Now that the world has been blessed with a wonderful new crossover, it is only fair the devs Massive Monster (Cult of the Lamb) and Klei Entertainment (Don't Starve Together) also bless us by answering some questions about each other.
Devolver: How much have you played Don't Starve Together?
Massive Monster (Jimp, Art Director): Probably an unhealthy amount! I played a bunch of the OG Don’t Starve and then when Don’t Starve Together came out on Playstation, I played a lot with my housemates. It's difficult to put down, especially as you can't pause the game without both leaving the server… I’ve lost weekends to that game! I have quite a low attention span and quickly lose interest in games - but I never get bored of Don’t Starve. It always keeps me engaged. Every time you play, you learn something new!
Devolver: How much have you played Cult of the Lamb?
Klei: When the game first released we were playing non stop until we defeated The One Who Waits. For a period of time we were essentially all committed to being our own little cult leaders. It was a blast unlocking the different followers and we couldn’t stop until we had unlocked them all, there’s some really funny ones. Who doesn’t want to be praised and worshiped by a Poop follower?
Devolver: Did you think of Don't Starve Together while developing Cult of the Lamb?
Massive Monster: Absolutely! It's hard not to be inspired by the games you love, particularly when they are in a similar genre. I love feeding the pigs to make them follow you. I remember wondering if you could make that as the basis of a whole game.
Devolver: Don't Starve and Cult of the Lamb share a similar visual approach, using 2D art work in a 3D perspective - why do you think this kind of style works?
Klei: We actually really loved the clean almost “icon-like” look of the art style in Cult of the Lamb. Being a studio that has a deep love for 2D art ourselves, many of us have trouble with the uncanny valley for games that are really reaching for realism these days.
The visuals that many modern games pull off are technical marvels, but many of us in the studio find that the closer they get to realism; while impressive, sometimes it can take you out of the fantasy of the game in a weird way. When there’s no pretense for realism, it actually lets us buy into the crazier elements easier. As creators of something like Don’t Starve, we also have a soft spot for the merging of cute and disturbing. It sneaks up on you in a fun way and we loved that we were constantly catching ourselves constantly saying things like “Awww that’s SO cute... waaait.”
Massive Monster: We've always loved using a cartoon style for our games. There’s something pure and expressive about 2D art that doesn't always translate as well in 3D. We're also a small studio and 2D art is just much faster to draw than modeling everything out in 3D. It lets us focus on creating bigger worlds. However, the 3D perspective does help create a great sense of depth and a feeling of space. It also allows for elements like dynamic lighting to help build atmosphere. So for us, the combination of the two felt like the best of both worlds.
As for the style of the art itself - the cute cartoony direction is an interesting lens to view the dark world of Cult of the Lamb through. If the art was highly detailed and realistic, it might feel quite unpleasant and nasty - you can do some pretty messed up things in the game. But because it's presented in a colourful and light hearted way, players don't realise quite how monstrous their actions are… until it's too late.
Devolver: What's your favorite memory from Cult of the Lamb?
Klei: Something that is always interesting to us is when a game puts you in a position to make a controversial decision where you’re not forced but legitimately enticed to do the “wrong” thing. There were lots of little moments in Cult of the Lamb when dealing with your followers like this. Things like questionable marriage arrangements and choosing to “ascend” followers. Where are they ascending to? Do we want to know? Do we even want to ask?
We really loved the follower characters. Your bond with them really grows as you progress since they’re all just so cute and the interactions on the surface present as so innocent, and then we remember it’s a cult and we’ll be sacrificing them.
Devolver: What’s your favorite memory from Don’t Starve Together?
Massive Monster: Probably those days of playing with my housemates - having a few beers, forgetting to eat, making a dumb mistake because you're tired and getting into a blazing argument for ruining the game you spent all weekend playing.
Devolver: What’s an element from Cult you think could work well in Don't Starve?
Klei: We loved all the different NPC interactions in Cult of the Lamb when you’re in town. We have definitely thought about what it could look like if we add more things like that and NPCs in general into Don’t Starve Together. We have dabbled in it a bit with characters like Wagstaff popping up from time to time.
We could also see a possible update that maybe adds more interaction with the Pigmen, Merm and Bunnymen where they became kind of cult followers to the survivors. There’s some fun room there where they have early benefits to the players, but then start to become problematic.
Devolver: What's an element from Don't Starve you'd like to add to Cult?
