|GHI Media, LLC|
|Industry||Video game industry|
|Founded||June 25, 2009|
|Headquarters||Austin, Texas, U.S.|
Number of locations
|2 offices (2017)|
|Fork Parker (CFO)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||Good Shepherd Entertainment|
Devolver Digital, Inc. is an American video game publisher and film distributor based in Austin, Texas, which is primarily associated with the Serious Sam and Hotline Miami series. The company was founded in June 2009 by Mike Wilson and Harry Miller, previously founders and executives of Gathering of Developers and Gamecock Media Group, alongside Rick Stults, Nigel Lowrie, and Graeme Struthers.
After partnering with developer Croteam for the Serious Sam series, they published their first game, Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter, in 2009. Devolver Digital continued publishing Serious Sam related video games, but also started shifting their focus to smaller independent developers. Their first major indie success was Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games in 2012. Alongside the release of Hotline Miami, Devolver Digital opened a second office in London, England, led by Struthers and Andrew Parsons. In 2013, the company opened their film distribution arm, Devolver Digital Films, which aims at helping independent filmmakers by digitally distributing and promoting their work.
Founding and initial development
Devolver Digital was founded in Austin, Texas by Mike Wilson and Harry Miller. The two had previously co-founded publishing companies Gathering of Developers in 1998, and Gamecock Media Group in 2007. Founding partners were Rick Stults, Nigel Lowrie and Graeme Struthers, previously business partners of Wilson. They announced the company's establishment on June 25, 2009, coinciding with the reveal of their first game, a high-definition remake of Croteam's 2001 game Serious Sam: The First Encounter. The First Encounter was originally published through Gathering of Developers, in a deal where Croteam retained the series' intellectual property, using which they chose to co-operate with Devolver Digital.
Prior to the release of Serious Sam 3: BFE, Devolver Digital and Croteam experimented with the idea of shifting its focus towards publishing games of smaller independent companies. Using Serious Sam as a test bed, Devolver Digital contracted Mommy's Best Games and Vlambeer for smaller high-concept titles, publishing Serious Sam Double D and Serious Sam: The Random Encounter, respectively. Afterwards, fan-made titles Serious Sam: Kamikaze Attack! by Be-Rad Entertainment and Serious Sam: The Greek Encounter by Eric Ruth Games, were taken into the official "indie series" portfolio and also published by Devolver Digital.
Since then, Devolver Digital's breakthrough indie title was Dennaton Games' Hotline Miami. The title went on to receive critical praise, appear on multiple "Best of 2012" lists, sell over 1,700,000 copies, and receive a port to a new engine with OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita versions inbound.
Expansion into film distribution
At the South by Southwest Film Festival 2013, Devolver Digital announced that their newly formed film distribution arm, Devolver Digital Films, would be spearheaded by Mike Wilson and Andie Grace, both of which are experienced filmmakers and industry insiders. Citing the lack of support for independent filmmakers at the point of distribution and financial support in production, Devolver Digital Films aimed "to be that much needed second or third wind to truly find an audience for the film at the home stretch and finish line. Employing the same approach to film distribution as with game publishing, Devolver Digital Films' ambition is to "apply that same fiercely creative devotion to indie filmmakers and their projects."
Fork Parker, the alleged chief financial officer of Devolver Digital, is a fictional character who first appeared in a promotional video for Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter on August 18, 2009, where he received a lot of fan acclaim. Due to his increasing popularity, he was turned into an advertisement figure, appearing on press releases and in game credits, as well as receiving his own Twitter account where he promotes Devolver Digital's games and gives critical opinions about current trends or news. Although he is a fictional character, Fork Parker has officially been listed as Devolver Digital's chief financial officer and is treated as such, appearing as an avaricious personality in the form of Easter eggs in various games.
E3 press conferences
In May 2017, Devolver Digital announced they would be also holding a press conference at E3 2017, but also announced that there won't be any "new game reveals", a deviation from the norm, but instead would feature an appearance of Suda51. The press conference itself turned out to be a satirical 20-minute pre-taped video of a supposed live audience hosted by supposed "Chief Synergy Officer" Nina Struthers (played by actress Mahria Zook), and included Struthers firing a gun into the air, a mock announcement of a new microtransaction method where the customer can literally throw money at the screen to purchase items, as well as an announcement of "Earliest Access", a parody on early access in which players can pre-order games that are yet to be entered into production. The show then ends with Struther's head exploding. The video was directed by Don Thacker, head of Imagos Softworks and developer of Starr Mazer. In the aftermath, the show was called "a meta joke on everyone watching" and "a freaking masterpiece" that "highlighted pretty much everything wrong with AAA gaming".
The joke video idea was repeated in 2018 with Zook reprising her role as Nina Struthers; the show this time introduced on a new item called "Lootboxcoin", a parody of both cryptocurrency and loot boxes; in reality it was a simple plastic coin that had "no actual value", but was available for purchase from the Devolver store for a fluctuating price. The presentation explicitly stated that the coin is not a cryptocurrency, should not be considered currency and warned viewers that they "can’t buy anything with it". Also introduced was the "Devolver Digital Entertainment System Classic", in reality a repainted Sega Dreamcast. The show then ended with the gamer who lost his hand in the 2017 show gunning down Struthers, who then, in an homage to the first-person sequence of RoboCop, gets cybernetically augmented.
|Year of re-release||Year of original release||Title||Developer(s)||Platform(s)|
|2010||2001||Serious Sam Classic: The First Encounter||Croteam||Microsoft Windows|
|2002||Serious Sam Classic: The Second Encounter||Croteam||Microsoft Windows|
|2011||2005||Serious Sam 2||Croteam||Microsoft Windows|
|2013||1997||Shadow Warrior||3D Realms||Microsoft Windows, macOS|
|2006||Marc Eckō's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure||Microsoft Windows|
|2015||2014||Breach & Clear||Mighty Rabbit Studios||Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux|
- Grant, Christopher (June 25, 2009). "Gamecock, Gathering of Developers founders re-emerge as Devolver Digital". Engadget. AOL Tech. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Roberts, David (April 29, 2015). "Digital humanity: how Devolver is the Sub Pop of gaming". GamesRadar. Future plc. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- Hamilton, Kirk (January 3, 2013). "Kirk's Top 11 Games Of 2012". Kotaku. Gawker Media. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Krupa, Daniel (February 19, 2013). "Hotline Miami Coming to PS3 and PS Vita". IGN. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
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- "The story behind Devolver Digital's legendary, ridiculously last-minute 2017 E3 press conference".
- "Devolver Digital's Very E3 Press Conference is Very Great Very. – Geek Reply". geekreply.com.
- "Devolver Digital Press Conference is a Meta Joke on Everyone Watching". June 11, 2017.
- "Devolver Digital Had The Best E3 2017 Press Conference". June 12, 2017.
- "Devolver Digital mocks loot boxes and cryptocurrencies with its latest E3 stunt".
- "Yes, you can actually buy Devolver Digital's Lootboxcoin".
- "Devolver Digital E3 2018: Press Conference Recap". techraptor.net.
- Singletary, Charles Jr. (June 22, 2018). "Serious Sam 4 Interview: First Encounters of the Badass Kind". Shacknews.
- O'Connor, Alice (May 20, 2016). "The Talos Principle 2 Discreetly Announced". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved May 20, 2016.