Devolver Digital’s infamous CFO took a moment to ruminate on the intersection of violence, art and money.
Fork Parker is a man who likes his money. Velvet-covered jet skis don’t come cheap, after all. So it’s fair to wonder why, rather than embracing high-profile mega-projects, Devolver Digital is taking on small-time indie releases like Hotline Miami, a pixellated, top-down action game created by an unheralded indie whose previous “experimental games” were often made in a matter of hours.
“Originally, I had hoped to find up-and-coming indies like Vlambeer, Mommy’s Best Games, and Dennaton Games and then crush them under the weight of oppressive publishing contracts, unrealistic development schedules and counter-productive marketing efforts,” Parker explained. “A strange thing happened though. All of these little studios delivered truly unique games that progress the medium in new and exciting directions. The modern indie scene is rich with developers working on brave new concepts, original game mechanics, and unusual aesthetics – this is where the creativity truly is these days. It’s something we want to help promote and be a part of because it’s where the next big things are happening and we want to make sure these developers are given the spotlight they deserve along with the bigger games.”
“I will eventually crush their spirits though,” he added. “That’s inevitable.”
Parker described Hotline Miami as “a super-stylish indie game with some marvelous art and f*cking amazing soudtrack,” offering “breakneck speed, intense gameplay and an engrossing story with some really start turns.” It’s also absolutely soaked in violence, leading me to wonder where the line is drawn between art and voyeuristic exploitation.
“Violence itself is not necessarily art but a game that confronts violence and makes people think about the unrestrained brutality in games can certainly be considered art,” an unusually and uncomfortably pensive Parker said. “There are some interesting themes and questions brought up throughout Hotline Miami and I encourage everyone to play through the entire story despite how challenging it might get. I promise it’s worth it.”
But he seemed to snap out of his philosophical fugue when asked about the possibility of forming relationships with other, more indie developers in the future, like Jonathan Blow, Jason Rohrer or perhaps The Path studio Tale of Tales. “Once Hotline Miami is out and I’m flush with cash money, I’ll forge more relationships with the ladies down at the gentleman’s club,” he said.
Hotline Miami comes out on October 23.