In amongst the pomp and pageantry of the major publisher showcases at last week's E3, lurked a wickedly satirical little oddity from Hotline Miami publisher Devolver Digital. It shocked, it bemused, and now the team behind E3 2017's weirdest, bloodiest corporate shindig have been discussing how the whole thing came about.
If you haven't seen it already, Devolver's "Big Fancy Press Conference" starts innocently enough, with the appearance of Chief Synergy Officer Nina Struthers. However, it doesn't take long before pure, unfettered pandemonium breaks out. Here, just check a look at the video below.
Devolver's entirely unexpected shebang was the work of Imagos Films, and the team (consisting of director, writer, and editor Don Thacker, producer Lindsay Peck, and composer John Robert Matz) took to Reddit last night to discuss E3 2017's bleakest satirical treasure in more detail.
According to Thacker, "Devolver came to [Imagos] with the idea of sending up E3 press conferences", and "the major strokes - Screen Pay, Earliest Access, Comment Created Content - were handed to us as one-liners". Thacker, it seems, already had his own axe to grind regarding the direction of E3 in recent years and "felt like this was a cool platform to do it". When Thacker "asked if I could take it to 11, and get a little bloody... Devolver emphatically approved".
Not everyone was quite so onboard though. During pre-production "it was almost impossible to find a venue that would allow what we wanted to do. Once we got to the 'and then we spray gallons of blood all over your stage and blow up a head' we were turned away." Oh, and if you're wondering, the show's messy denouement eventually used four gallons of blood, which took the crew two hours to clean up.
By all accounts, things weren't exactly smooth sailing during filming either, with the team still trying to lock down key actors "three hours before we started". However, the whirlwind shoot day did birth one of the conference's very best jokes: "The mocap/morph/green suit thing, which is HILARIOUS, was not supposed to be in," says Thacker.
"We'd originally scripted a 'small man in a black leotard', but we weren't able to lock a person to play the small man in said leotard". Instead, the art team "struck lightning and bought a one size fits all morph suit and the green person was played by THREE different people."
Better yet though, Thacker says, "I insisted on having ridiculous ping-pong balls glued all over the suit and they kept popping off during action. I hated that. It bothered me so much. When we got into the edit, though, I realized that those balls popping off was comedy GOLD."
For all its ad hoc lunacy though, people have responded well to the final product. As Thacker puts it, "I was shocked to find that, after the Devolver Digital press conference, I was seeing a few serious conversations pop up about how uncomfortable or tired people felt of the corporate approach to E3. A ridiculous, satirical approach made a few people feel open enough to start that conversation. And that felt awesome!"
As for the question that everybody wants answering - will Nina Struthers somehow return in 2018 - Thacker reveals, "We're already in talks with Devolver about next year". And despite his assertion that "we don't want to repeat ourselves", I'm choosing to interpret as an emphatic yes.