Massive Monster: We always loved the survival element of Don’t Starve Together and for the crossover we wanted to add an homage to that into our game. We’ve done this with the new ‘Penitence Mode’ which adds hunger and tiredness for the Lamb! It’s a new challenge where you need to look after yourself as well as your followers. We think it's a really fun new layer!
Beyond that, we’d love to add some kind of cooperative element to the game. The sense of adventure you get from exploring a new map in Don’t Starve Together is unmatched. We’d love something like that in Cult of the Lamb. There's no plans for this at the moment but hopefully there might be one day!
That being said, we do have lots of exciting stuff planned for the game! We released our first free expansion, Relics of the Old Faith in April and you can expect to see another free major content update later this year!
Devolver: Final question about both of your games, why is there so much poop?
Klei: Great minds think alike! The main reason for poop is humor. Anyone who tells you “poop jokes stink” and isn’t saying it as a punchline to a terrible excellent joke, should probably not be trusted. But #2 is poop… is childish and gross. Which makes it one thing: Funny (with a colon)
Massive Monster: It's an important part of life, you know? You're born, you eat, you poop, you die.. the earth reclaims your body, to grow the food that feeds future generations. We’re all just poop at the end of it all.
After waking up from a great night out with most likely a killer hangover, you take the role of GHOST, manager for musical ‘sell out’ mogul, BIG MUD, where you will explore the luxurious halls and crevices of CIGGY CITY SUITES as you crawl away from your room and beyond in search for him.
Frolicking your way around SLUDGE LIFE 2 comes with some upgrades of course! Traversal abilities that will take you to new heights with double jumping, thanks to some Double J sneakers you’ll be copping. A portable launcher to help you reach even newer-er heights? Yep. Also the glider. C’mon, you know the glider from the first SLUDGE LIFE, that’s back in it.
But hold up, this hasn’t been the first time art vandals Terri and doseone have worked together. Ohhh no, previously, the duo developed underground hits High Hell, Disc Room, Heavy Bullets, plus the original SLUDGE LIFE, which can all be found in your Devolver Digital games library. We just love these two that much.
I wanted to sit down and dig into the minds of both Terri and doseone to see what it was like working on SLUDGE LIFE 2 and where all this nonsense comes from.
SLUDGE LIFE 2 feels like a world designed to just vibe in. Like, just BEING there is fun as hell. Was that on your mind when you built it? How did you expand upon the already heavy style of the original SLUDGE LIFE?
Terri: Yeah, the vibes are what makes the game, and it's also what we were chasing while making it. The first one had a setting that leaned more towards the gray/industrial, and on SLUDGE LIFE 2 there was a focus on making scenes that had more character, doubling down on how dumb the whole thing is.
doseone: Indeed, I feel like sometimes we are building a world that's “like us”, meaning Terri and I, assets, sounds, attitudes, feels all pulled from our head and organized in Unity. SLUDGE LIFE 2 is really that VIBE/FEEL with XTRA everything, a doubling down upon the amount of areas, creeps, humor, secrets, items, animals and assholes.
What was your favorite addition into SLUDGE LIFE 2 and what gave you the idea and inspiration to add it into the game?
Terri: I really like the bum-a-cig system, it really just adds so much to the realism of being a smoker out in the world. My inspiration was real life and my life-long goal to make my games more realistic.
What would you say is your strongest quality as a producer? What is your biggest weakness? Please don’t say people-pleaser.
doseone: LOL, no outside peoples reception never ever enters my GUMBO :). I guess my strongest quality is my INDIVIDUALITY, when I do my best work, it sounds only like me, and when that's bent and focused to fortify a “WORLD” with music, the end result has a lot of character, quirk, errors and BOP. My biggest weakness is being self taught, which is also a strength that informs the above originality….that said when it WEAKS me, I suck and find my face pressed exactly against the ceiling of all the things I haven't learned yet or “correctly”.
Were there any usable item(s) you thought of bringing into the world of SLUDGE LIFE 2 that just didn’t make the cut?
Terri: Yeah, so SLUDGE LIFE 2 has a keycode system, and I had originally planned to use it on doors and various areas. Players would have to figure out the keys to gain access, OR find an item that was like a hacktool, an interface that would connect to GHOST’s laptop so he could play a hacking minigame to bypass the lock. Problem was, at the end we really just used them on a handful of lockboxes that can be found around the map. At this point that hacktool didn’t seem that needed anymore, and got cut.
