2018 Independent Games Festival Finalists

The Independent Games Festival (IGF), which honors the most influential, innovative and acclaimed projects in independent game development, revealed the award finalists for its 20th annual awards ceremony.

The IGF Awards take place on March 21, 2018 during the Game Developers Conference, and will be hosted by Trent Kusters, co-founder of League of Geeks, the Melbourne-based development team behind Armello, a captivating digital role-playing strategy board game that has garnered much critical and fan acclaim.

Trent is currently a board member of Australia’s Freeplay Independent Games Festival, and was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for games in 2016.

After an initial review round by over 300 judges, the nearly 600 entries for the 2018 IGF Awards were distributed to a diverse set of expert jurors from across the industry for final consideration. The juries for each individual category then selected the IGF finalists after playing, discussing and meticulously evaluating them.

Among the selection of 34 different nominated games, a few titles received nominations in multiple categories, including Baba is You, a puzzle game created by creator Hempuli that allows players to alter the rules and game logic as a part of solving the puzzles. The game received a total of four nominations – for Excellence in Design, Best Student Game, the Nuovo Award for ‘thinking differently about games as a medium’, and for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Multiple titles are being recognized for their excellence with three nominations apiece. Night in the Woods, an adventure game from creator Infinite Fall that focuses on exploration, story and character development within a lush, vibrant world, received nominations for Excellence in Narrative, Excellence in Visual Arts and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy from developer Bennett Foddy, a sadistic climbing game that rewards players who reach the top of the mountain, was nominated for Excellence in Design, the Nuovo Award, and also received a nomination for the Grand Prize.

The winners of the IGF will be announced at the Independent Games Festival Awards which take place the evening of Wednesday, March 21st at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. The IGF Awards will immediately precede the Game Developers Choice Awards, which recognizes the best games of the year across all sections of video game development.

IGF Award winners will receive more than $50,000 of prizes in various categories, including the $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Both the IGF Awards and the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2018 pass-holders and will be livestreamed online once again.

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • WINNER Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)
  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments)
  • Baba is You (Hempuli)

Honorable Mentions:Tacoma (Fullbright); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Cuphead (StudioMDHR); Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Echo (ULTRA ULTRA)
  • Luna (Funomena)
  • The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents)
  • WINNER Chuchel (Amanita Design)

Honorable Mentions:Jettomero: Hero of the Universe (Ghost Time Games); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); AER – Memories of Old (Forgotten Key); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Rain World (VIDEOCULT); Shape of the World (Hollow Tree Games); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry)

Excellence in Audio

  • Tormentor X Punisher (e-studio)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Vignettes (Skeleton Business)
  • Rain World (VIDEOCULT)
  • WINNER Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Honorable Mentions:Tumbleseed (Benedict Fritz, Greg Wohlwend, Joel Corelitz, David Laskey and Jenna Blazevich); Hollow Knight (Team Cherry); Tacoma (Fullbright); Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games); Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)

Excellence in Design

  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Shenzhen I/O (Zachtronics)
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse (Richard Hogg, Ricky Haggett, Eli Rainsberry)
  • WINNER Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

Honorable Mentions:Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments); Dead Cells (Motion Twin); Factorio (Wube Software); Space Pirate Trainer (I-Illusions); Battle Chef Brigade (Trinket Studios)

Excellence in Narrative

  • Tacoma (Fullbright)
  • Attentat 1942 (Charles University and Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games)
  • WINNER Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Butterfly Soup (Brianna Lei)
  • Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)

Honorable Mentions:A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games); Lost Memories Dot Net (Star Maid Games); Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator (Game Grumps); Bury me, my Love (The Pixel Hunt, Figs and ARTE France); Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm); West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications); Rakuen (Laura Shigihara)

Nuovo Award

  • WINNER Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • Tarotica Voo Doo (TPM.CO SOFT WORKS)
  • 10 Mississippi (Karina Popp)
  • A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games)
  • Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm)
  • Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Kids (Playables)

Honorable Mentions:Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games); IO Interloper (DANG!); The Norwood Suite (Cosmo D Studios); Cheap Golf (Pixeljam); Witchball (S.L.Clark); Million Onion Hotel (Onion Games)

Best Student Game

  • IO Interloper (DANG!)
  • Don’t Make Love (Maggese)
  • Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse)
  • We Were Here (Total Mayhem Games)
  • WINNER Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76)

Honorable Mentions:Crewsaders (Titan Squad); A.L.F.R.E.D. (Hugo Lefevre, Joseph Reichenbach, Romain Jaohar-Gaillard, Garance Royere Lebigre, Nicolas Tham, Marion Speiser, Delphine Migeot de Baran, Song Huang); MOLOCH (Seemingly Pointless); Kyklos Code (Cube Factory); Membrane (Perfect Hat / Seth S. Scott); That Blooming Feeling (The Tots Team); Tell Me What You See (Pesky Bees)

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