• Nate Hermanson

(Not) E3 2022: Indies are officially in charge after Day 1

Every year, I've said essentially the same thing after day one of chaos week: Indies are taking over E3.


Ahem. My mistake. (Not) E3.

Geoff Keighley stands on the Summer Game Fest set, complete with digital screens around and underneath him. The screens show a grassy field with the Summer Game Fest logo and a few reflective monoliths stand behind him.
Geoff Keighley enjoys another year of freedom from Gamer Jail™, wagging his finger freely as a liberated man should.

A little history

Since the pandemic hit — and even before — the bigger companies started to shy away from the stress of presenting their latest in June. The work that went into putting together presentations full of "exciting enough" trailers for games that were coming out "soon enough" was just too much. Having to adhere to the industry's early-June deadline put pressure on dozens of development teams to crunch long enough to get a presentable slice of their games together in time, and it just wasn't worth it.


They took off, they started their own semi-regular, self-produced presentations without the added cost and chore of renting out big theatres or arenas, and they were happier for it. It just made sense.


Gamers understandably miss the flair and polish that these events brought, especially as each of the Big 3 companies had finally begun to get really good at it. Sony's sick orchestras, Xbox's all killer no filler, Nintendo's long treehouse streams. It was all gaining great momentum when they started to pull back.


Enter Geoff Keighley. His special flair for the dramatic — honed by years of collaborations with the developers who put on events like these — and his dedication to uplifting the industry through events like The Game Awards made him the perfect person to step in and fill the gap left behind by the big boys.


And so, Summer Game Fest was born. A summer-based gaming showcase on a snazzy stage, with reveals and trailers from some of the biggest names in the industry. It's where we finally learned about Elden Ring. It had Muppets. It was good — and continues to be.


This year's show provided new looks at Call of Duty, Street Fighter 6, the PS5 "reimagining" of The Last of Us Part 1, Saints Row, and more. It was a decent showing, although familiar and expected.


Even amidst some of the biggest companies and games of the year, even here at the fabled Summer Game Fest, indies effectively stole the spotlight.


And that's okay.

The logo for Day of the Devs 10th anniversary. A quilt-like design with geometric shapes and the Day of the Devs skull logo on the right.

The indie revolution will not be televised... it'll be streamed.


Games like Nightingale, American Arcadia, Fort Solis, and even Goat Simulator 3 left the biggest impressions on us during the event, but it was what would come after that really took our breath away.


Following the Summer Game Fest for the third straight year, Double Fine and iam8bit brought a batch of fascinating indies into the spotlight with Day of the Devs. After Tim Schafer and co. got their party caps on, celebrating 10 years of Day of the Devs, the games started coming in hot.


From the 70 – 80-second fly-life puzzler Time Flies to the beautifully pixelized Metroidvania Animal Well, every game showcased at the event was an immediate addition to VGG's Most Anticipated list.


Each new game featured some original gameplay hook and refreshing narrative takes. They all had that SOMETHING SPECIAL.


Shortly after that amazing show, the Devolver Digital team joined the party with their unique brand of entertainment. We witnessed a robot powered by the enigmatic Japanese legend Suda51, a room full of video game executives struggling to understand why the "numbers" are so high, and a world-ending video game singularity on the way. And while Devolver kept to their usual quirked-up charms, they provided one of the tightest and most enjoyable presentations they've given in years.


Devolver only brought five games to the table this year, and technically, only one of them was a brand-new reveal. Even so, it was one of the most memorable batches of the day.

A logo that reads: The Devolver Digital Marketing Countdown to Marketing, Summer Game Fest, June 9 @ 3 PM PT.

Cult of the Lamb, a favorite from last year, revealed a release date and a brand-new, highly polished trailer. Anger Foot — a door-kicking, adrenaline-pumping FPS game jam creation that caught a lot of attention in 2021 — was re-revealed with Devolver's backing. Skate Story, a trippy surrealist skating game in the underworld, got a big gameplay showcase. And, most surprising of all, The Plucky Squire. I won't even tell you what it's about. Go watch that trailer now.


Look. All I'm saying is... the landscape has shifted. June, E3, (Not) E3. Whatever you want to call it. It's no longer the month of big blockbusters. This season belongs to the indie scene now, and 2022 is here to prove it.


Only one "traditional" big blockbuster showcase is left on the schedule. Xbox and Bethesda. The other 9 shows? Indies look to have a HUGE foothold in each of them. And if gamers are paying attention, they'll walk away more than satisfied by this week of reveals and trailers. Because indies are the lifeblood of this industry.


Video games are good. And most of the time it's because of those beautiful indie developers, with their varying team sizes and funding levels, who have a unique story to tell and the absolutely unsinkable passion required to bring it to the world.


Be sure to join us later today over on Twitch for our Day 2 livestream! If you missed any of the shows from Day 1, click on their titles below for a listing of all their trailers! An asterisk next to any title means it's a trailer that we highly recommend watching. See you soon!



All the game trailers for Day 1 of (Not) E3 2022

Summer Game Fest


Day of the Devs

All the trailers linked here will include the developer talks because they add so much content.



Devolver Digital Marketing Countdown to Marketing


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