Are there any jokes you couldn't add to the game because of our amazing friends at the ratings board? If so, describe it in... uh... as politely as you can.
Terri: Real answer is no, we kept everything. If a joke was cut it was probably because of scope or because it was just TOO unfunny. Our sense of humor is pretty dumb and cartoonish, but not super dark. I’ve seen quite a few people say the game is “surprisingly wholesome”.
doseone: NAH, it all made the game, that said Terri and I are pretty NO NONSENSE when it comes to being frank with one another about if a joke is funny, or a dialog intention is clear. I think stoned folks play and think the whole game, down to every decision is made of WEED, and not being focused….BUT alas this entire bizarre game is made of editing and trying to get the weirdness we are going for “right”.
The lyrics in the tracks from SLUDGE LIFE 2 talk a lot about what's actually happening as you play the game. How do you go about writing the songs? Do you write as you play? Or is it something you discuss with Terri beforehand?
doseone: BIG MUD is the voice of the SLUDGE, he’s a vehicle for the deeper perspective all the MOPES in our game don't have the time to realize or articulate, cause they are too busy working for the MAN. As far as the writing goes, I actually just pretended to be MUD for a week, wrote many many pages of MUDNESS, and then approached it to see what themes arose, and then I aligned all the raps along those themes until they became songs! For DOUBLE BUBBLE I actually did wait till the whole game was done to write specifically about hints, and happenings in the finished game.
What does being a game designer mean to you? How have you seen game designing as both the programmer and artist change over the years if any?
Terri: It has become rather compulsive for me, it can be difficult to keep it out of my mind when I’m not working, but also extremely rewarding. I’ve learned to work in a way where I try to go with the flow, within various limitations, and build the game in a way that is led by my process. I know it's a bit corny, but it's like the Bruce Lee “be water” quote, things work for me when I’m going with where the tools are leading, instead approaching them as a means to get to an idea I already have fully realized in my head.
If you could check in and spend a night at the real life Ciggy City Suites, would you? If so, what strange thing is happening in your room, cause we've seen how weird it gets..
Terri: I mean, you can smoke anywhere AND it has a dedicated smoking area? Hell yeah.
doseone: Oh hells yeah, I like to think I’d get along famously with every NPC and CAT in CIGGY CITY. Def be doing ZOOMS and freestyling with CLICK SICK when I’m not chilling in the room with 24 CATS!
When writing songs for BIG MUD, did you try to get into his head space? Like think of what BIG MUD would do and how he'd write?
doseone: Oh yeah, as I mentioned above, I talk like MUD, smoke a bunch, think slowly and genuinely try not to write anything MUD wouldn’t say. He may get fucked up with the goons, but he's 100% conscience rap, and very aware that being cool and being honest are a delicate balance only your prose can maintain. PLUS we have HALF FACE in SLUDGE LIFE 2, a fast rapping goblin who’s also straight off the pipes. Was fun to deviate from the MUD identity and ADD to CLICK SICK with a second voice and younger more nihilist twist.
If you can describe GHOSTS’ appearance, what would they look like to you?
Terri: Small frame, looks like they’re younger than they are, not big on personal hygiene. Doesn’t talk much. Absolutely fearless.
doseone: LIL’, 100% GENDER FLUID, RBF with a SPARK in the EYE, VERY LARGE HOOD up at all times:)
How has graffiti culture influenced SLUDGE LIFE 2?
Terri: It was great to have something to draw from, not even in the tags themselves, but looking at how it can also be a community with its own dynamics, different points of view and even understandings of what the culture is. Friends that I have from way back were big influences on the taggers too. For the second one I drew a bit more from growing older and seeing these artists move on from graffiti towards other things.
What would you say to other artists/producers who want to take the leap into video game music but are afraid to do so?
doseone: BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAI:D! No, DO IT! Start by finding a community and JAMMING, learn the “HOW” of adding music/sounds to a “world”, and allow the “WHY” to come naturally, aka VIDEO GAME MUSIC is REAL MUSIC you can put your ALL into it. For a long while MUSIC was considered a less that integral aspect of game making, but working with the right people on the right creation puts that BOOMER ass narrative to BED with no SUPPER!
You both must have incredible synergy to keep making such great titles together, what makes working together so great?
