Devolver Returns: The Struthers Saga Continues at E3 2019

Gore, dark humor, dope looking games.

All hail Nina Struthers

Let’s get something established: the best CEO (or chief synergy officer, if you will) of a games publisher is a fictional character. You could suggest that she’s queen of the mountain by default because the list of real-life execs is a who’s who of greedy and out-of-touch dudes but in doing so, it doesn’t give Nina Struthers her due. That said, this year’s “Devolver Direct” continued the good run-of-form Devolver have had in not only announcing new content but also in continuing the misadventures of Struthers. Let’s dig in.

It’s Raining Men

Due to the events of E3 2018, our Nina isn’t… erm… operating at optimum capacity. Long story short, the Devolver team had quite the dilemma: as they couldn’t get Nina back up and running, they couldn’t wheel Struthers out to present in front of a live audience. Laura (from marketing, apparently) suggested they present live from Struthers’ mind and so they did. Thus, the trailer for Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout for PC & PS4 was presented and while not much was elaborated upon in terms of gameplay and objectives, there were enough hints to whet one’s appetite for the game and pique one’s interest. The number of characters steadily fell from 100 as they went about playing a few activities, including everyone riding a massive skateboard, fighting for possession of a golden egg, and avoiding being squished by a massive wall with only a few holes in it until only one remains. You can never go wrong with a bit of Harry Belafonte, 100 colorful characters, and a touch of slapstick comedy in order to illustrate your next game; especially when said game looks to be yet another battle royale. Trust Mediatonic to create a title that promises to stand out from the rest of the online multiplayer battle royale crowd.

“This is decent quality, yeah?”

While the dark sense of humor at Devolver can be fairly referred to as an acquired taste, you can’t say they don’t have their finger on the industry pulse. In an apparent jab at piracy, asset flipping, and Steam, “Zane Stults” (vice president of grey market distribution) presented Devolver Bootleg, a collection of eight mini-games that are stylised as rip-offs of the most popular Devolver titles including Hotline: Milwaukee, Enter The Gun Dungeon, Ape Out Jr., and Absolvers. Visiting the website devolverbootleg.com takes you to the Steam store page for Devolver Bootleg and, frankly, I can see why folks are prepared to buy this purely for the hearty chuckle Bootleg prompted. Bootleg is available now and on sale for under a fiver. Go check it out.

Horrify or Be Horrified

After Zane Stults’ presentation of Devolver Bootleg, his chest suddenly burst open and a massive, bloodied tentacle started getting red on everything (including Struthers). It turns out the monstrosity that you play as in the newly announced game called Carrion was inside Stults the entire time. In what Phobia Game Studios are calling “a reverse horror experience,” Carrion is a side-scrolling, platforming, pixelated gorefest where you control the creature that escapes the containment unit and murders everything and everyone. As the amorphous consumes everything in its path, you unlock new abilities that enable you to inflict more brutality upon the people that were experimenting on you. Available for PC & console in 2020 (fixed release date currently unknown), Carrion absolutely isn’t for the squeamish but it’s nice knowing that there’ll be another game where you’re the creature in the creature feature, rather than the person/people running for their lives.

Arcade ain’t dead yet, monkeyflappers!

Nina Struthers is struggling to swear properly at this point but that doesn’t hold her back from making one of her hilarious, impassioned monologues about another market Devolver wants to enter. Yes, Struthers made it clear that there’s no market safe from Devolver’s clutches and arcade would be the next frontier. No, seriously. In collaboration with Griffin Aerotech, Enter the Gungeon: House of the Gundead is coming to wherever video arcade games are still playable in early 2020. This is a genuine video arcade cabinent with a 43” high definition monitor and the kind of gun controllers you may have seen for games like Time Crisis, House of the Dead, and Virtua Cop. If you’re not ballin’ on a budget, you can buy one for your place for a modest pre-order price of $4,999. Yes, I looked it up. Yes it’s real. Yes, I want one. Someone give me five grand.

“Death to the Corporate Mouthpiece!”

In the midst of Nina Struthers having a rather psychedelic meltdown, the direct wrapped up with two more game announcements; one of them coming in the form of a free expansion. Sabotage’s retro-styled platformer The Messenger is set to receive new expansion content entitled Picnic Panic on 11 July 2019, bringing a tropical flair to the action. With an original chiptune soundtrack courtesy of Rainbowdragoneyes, Nintendo Switch, PC, and PS4 players can get into a new adventure for The Messenger’s protagonist completely gratis. Finally, we were treated to another vignette featuring gameplay from the forthcoming shoot ‘em up My Friend Pedro. Releasing next Thursday (20 June 2019), DeadToast Entertainment’s brutal adaptation of a 2014 Adult Swim Adobe Flash game called MFP: My Friend Pedro becomes more and more anticipated by the day. If you’ve heard of bullet hell, try bullet parkour complete with slow-motion sequences you can initiate, split-aiming controls, ricocheting bullets off of frying pans, and playing football with severed heads as you go from level to level killing your enemies. Also, there’s a talking banana. What’s not to like?

We wrapped up with Laura lighting up a cigarette and confirming her suggestion was really just a ploy to seize control of our beloved Nina’s mind with an aim to do Devolver Direct presentations whenever she pleased. Is Nina Struthers dead? Who knows?

Guess we’ll have to find out at the next direct… and your boy will be there to cover it.

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