo", one of the classic excuses for anyone who wants to justify where they got their otherwise unsubstantiated rumors about new games from the company.
  • Video Game Demake: Devolver Bootleg is a collection of 8-bit demakes of various Devolver-published games.
  • We Can Rebuild Her: At the end of the 2018 show, after being shot in the chest multiple times, Nina is brought back to a life as a cyborg. In 2019 and 2020, they end up using her as a Wetware CPU for a digital direct event instead of an actual physical conference however.
  • Wetware CPU: Per the above, Nina's brain is used to host the 2019 and 2020 direct videos.
  • Your Head A-Splode: As shown by Nina at the end of the 2017 E3 Conference. Also happens to some audience members.

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