Terri: There’s a mutual trust and respect for each other and in each other’s work. We’re both creatively chaotic in many ways but also focused on doing it right and getting things done. Also, maybe most importantly, we both share a side to our sense of humor that is incredibly immature.
doseone: I have never been more grateful for a partner in ART, than I am for Terri. We just ADD to each other implicitly, and we may use our critical selves to finish, but we truly rely on our creative selves from beginning to end.
SLUDGE LIFE 2 is OUT NOW for PC.
A lot of things might come to mind when you think of the CEO of Devolver Digital. Perhaps an image of her being gunned down at her Very Normal 2018 E3 showcase? Perhaps the straight-up murder that she committed earlier in that same show?
But what you aren’t thinking about is the fact that Nina Struthers is NOT a real person (mostly … more on that later). The CEO of Devolver Digital is not, in fact, Nina Struthers, as she was simply a character created to help further Devolver Digital’s brand identity as a publisher.
Fork Parker is real though, don’t you forget it.
When you watch a Devolver Digital summer showcase, you know exactly what you’re getting; a batshit meta-narrative that is almost as entertaining as the games themselves. And you know this because Devolver Digital has crafted an unmistakable identity for itself - something that has been a part of the company since its inception in 2009.
As the very real co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of the company, Nigel Lowrie, puts it, “Our successful brand is a product of timing, just as much as anything else. We were one of the first indie publishers. We've been doing this for over 14 years now. So we have a long history, we’ve built up a catalog of games, events and activities that have helped build a brand. That's not something that can just be invented.”
What absolutely can be invented, though, is fictional C-suite tycoons to help solidify said brand.
If you’re a fan of video games, you’re probably familiar with most companies having a CEWG, Chief Executive White Guy. You know, the White Guy that gets on stage at E3 wearing a blazer and a graphic t-shirt to sell you products. Well, that’s where Fork Parker comes from.
“The persona was created from all the talking heads that we were used to seeing that were older white dudes. And we thought that we needed to have the older white dude espousing this kind of generic, over-the-top corporate speak,” explained Lowrie.
And the company’s CEWW, Nina Struthers, was created to be the hypewoman for E3 conferences and what she believes to be the absolutely groundbreaking, never-before-seen announcements and murders happening there.
But you must be thinking, surely, Devolver must have no shortage of real, living white men working for them to fill this role, so why create fictional people?
A key aspect to Devolver Digital’s identity is, in fact, not having a true face of the company. Devolver Digital has one goal in mind - providing their best-in-class publishing services in the background, giving the real spotlight to the developers behind Devolver’s iconic catalog.
While Devolver prefers to operate from behind the scenes and allow the developers to shine, that doesn’t mean that the company has no personality of its own, of course. Beyond the jokey, self-referential identity of Devolver, it also has a set of values crafted by the team, “I think that one of the core values that we will preach is just being honest, and having honest relationships and conversations with people. To the consumer, to influencers, press, developers, partners - we're not trying to play games.”
“If we're in a pitch and someone's coming off as too much of a salesman, too disingenuous, the red flags go up, and we don't really want to work with them. But if the person really has this vision and believes in it, and that could mean the silliness of Fall Guys or the kind of more adult issues and themes of what Deconstucteam works on, or the cleverness of something like Minit, that all comes through, because the developers had a very clear vision that can express themselves openly and clearly.”
All-in-all, Devolver has had a clear goal with its brand identity from the beginning. It is known for a mix of best-of-class, eclectic games. And while you may not necessarily recognize the real faces behind Devolver Digital, they’ve crafted an eccentric, over-the-top brand identity that is always recognizable - and for good reason, “One person may pick up GRIS and be blown away, but they may not be super excited about Cult of the Lamb. But hopefully, they give it a shot because of the Devolver label on it - it at least piques their interest or they’ll give the trailer a watch. What’s important is that they don't dismiss the game. The Devolver brand gives you a little bit of a leg up to have someone at least check the game out. So that's to me what's important.”
Devolver Digital, in the end, is about three things. Making great games, putting developers that truly care about their works in the spotlight and promoting video games amidst a string of murders both on and off stage. Isn’t that what video games are really about, in the end?
Although Volvy -- Devolver Digital's official mascot, games industry legend, and iconic household name -- has been around for decades, the return of this beloved character at Summer Game Fest has inspired an explosion of fan art. Here are some of our favourites from Twitter. Volvy loves and appreciates you.
Did you miss our flawless Volv-E presentation? Have you already seen it, but you're begging for more? No worries, here's a flawless recap.
