Another year, another surrealist, metatextual, and thoroughly weird anti-press conference from publisher Devolver Digital. It is fairly telling that the opening minutes of this year’s production had to recap the events of previous shows, which contained wanton murder, sociopathic corporate glee, and mind control in an increasingly convoluted extended universe that bridges together these singular marketing stunts.
While its hard to match the brazen satire of publisher’s earlier press conferences, this year’s critique of video game hype culture felt particularly poignant given the endless barrage of relatively unsubstantive not-E3 conferences that have made up the summer so far. But, anyways let’s ignore this thing’s core message, and dive right into hype culture!
We got another look at Shadow Warrior 3 gameplay, showing off more colorful wanton murder. A first-person shooter with an emphasis on movement and melee combat, the game immediately calls to mind other frenetic FPSs like the recent Doom titles. A favorable comparison indeed. A 2021 launch window was announced, and the game will be coming to PC.
Next, we got release dates for two upcoming games, Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockdown (August 4th) and Carrion (July 23rd). Fall Guys is a chaotic Takeshi’s Castle inspired platformer that has players compete in a series of obstacle races and challenges. Competitors are eliminated at the end of each round, which when combined with the goofy ragdoll physics creates a frenetic comedy of errors. Fall Guys will be out on PS4 and PC.
The gruesome reverse-horror game Carrion also received a new trailer. In Carrion, you play as a The Thing looking glob monster that terrorizes a cadre of unlucky humans. While you are undeniably quite powerful, you must slink through grates and hidden passageways to ambush and pick off your victims. It will be coming to PS4, Switch, Xbox One, and PC.
After this, we got the first game announcement of the show with the unveiling of Olija. A pixelated action platformer with a cryptic atmosphere and seemingly elegant combat, it was arguably the highlight of the event. Although during the conference the release date was stated as “Out Now”, at the moment it is not up on Steam or the Switch marketplace. It is possible this was a mistake or perhaps it was intentional misdirection given that the game was unveiled by “My Uncle Who Works At Nintendo”.
We also got a glimpse of more Serious Sam 4 gameplay. Another fast-paced FPS, the original Serious Sam stood out due to its high enemy counts. The game is scheduled for this August on PC, with a console release date of next year.
And rather fittingly, after a denunciation of video game press conferences, a free “marketing simulator” called Devolver Exploland was announced for Steam. It’s a free title that was immediately dropped on the store page. The game appears to be an FPS where you wander the halls of an abandoned press conference strewn with the companies upcoming releases.
Truth be told, the show was more of a highlight due to its increasingly expansive extended fiction rather than the actual game announcements. That said, this year’s Devolver conference was once again a refreshing respite from the usual corporate platitudes that define these showcases. Its lore may be getting a little unwieldy at this point, and it could be argued that the whole exercise is a little “hypocritical”, but frankly, these shows are the only place where you can get both Lynchian weirdness and actual video game news at the same time, so I’m not really complaining.