GDC 2021 organiser reveals finalist for the 23rd annual awards ceremony of the Independent Games Festival

Informa Tech, organiser of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2021, has revealed the finalists for the 23rd annual awards ceremony of the Independent Games Festival (IGF), the longest-running festival, summit and showcase celebrating independent games and their creators. The IGF is part of the Game Developers Conference 2021, which will take place as a virtual event from 19 July through 23 July.

The esteemed award nominees are led by Genesis Noir created by Feral Cat Den. The stylish noir adventure game where players explore the mysteries of the Big Bang and seek a way to destroy it before it kills their love received a total of four nominations in the categories of Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Narrative, Excellence in Visual Art and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Umurangi Generation, the first-person photography game set in a bleak future by Origame Digital, follows with three nominations for Excellence in Narrative, the Nuovo Award and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Other celebrated nominees for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize also include:

  • Paradise Killer by Kaizen Game Works is a surreal, free form, open-world first-person exploration investigation game where the player assumes the role of Lady Love Dies, an exiled investigator brought back to solve a mass murder.
  • Teardown from Tuxedo Labs sees players prepare the perfect heist in a simulated and fully destructible voxel world, using the environment to their advantage in the most creative way they can think of.
  • Chicory: A Colorful Tale by The Chicory Team is a top-down adventure game about a dog wielding a magic brush and painting powers to explore, solve puzzles, help animal friends and restore colour to the world.
  • Spiritfarer by Thunder Lotus is a cozy management game about dying; players take the role of the ferrymaster to the deceased and build a boat to explore the world, then befriend and care for spirits before finally releasing them into the afterlife.

After an initial screening process overseen by more than 300 judges, over 500 entries for the 2021 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.

The winners of the IGF will be announced at the Independent Games Festival Awards, taking place at the 2021 Game Developers Conference (GDC) on Wednesday, 21 July 2021 at 4:30 pm PT. The IGF Awards will immediately precede the Game Developers Choice Awards, which recognises the best games of the year across all sections of video game development.

The full list of finalists for each category of the 2021 Independent Games Festival, along with “honourable mentions,” is as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize
Paradise Killer (Kaizen Game Works)
Teardown (Tuxedo Labs)
Chicory: A Colorful Tale (The Chicory Team)
Genesis Noir (Feral Cat Den)
Umurangi Generation (Origame Digital)
Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus)

Honourable Mentions: A Monster’s Expedition (Through Puzzling Exhibitions) (Draknek & Friends), Blaseball (The Game Band), Bugsnax (Young Horses), Carto (Sunhead Games), Disc Room (Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Terri Vellmann, Doseone), NUTS (Joon, Pol, Muuutsch, Char & Torfi), OMORI (OMOCAT), Spelunky 2 (Mossmouth, BlitWorks), There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Draw Me A Pixel)

Excellence in Audio
Say No! More (Studio Fizbin)
Blind Drive (Lo-Fi People)
Sunlight (Krillbite Studio)
Genesis Noir (Feral Cat Den)
Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus)
A Monster’s Expedition (Through Puzzling Exhibitions) (Draknek & Friends)

Honourable Mentions: Ikenfell (Happy Ray Games), Stilstand (Ida Hartmann & Niila Games), BPM: BULLETS PER MINUTE (Awe Interactive), Creaks (Amanita Design), In Other Waters (Jump Over the Age), Olija (Thomas Olsson / Skeleton Crew Studio, Inc.), Chicory: A Colorful Tale (The Chicory Team), Mixolumia (davemakes)

Best Student Game
Vessels (Local Space Survey Corps, LLC)
Dorfromantik (Toukana Interactive)
Some Old Stuff (Hao Fan, Harry (Weizhong) Chen, Haku (Minyan Cai), Emi Schaufeld)
Rainy Season (Inasa Fujio)
SYMPHONIA (Guillaume Roux, Nicolas Derio, Pierre Vrel, Guillaume Gille, Alexis Grand, Simon Larguier, Martin Lepretre, Corentin Pauvrasseau, Kilian Dufour, Alexandre Mansois, Quentin Vernet, Hicham Benrhannou, Olivier Esman)
Hadr (Dominik Konečný of Ateliér Duchů)

