Sam Barlow’s Her Story took home the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game and $30,000 at the 18th annual Independent Games Festival Awards tonight, hosted by the 2016 Game Developers Conference at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.
In addition to the grand prize, Her Story also received the top honor for Excellence in Narrative. Her Story is an interactive crime fiction game, which engages players in a riveting murder investigation by cleverly combining taped confessions and a simple computer interface.
The night’s other award recipients include Excellence in Design winner Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes from developer Steel Crate Games, which is an exhilarating race against the clock that challenges a single player to survive in a room with a ticking time bomb using the guidance of surrounding friends and teammates who have the manual to defuse it. Excellence in Visual Art winner Oxenfree from Night School Studio is a narrative-driven single player game that combines elements of a coming-of-age tale and supernatural thriller. Dinosaur Polo Club’s Mini Metro, a game that tasks players to design the subway layout for a rapidly expanding city, earned the Excellence in Audio award for its entrancing melodies and rhythmic beats.
The Nuovo Award, which recognizes abstract and unconventional games, went to developer Star Maid Games for their title Cibele, a game based on a true story of love, sex and the Internet. The unique game portrays an increasingly heated and intimate relationship that develops over a simulated desktop computer interface.
Best Student Game was awarded to Beglitched by Jennifer Jiao Hsia and Alec Thomson, which takes inspiration from hacking, viruses and sentient spam in a playful spin on the traditional match-3 game. Finally, the Audience Award, which is chosen from among all of the IGF finalists through a public online voting process, was given to Undertale by developer Toby Fox. Undertale is a subversive and charming role-playing game that gives players the freedom to kill or befriend enemies with larger repercussions and consequences that are felt throughout the larger story.
All finalists and winners for this year's competition are playable at the Game Developers Conference at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor in San Francisco's Moscone Center through Friday, March 18.
Here are the winners of the 18th annual IGF Awards:
Excellence in Narrative ($3,000)
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
Excellence in Audio ($3,000)
Mini Metro (Dinosaur Polo Club)
Excellence in Design ($3,000)
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games)
Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000)
Oxenfree (Night School Studio)
ID@Xbox Rising Star Award
(Girls Make Games - The Hole Story)
Nuovo Award ($5,000)
Cibele (Star Maid Games)
Best Student Game ($3,000)
Beglitched (Jennifer Jiao Hsia and Alec Thomson)
Audience Award ($3,000)
Undertale (Toby Fox)
Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)
Her Story (Sam Barlow)
The Independent Games Festival offers finalists both global exposure and more than $50,000 in cash prizes to each year's winners.
The Independent Games Festival – which includes the two-day Independent Games Summit as part of GDC – was established in 1998 by the UBM Tech Game Network to honor the best independent game developers & encourage creativity and excellence in independent games.
Organizers would like to thank this year's generous supporters of the IGF, including ID@Xbox (Platinum Sponsor), Valve (Platform Sponsor), DigiPen Institute of Technology (Platinum Student Sponsor) and Gamasutra.com (IGF Media Partner).
For more information about the IGF, and its finalists and winners, please visit the IGF website.
Gamasutra, GDC and the IGF are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech.