The annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is the largest gathering of game creators in the world, a place where designers can meet up, find inspiration, and show off their latest creations. But for many developers, President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration means they won’t be able to attend the important conference at all. GDC has already offered to refund those affected, and now indie publisher Devolver Digital is offering to feature the games of those unable to attend at its annual GDC showcase.
Devolver — which has published hit indie games like Hotline Miami and Downwell — is now accepting submissions for games to feature at its “Devolver Underground” location between February 27th and March 1st. (Interested parties can email firstname.lastname@example.org and include basic information such as the name of the studio, a description and link to video of the game, and country of origin.)
The company will be setting up gaming PCs and HTC Vive VR units to demo submitted games, which will then been showcased for members of the press and other GDC attendees. “The thought was that we might be able to help in some way if we could still share those developers' games on their behalf since GDC is sometimes the only opportunity for a large number of peers and press to play their games at an event,” explains Devolver co-founder Harry Miller.
The publisher notes that space will be limited, but the goal is to showcase as many games as possible. Preference will be given to developers who had planned to attend GDC and were forced to cancel, but aside from that there aren’t any real restrictions on what will be accepted. “There is no criteria on content or quality, we're simply looking to provide some small presentation for folks that had to cancel plans to come to GDC to share their games on their behalf,” notes Miller. “We honestly have no idea how many folks were affected by this ban but the plan is to load up a couple of nice PC setups with whatever games come our way and allow folks to play them as they wish.”
Devolver joins a growing chorus within the games industry, speaking out against the immigration ban. Studios like Ratchet & Clank creator Insomniac Games have released videos strongly opposing Trump’s order, while the studio behind Dots & Co and Two Dots recently introduced an in-game popup encouraging players to donate to the American Civil Liberties Union, and other studios have offered all or part of their profits to similar organizations for a limited time.
“One of my favorite things about games is that they are truly global in nature, transcending borders and cultural differences more seamlessly than other art forms,” says Devolver’s Mike Wilson. “And working with different people from all over the world with wildly varying backgrounds has been a huge part of Devolver's success and in our personal enjoyment of what we do.”
GDC starts on February 27th.