Honourable Mentions: Quest 4 Papa (Rumba Corp), Bots Are Stupid (Leander Edler-Golla), FAITH: The Unholy Trinity, (Airdorf Games), Liquidators (1986 CL3), Pink Gum (Mad Cream Games), Running Souls (Bar Levi, Asaf Kali, Yakir Oz, Michal Shoshan), Flicker of Hope (Studio Whip), Sketchball (Pincun Liu), Bunny Hill (Brendan Roarty)

Excellence in Design
Teardown (Tuxedo Labs)
Disc Room (Kitty Calis, Jan Willem Nijman, Terri Vellmann, Doseone)
Shady Part of Me (Douze Dixièmes)
There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Draw Me A Pixel)
Signs of the Sojourner (Echodog Games)
A Monster’s Expedition (Through Puzzling Exhibitions) (Draknek & Friends)

Honourable Mentions: Boomerang X (DANG!), Ancient Enemy (Grey Alien Games & Jim Rossignol), Biped (NExT Studios), Ynglet (Nifflas & Triple Topping), Chicory: A Colorful Tale (The Chicory Team), Moncage (Optillusion), Airborne Kingdom (The Wandering Band), The Last Cube (Improx Games)

Excellence in Narrative
Lost Words: Beyond the Page (Sketchbook Games)
Across the Grooves (Nova-box)
Genesis Noir (Feral Cat Den)
Umurangi Generation (Origame Digital)
Haven (The Game Bakers)
In Other Waters (Jump Over the Age)

Honourable Mentions: Spiritfarer (Thunder Lotus), NUTS (Joon, Pol, Muuutsch, Char & Torfi), Blaseball (The Game Band), Inkslinger (Gateway: Jacob Hvid Amstrup and Lucas A. V. Møller), Paradise Killer (Kaizen Game Works), South of the Circle (State of Play), Stilstand (Ida Hartmann & Niila Games), Blind Drive (Lo-Fi People)

Excellence in Visual Art
Genesis Noir (Feral Cat Den)
Arrog (Hermanos Magia and Leap Game Studios)
In Other Waters (Jump Over the Age)
Shady Part of Me (Douze Dixièmes)
Call of the Sea (Out of the Blue)
Carto (Sunhead Games)

Honourable Mention: Stilstand (Ida Hartmann & Niila Games), Bloodroots (Paper Cult), OMORI (OMOCAT), Chicory: A Colorful Tale (The Chicory Team), Going Under (Aggro Crab), Umurangi Generation (Origame Digital)

Nuovo Award
Blaseball (The Game Band)
Nightmare Temptation Academy (Lena NW & Costcodreamgurl)
THAT NIGHT, STEEPED BY BLOOD RIVER (Taylor Swietanski)
Airplane Mode (Bacronym)
Welcome to Elk (Triple Topping)
Umurangi Generation (Origame Digital)
Chasing Light (Vittgen Inc.)
Kristallijn (Gaël Bourhis)

Honourable Mentions: Cai Cai Balão (LookUp Games at DADIU 2020), Genesis Noir (Feral Cat Den), Gnosia (Petit Depotto), Liquidators (1986 CL3), Night Dreams (Salem Hughes), Rainy Season (Inasa Fujio), Stilstand (Ida Hartmann & Niila Games), There Is No Game: Wrong Dimension (Draw Me A Pixel)

Since its debut in 1999, the Independent Games Festival remains a platform that recognises the efforts and artistic craft of some of the most beloved independent games in history, including revolutionary and memorable titles such as A Short Hike, Return of the Obra DinnOuter Wilds, Her StoryFez and Minecraft among many others.

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