It's a hilarious physics-based game from Gabe Cuzillo, Maxi Boch and Bennett Foddy, the minds behind Ape Out and Getting Over It, and it's coming to PS5 and PC in 2024.
For more physics-based fun, here's a bigger and better sequel to the viral sensation from the original developer No Brakes Games.
And yes, it's as good as you hoped it would be.
Reminder: You can play Croteam's The Talos Principle 2 later this year on PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X, and if you want more details, find them here.
The demo is a wonderful showcase of Galvanic Games' beautiful sandbox, but you don't have to take us at our word, you can go try it for yourself.
Wizard With A Gun releases on PS5, Xbox Series S|X and PC later this year.
It's June 27.
There's also a demo on Steam and a new gameplay trailer.
Newly updated for PC & Switch, Bleak Sword DX expands on the critically acclaimed Apple Arcade version of the lofi battler.
Here you go. And buy some merch while you're at it.
By "some" we mean "a bunch". It's completely coincidental.
You can just browse, no need to buy anything, promise!
Okay, maybe you can buy something. Writing this was tedious.
Please. Just buy something.
That's unfortunate. Click here to be cool.
Flex your challenge run skills and you could win a cash prize when Bleak Sword DX comes to Switch and PC on June 8. Be the first to submit a valid deathless or hitless playthrough of the new DX content and you could be awarded a cash prize of up to $2,000.00 USD.
Submissions will open on June 12, 2023 at 9:00 AM Pacific | 4:00 PM UTC and run until July 15, 2023 at 11:59 PM Pacific | 6:59 AM UTC.
To be eligible for consideration, the submitted run must be a full playthrough of the DX version of Bleak Sword completed either deathless or hitless. All runs must be submitted via this form to be eligible for entry and consideration.
Incomplete entries will be disqualified. Entries will be reviewed and validated in order of submission. Confirmation of a valid run will be left to the reviewer’s discretion. See full rules here.
Bleak Sword DX is a dark fantasy action game challenging warriors to fight their way through compact, cursed diorama battlefields in a series of thrilling encounters with wonderfully cruel creatures.
Newly updated for PC & Switch, Bleak Sword DX expands on the critically acclaimed Apple Arcade version with elegant controls, three new game modes, and multiple gameplay and graphical improvements.
Enter the shadows at bleaksword.com
If you've played Cult of the Lamb, you've almost certainly fallen in love with its music. The genius behind this wonderfully dark, bouncy soundtrack is sonic wizard River Boy, who mixes vibey synths, chopped up vocal samples, and bassy trap beats to delicious effect. No other video game sounds like Cult of the Lamb, and the music a big part of what makes Massive Monster's devilishly cute sacrifice-'em-up so memorable. River Boy's style is very much his own, but like any musician, there are other artists that influence him. Here, in his own words, are some of the tracks that inspired his work on the game.
Clams Casino — All I need / Listen
"I adore the way Clams cuts vocals. There’s a darkness to this track but it’s also beautiful, haunting, and dream-like. This type of 'cloud rap' beat is a big influence on the Cult of the Lamb score."
Salem — King Night / Listen
"There’s a dark biblical tone in this song I wanted to capture in the Cult of the Lamb. I wish Salem didn’t go so heavy on the distortion as it makes the track a little unlistenable, but the vibe is definitely there."
Fever Ray — Concrete Walls / Listen
"Fever Ray and The Knife use vocal processing across most of their work. I credit them for influencing the manipulated vocals I use in a lot of the Cult of the Lamb's boss tracks. I also find this track's sparseness really appealing. There aren’t many elements but they all work together really well."
Rob D — Clubbed to Death / Listen
"There’s this sample used at 1:04 that sounds like a squeaky door hinge. I’ve always loved it and I use similar sounds in Saleos."
XXXTENTACION — Moonlight / Listen
"The beat is perfect imo. It hits that trappy bounce so well. Super minimal. We got an 808, harp, and drums. I love the philosophy of only having a few elements but each one being interesting and intricate."
Doseone — Lead Lords Keep / Listen
"Massive Monster suggested this track as an energy level reference for the dungeon crawling in Cult of the Lamb. Saviour takes cues from it. I initially struggled to write high energy combat tracks and I found this reference quite helpful."
Little Simz — Dead Body / Listen
"Such a dank track. Simz sounds like a witch rapping on this beat. The track is a reference for its dark feel, heavy bass, and drums."
