A woman, labcoat clad and smiling, claps her hands red biwht blood behind a shrieking blood covered man, missing part of his arm.

Devolver Digital Has Made E3 Exciting Again

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Monsters, Aliens, and Holes in the Ground

Poor Bethesda. The company just had to have its E3 press conference right before Devolver Digital’s presentation: a madcap, hysterical fever dream of satirical excess. Following the pompousness of Bethesda’s conference, Devolver Digital’s sardonic presentation, featuring a trigger-happy host, buckets of blood, and explosive limbs, almost seems…personal. It lampooned both the gaming industry and the community by introducing several outlandish initiatives, with the presentation eventually culminating in the host’s increasingly bloody nose and her head exploding.

I picked my jaw off the ground after the whole spectacle.

Of course, the show is just an elaborate sketch by Imagos Films; the team took questions at a Reddit AMA session a few days ago, sharing that they were given quite a bit of creative freedom by Devolver Digital. However, more than just pointing out the ills of the industry—for instance, the easily exploitable Early Access process—the sketch also shined a burning torch at our questionable behaviour as consumers. Many of us are content to keep throwing money at studios despite their shady practices, even if it means losing a limb in the process.

From opening its floodgates to disastrously huge crowds of videogame fans, to the routine pageantry of its conferences, it feels like the buzz surrounding E3—which used to be the epicenter of videogames—is starting to dissipate. Honestly, I haven’t been excited about games for a while; this year introduces yet another iteration of Skyrim, a new Madden NFL title, another Uncharted game, another Call of Duty…you get the drift. Then there’s the pandering, theatrical performances, and the multitude of promises: the world’s most powerful console at $499. Limitless content and ground-breaking storytelling. Even more immersive gaming experiences.

What a time to be alive.

(The only news that got me moderately close to being emotional is Life Is Strange: Before the Storm, but that’s because seeing Chloe always makes me cry, and knowing that her voice actress, Ashley Burch, isn’t reprising her role is making me cry harder.)

And then there’s Devolver Digital, just reveling in the absurdity of the conference, the industry, the community, and everything else. Like a jester in a king’s court, it cackled about E3’s overenthusiastic crowd, blatant cash grab for incomplete games, and audacious promotions of unethical practices. Imagos had originally proposed to make the presentation even more ridiculous by getting rid of games announcements, but Digital Devolver decided against it since E3 is still a platform for showcasing upcoming games. While I’m glad indie developers did get some mileage out of the sketch, I thought that would have been a great idea.

Imagos mentioned that they may be coming up with a new skit for next year’s E3. For the first time in a long while, I’m looking forward to the event and the shenanigans that the team will be up to. From awkward social media influencers to the dreadful lack of diversity on stage (most of the hosts are still white men), there’s already a wealth of material to poke fun of from this year’s conference. I really can’t wait.