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Creator / Devolver Digital

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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."

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.

The official YouTube channel for Devolver Digital, which includes trailers for their games as well as their annual "Devolver Direct" presentations, is located here.

Games published by Devolver Digital include:

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

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The subtitle for the intro to the 2022 Direct indicates it takes place 20 minutes into the future...'s future's future.
  • 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.
  • Advert-Overloaded Future: Linda's vision in 2020 is a constant stream of video game trailers and hype for the sake of hype alone.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The 2023 Direct has Volv-E, upon being connected to an online global network of gamers as an open-source content generation tool, manifest an organic version of his signature large right hand and crush presenter Chris Jake's head with it.
  • All Just a Dream: The 2021 conference apparently was all just a dream Nina had after she fell asleep at her desk, judging by the ending.
  • 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.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Suda51 only speaks Japanese but otherwise has no problem communicating with others.
  • Blob Monster: The Carrion Beast, who shows up in the 2019 and 2020 Directs as part of the trailers for its game.
  • Book Ends: The 2023 Direct presents the fictional mascot Volvy by stating that his first appearance was in an arcade game called Field Run. At the end of the direct, Volv-E is able to ask the man that designed him for a Mercy Kill via generating an adventure game called Field Run 2.
  • 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.
    • Downplayed with Hazel "the actual CEO", who only cares about her company's profits and has to be reminded they sell video games.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Nina apparently set up the Devolverland Expo failsafe to directly counter Linda using her comatose body to obsessively deliver game announcements.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Volv-E's shared game with Ronathon involves the latter stumbling upon the former, as his original Volvy incarnation, stuck in a beartrap. When Ronathon attempts to rescue Volvy or give him medicine, Volvy declines and asks for "a different kind of help" while happily pointing towards a rock.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Stults, 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.
  • Glasses Pull: Both Margaret and Caleb dramatically take off their glasses one after the other to deliver the revelation that Mecha Suda51 is causing the Video Game Singularity.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the 2022 Direct, Mecha Suda51 goes back in time and activates his self-destruct feature to prevent the Video Game Singularity from coming about.
  • In Memoriam: Parodied. The conferences take place in the David Lang Memorial Convention Center, named after Devolver employee David Lang who had died in 2015. His photograph is shown when they first name the stadium in 2017, and he is properly given tribute in the credits. He's also shown perfectly fine the following year.
  • 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.
  • Irony: Ronathon Trodfield, Volvy's character designer, takes much less stock in the Volvy franchise than anyone does—he can barely even remember how he came up with him and lazily drew the design. Tragically, he's also the only one who really cared about the current incarnation of Volvy, and is the only one who gives Volvy what he truly wants while everyone else exploits him like the mascot and tool Volv-E is.
  • I Was Never Here: "My uncle who works at Nintendo" states this at the end of his segment.
  • Mascot with Attitude: Parodied in the 2023 Direct with Volvy, a cartoon vole with a hat and a single large arm who was considered a legendary gaming icon of his time and had even appeared in prior Devolver works before a much-maligned Darker and Edgier reboot led to the character being forgotten. The Direct focuses on Volvy being rebooted as "Volv-E", an AI capable of generating games solely through basic pitches.
  • Meaningless Meaningful Words: Being a parody of the corporate nature of video game marketing, the presenters spew out corporate buzzwords like it's going out of style.
  • Mercy Kill: The 2023 direct ends with Volv-E asking Ronathon Trodfield, the original designer of the Volvy mascot, to do this to his current incarnation.
  • 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.
  • Mini-Mecha: Mecha Suda51 in the 2022 Direct is a 7 foot tall robot with Suda somehow digitally installed into it.
  • 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.
  • Mood Whiplash: The 2023 Direct ends with dramatic music and a tense, dark shot of Volvy's creator having to Mercy Kill the robotic version of his creation, then immediately cuts to peppy chiptune and neon colors to announce that official Volvy merchandise is now on sale.
  • The Oner: The 2021 conference features several single-shot scenes where people are monologuing while walking around and various things are happening in the background.
  • 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.
  • Read the Fine Print: In the 2021 Direct when Nina asks why the Devolver "cinematic universe" used her as the lead, one exec reads off a clause from the contract Nina signed that gives Devolver full rights to use her appearance however they like.
  • 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.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Hazel "the actual CEO" in 2021 is foul-mouthed and harsh, but she's also willing to listen to Nina's proposal despite having just met her.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The 2023 presentation revolves around "Volvy the Vole", Devolver Digital's fictional mascot who apparently was popular enough to not only have a game series and lots of merchandise, but showed up in their games, such as Hotline Miami, Cult of the Lamb, and GRIS, among others (complete with being shown in each games artstyle).
  • 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...
    • The 2022 conference ends with a recreation of The Neverending Story only with Nina and Mecha Suda51. The conference's ending theme similarly is an Affectionate Parody of The Neverending Story's main theme.
    • Mecha Suda51 performs a Heroic Sacrifice using a wrist mounted self-destruct device modeled off the Predator's.
    • The 2023 Direct states that Volvy had to compete against other big-name mascots like Bonk, Gex, Awesome Possum, and Aero the Acro-Bat.
  • Show Within a Show: The 2021 conference reveals that all of the previous conferences were just an insane pitch by one of Devolver's staff to establish a cinematic universe and that Nina isn't even the CEO but had her likeness used without her knowledge. Then the very end of the conference calls that into question with Nina abruptly jolting awake, indicating that the 2021 conference was All Just a Dream, which means the previous conferences may have actually happened.
  • Slashed Throat: In the 2019 direct, Nina tears Fresh's throat out with her bare hand.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The presentations combine corporate buzzwords with cartoonish threats/acts violence as well as profane ramblings.
  • Stealth Pun: At the end of the 2022 Direct, Mecha Suda51 goes back in time and blows up Devolver's lab and himself before the events of the Direct unfold. In other words, killing the past.*
  • 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!: Devolver Digital conferences in general are brutal satires of the video games industry, though each conference also tends to focus on then-current trends.
    • 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!
    • While the Devolver Directs were fairly tame compared to their other satires, the first one ended with Linda admitting that they're part of her overall plan to generate nothing but hype for Devolver's brand without having to actually put out the games yet.
    • 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.
    • Devolver MaxPass+, which the 2021 conference revolves around, is one extended jab at video game subscription services.
    • The Devolver NFT (Non-Fuckwithable Tape) where they put the 2021 presentation on a VHS tape and proof it against duplication by removing the tab. As Nina notes, it's perfectly environmentally friendly.
    • The apocalyptic "Videogame Singularity" from the 2022 conference is a clear parody of the Massive Multiplayer Crossover plots and corporate consolidation taking over entertainment in general and video games in particular.
      Zane: [Wearing a Tom Clancy's Animal Crossing t-shirt] G FUEL just put in an offer to buy Valve! Microsoft just bought Bethesda AGAIN!
    • 2023's presentation was "The Return of Volvy", starting with a semi-lighthearted look at the concept of a Series Mascot (the fictional Volvy the Vole) being rebooted into a Darker and Edgier Mascot with Attitude, but then mocking the trend of AI-generated content and ChatGPT with his newer rebooted incarnation, a real-life robot named Volv-E.
  • 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 Him: 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.
    • The 2023 Devolver Direct has Volv-E, a robot version of the Volvy mascot made with parts from a real vole. This also means that whenever it generates a game it also leaks a blue liquid as a form of waste byproduct.
  • Your Head A-Splode: Nina's head explodes at the end of the 2017 E3 Conference. Also happens to some audience members.