The Knife — Colouring of Pigeons / Listen
"The way that vocals are used as instruments in this track is a big inspiration. They start in a simple rhythm but work their way into these interesting polyrhythms. Wordless and rhythmic aaahs, ooohs, and eeehs are all across the Cult of the Lamb score."
Shlomo — The End / Listen
"I’m inspired by this track's bass and degraded drums. Just dank dark trap vibes."
Sleepy Fish — For When It’s Warmer / Listen
"The Cult of the Lamb base area takes inspo from this type of beat. I wanted something that adds vibe and movement without being distracting. Exactly like those YouTube 'lo-fi beats to study to' playlists."
Here's a Spotify playlist we put together of (almost) all of the above tracks, with some choice cuts from the Cult of the Lamb OST thrown in for good measure. Prefer the reassuring permanence of physical media? Why not treat yourself to the Cult of the Lamb deluxe double vinyl. Praise the Lamb!
The passion of fans is at the core of everything we do. It’s the force behind wonderful things like the incredible cosplay, art and game tributes we’re regularly blown away by, and it’s an invaluable inspiration for us and the creators we work with to elevate our craft along with the world’s finest double butthole jokes - but in this story, community passion is a powerful teacher of lessons.
Back at PAX West 2018, Devolver Digital brought the beautifully realized Gris to Seattle, giving fans a chance to play the massively anticipated, breathtaking game ahead of launch. Devolver Digital fans have excellent taste, so it’s no surprise that the Gris booth was bumpin’; the game drew a long queue for the entire weekend, with folks patiently waiting for their turn to play.
Gris had only three playable stations to accommodate the entirety of PAX West though, including the wall-to-wall appointments we booked with reporters for preview articles and developer interviews, which are often a bigger deal for justifying travel costs than they may seem (shows of any kind are expensive, y’all). We added a sign (seen at the top of this article) to one of our stations designating it as a “press priority station” - a gentle way of warning fans their demo might be cut short so that we could accommodate our full schedule of appointments - but the sign wasn’t visible enough, and having your demo abruptly end doesn’t feel good after waiting more than an hour to play, even when you know the interruption is coming.
The fans we explained the scenario to were kind and understanding, but the setup was a recipe for frustration and confusion which quickly came to a head: someone posted a photo of the booth on Reddit, claiming the picture showed a fan who had been booted from playing to accommodate a media appointment. At a glance, it was easy to immediately feel for this wronged fan, perceiving their facial expression as total disappointment that they couldn’t keep playing.
The backlash mounted as quickly as the upvotes. The community’s empathy poured out for the wronged fan, with comments tagging Devolver Digital and developer Nomada Studio to share their disappointment. It’s totally reasonable for fans to voice respectful disagreement like this to a team when it seems they’ve missed the mark. The thing is, the person in the photo commenters were defending wasn’t a fan - it was the game’s developer. They were standing beside the media appointment to field questions as the reporter played, and their expression was misunderstood.
After much explanation across Reddit and Twitter, the confusion was cleared up - but the kerfuffle made it exceedingly obvious that we had work to do. We never want fans to feel secondary, especially when they take time out of their week to visit our booth. Even though the photo’s moment was misunderstood, the frustration it represented was likely felt by a few of our guests that weekend. And quite frankly, dear reader, that sucked to realize.
The crew at Devolver Digital reflected on this, and it fully shifted how we now accommodate fans for demos, fist bumps or cult initiations as we greet folks at PAXs and everywhere else. The appointments we can’t miss during all too rare in-person gatherings no longer solely rely on the same demo stations fans are waiting for, and press and partners who stop by aren’t racked with guilt from having to cut in front of literal children waiting to play a game. The bottom line is we’re offering a better experience for everyone now, and all it took to have this epiphany was a good thrashing from the internet - a fair, thoughtful critique from fans who, at the end of the day, share our goal of lining Fork Parker’s pockets with as much dough as possible. Is there a greater unifying mission out there?
Thank you for helping us do better, and we’ll see you and your wallet on the road at the next event.
Tune in to participating Terra Nil streams across Twitch from March 27 to April 3, use custom-made tree emotes to plant trees in chat, and we’ll plant trees out in the world on each community's behalf.
Update - April 4, 2023: The campaign has run its course, and 51 Twitch streamers have helped plant over 45,000 trees worldwide. Check a look at the Terra Nil Tree Warriors forest and impact charts. And thanks to you for watching.
In celebration of Terra Nil’s launch on March 28, Devolver Digital and Free Lives have partnered with environmentally conscious Twitch streamers to create a unique streamer forest at Tree Nation and help make the world a bit greener. Plant trees in participating streamers' chats using custom-made emotes and we’ll plant real trees in the world on their behalf as part of the Terra Nil Tree Warriors forest.
The streamer forest is at its budding stage right now and will grow over the course of the campaign as participating Terra Nil streams complete their community tree planting goals. You can also contribute to the forest directly by making a personal donation.
The campaign will run from March 27 to April 3 at the following Twitch channels. All you have to do is join their Terra Nil streams and plant trees in chat by using their custom tree emotes liberally. When they hit their community emote goals, we'll plant €500 worth of trees in real life for them in our Terra Nil Tree Warriors forest. Start watching and plant away!
Free Lives will also be donating 8% of Steam sales profits to Endangered Wildlife Trust, so you can support even more environmental causes by watching any Terra Nil stream and spreading the word. Looking forward to seeing all of you planting a lush, glorious forest both digitally and physically!
Tree Nation is on a mission to plant 1 trillion trees by 2050, and they’re well on their way with over 29 million trees (and counting) currently planted worldwide. In their own words: “Our mission is to reforest the world. Planting trees has been proven to be one of the most efficient solutions to fight climate change.”
Terra Nil is a peaceful, beautiful, and deeply satisfying experience, and you can begin your journey of wasteland reclamation on mobile (via Netflix) and PC on March 28.
Beginning with pre-orders and continuing after launch, Free Lives will be donating a portion of the profits from sales of Terra Nil on Steam to the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
Welcome to Devolver Flashback, a new series of blogs in which we go spelunking in the deep, dank caverns of our back catalogue and pluck out one of the many gems sparkling in the gloom. This week, booze-soaked cyberpunk adventure The Red Strings Club.
Five years ago, Spanish indie geniuses Deconstructeam served me a cocktail I'll never forget. The Red Strings Club is part bartending sim, part existential rumination on the nature of being. One minute you're mixing a drink, the next you're wrestling with challenging ethical conundrums about humanity, privacy, artificial intelligence, and other thought-provoking topics. It's pretty intense, but any cyberpunk story worth its cyber-implants should be.
Sure, there are neon-lit cityscapes and impeccably-dressed hackers in The Red Strings Club. It even has a brilliantly moody, brooding synth soundtrack courtesy of Paula 'Fingerspit' Ruiz. But while some cyberpunk games are content to stop there, Deconstructeam goes deeper, pushing beyond the superficial. The result is a game that isn't just cool as hell, but one that's intellectually nourishing as well. When the credits roll, you're gonna need a lie down.
As Donovan, proprietor of the titular Red Strings Club, you mix cocktails to tap into people's emotions and extract information from them. As Akara-184, an android capable of empathy, you sculpt bio-implants with a pottery wheel-like device to improve people's lives. As hacker Brandeis you mimic voices over the phone to play people against each other.
But as fun as these interactive minigames are (I'll never get tired of hearing the clink of an ice cube when I drop it into a glass), it's not long before The Red Strings Club has you questioning yourself and your actions. Manipulating these people, whether through booze or advanced bio-technology, will challenge the morality of all but the most unfeeling of human husks. Some of these tough moral quandaries may even make you feel uncomfortable.
But that's Deconstructeam for you. This is a developer that wants you to think big thoughts and feel big feelings, and The Red Strings club certainly fulfils that brief. The game's evocative, compelling script was written by Jordi de Paco, with art direction by pixel artist extraordinaire Marina González, whose vivid visual imagination and eye for colour sets this cyberpunk setting apart from other examples of the genre. Some people are just too talented.
The game's mix of bartending, pottery, and social engineering is, let's be real, super weird. When I ask Jordi where the idea came from, he admits that Deconstructeam wouldn't have thought to combine these elements independently. It happened because the studio already had prototypes of each of these minigames, which were then combined, given a cyberpunk makeover, linked with a narrative, and turned into what we now know as The Red Strings Club.
This is a game that was made quickly on a low budget by a tiny team, and was a mish-mash of existing gameplay prototypes, but you'd never know. It's so confidently made and clear in its vision that you'd think the idea appeared fully formed. The Red Strings Club is available now on PC and Switch, and is a must play for anyone who loves point-and-click adventures, branching narratives, or deliciously dark visions of the future. I'll drink to that.