Game Developers Conference (GDC) is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Here are your finalists for the 2020 Independent Games Festival Awards!

The Independent Games Festival, which honors the most influential, innovative and acclaimed projects in independent game development, has revealed the finalists for the 22nd annual awards ceremony.

The IGF Awards will take place March 18, 2020 during the Game Developers Conference. The event will be hosted by League of Geeks (Armello) director Trent Kusters, who is returning as host following his first stint at IGF 2018.

After an initial screening process overseen by more than 300 judges, over 550 entries for the 2020 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 full presentation of the Independent Games Festival Awards (IGF Awards) can be viewed on the official GDC Twitch channel.

Developer Die Gute Fabrik’s Mutazione leads the pack of finalists for IGF 2020 with a total of four nominations in the categories of Excellence in Visual Art, Audio and Narrative, as well as the Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Die Gute Fabrik’s “mutant soap opera” adventure game is set more than 100 years after a meteor strikes a tropical island resort and the surviving inhabitants create a small isolated community known as Mutazione. As 15-year-old Kai, players set out on a quest where the juicy personal drama is just as important as the high-stakes adventure, and young Kai must care for her ailing grandfather while navigating her personal life and uncovering the secrets of the island.

The nominees for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize also include:

  • Untitled Goose Game, a game where players inhabit the webbed feet of a troublesome goose wreaking (playful) havoc on unwitting townsfolk, which earned an additional nomination for Audio.
  • A Short Hike, a vibrant exploration game set in the wilds of Hawk Peak Provincial Park, which also received a nomination for Design.
  • Eliza, an enthralling visual novel that draws on themes of personal connection and technological encroachment, received a nod for Narrative as well.
  • Slay the Spire, an addictive card game that incorporates dynamic roguelike game elements and deckbuilding, had its full release in 2019 and has received a second nomination for Design.
  • Anodyne 2: Return to Dust, an action adventure game with a charming story and a retro visual design that draws from the eras of 16-bit and 32-bit consoles.

Other titles earning multiple nominations include Knights and Bikes, a colorfully hand-painted coming-of-age adventure by Foam Sword Games, which earned nominations for Excellence in Visual Art and Audio. In addition, Elsinore, a time-looping creative reimagination of Shakespeare’s Hamlet from the perspective of Ophelia, is up for the awards for Excellence in Design and Narrative.

The winners of the IGF will be announced at the Independent Games Festival Awards, which takes place the evening of Wednesday, March 18, 2020 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 $20,000 of prizes in various categories, including the $10,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, and all IGF finalists this year also receive a $1,000 stipend. Both the IGF Awards and the Game Developers Choice Awards ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2020 pass-holders, and will be livestreamed online via the official GDC Twitch channel.

The full list of finalists for each category of the 2020 Independent Games Festival, along with "honorable mentions," is as follows:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Eliza (Zachtronics)

A Short Hike (Adam Robinson-Yu)

Untitled Goose Game (House House)

Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik)

Slay the Spire (Mega Crit Games)

Anodyne 2: Return to Dust (Sean Han Tani & Marina Kittaka)

Honorable Mentions: Katana ZERO (Askiisoft); Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Megagon Industries); Song of Bloom (Philipp Stollenmayer); Wide Ocean, Big Jacket (Turnfollow); Elsinore (Golden Glitch); Astrologaster (Nyamyam); Heaven's Vault (inkle)

Excellence in Visual Art

Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik)

Knights and Bikes (Foam Sword)

Void Bastards (Blue Manchu)

Creature in the Well (Flight School Studio)

Eastward (Pixpil)

Stone Story RPG (Martian Rex / standardcombo)

Honorable Mentions: LUNA The Shadow Dust (Lantern Studio); Eastshade (Eastshade Studios); Minute of Islands (Studio Fizbin); Katana ZERO (Askiisoft); Song of Bloom (Philipp Stollenmayer); A Short Hike (Adam Robinson-Yu); Creaks (Amanita Design)

Excellence in Audio

Observation (No Code)

Vectronom (Ludopium)

Astrologaster (Nyamyam)

Knights and Bikes (Foam Sword)

Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik)

Untitled Goose Game (House House)

Honorable Mentions: Afterparty (Night School Studio); Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to) (Popcannibal); Manifold Garden (William Chyr Studio); Alt-Frequencies (Accidental Queens); Don't Look (Don't Look Team); Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Megagon Industries); Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 (Cosmo D)

Excellence in Design

Katana ZERO (Askiisoft)

Lonely Mountains: Downhill (Megagon Industries)

Slay the Spire (Mega Crit Games)

A Short Hike (Adam Robinson-Yu)

Elsinore (Golden Glitch)

Patrick's Parabox (Patrick Traynor)

Honorable Mentions: Guildlings (Sirvo Studios); Nauticrawl (Andrea Interguglielmi); Blabyrinth (Sleeping Beast Games); Children of Morta (Dead Mage); Void Bastards (Blue Manchu); Untitled Goose Game (House House); Creature in the Well (Flight School Studio)

Excellence in Narrative

Mutazione (Die Gute Fabrik)

Heaven's Vault (inkle)

Elsinore (Golden Glitch)

Wide Ocean, Big Jacket (Turnfollow)

Eliza (Zachtronics)


Honorable Mentions: American Election (Greg Buchanan); Night Call (Monkey Moon, BlackMuffin); Astrologaster (Nyamyam); A Short Hike (Adam Robinson-Yu); Adventures With Anxiety! (Nicky Case); Observation (No Code)

Nuovo Award

Tales From Off-Peak City Vol. 1 (Cosmo D)

Infini (Barnaque)

The Space Between (Christoph Frey)

Life Tastes Like Cardboard (Demensa)

Promesa (Julián Palacios)

Song of Bloom (Philipp Stollenmayer)

The Longing (Studio Seufz)

PAGAN: Autogeny (Oleander Garden)

Honorable Mentions: Astrologaster (Nyamyam); Elsinore (Golden Glitch); Fit for a King (Brent Ellison & Tanya X. Short); My Exercise (Atsushi Wada, Ryoya Usuha, Nobuaki Doi); Where the Bees Make Honey (Brian Wilson); Smile For Me (Gabe Lane and Yugo Limbo / LimboLane)

Best Student Game

Orbital Bullet (SmokeStab)

A Juggler's Tale (kaleidoscube)

Forgotten (Mutiny Games)

Neon Beats (OKYO Games)

BORE DOME (Goblin rage)

Nothing In Sight (Nothing In Sight Team)

Honorable Mentions: Unhatched (Filip Loster); Du Rejser (You Travel) (Victor Selnæs Breum + Katinka); Trail Mix (Puzzsoft); Where the Bees Make Honey (Brian Wilson); Northbound (Johannes Köberle & Arno Justus); Evergreen Blues (David Su and Dominique Star)

The alt.ctrl.GDC award will also be announced alongside the IGF winners during the IGF Awards ceremony on March 18, 2020. The alt.ctrl.GDC award honors the most engaging, intriguing, and well-executed game using unconventional, accessible or alternative physical controls, with a prize of $2,000 given out to the winning game, and all alt.ctrl.GDC honorees playable on the GDC show floor from March 18 - 20.

The Independent Games Festival Pavilion will be located on the Expo Floor of the Game Developers Conference from March 18 to 20 and will give attendees the chance to play the nominated titles and meet the game creators. Along with the IGF Pavilion, developers can also take part in the Independent Games Summit (March 16-17), which highlights the best and brightest of indie development, featuring valuable discussions and networking opportunities. The Game Developers Conference takes place Monday, March 16 to Friday, March 20, 2020 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco.

Since its debut in 1999, the Independent Games Festival remains a platform that recognizes the efforts and artistic craft of some of the most beloved independent games in history, including revolutionary and memorable titles such as Return of the Obra Dinn, Outer Wilds, Her Story, Fez and Minecraft among many others.

For more information about the 22nd annual Independent Games Festival Awards, visit the IGF website. For more details on the Game Developers Conference, which includes the Independent Games Summit, the IGF Pavilion and the IGF Awards Ceremony, please visit the GDC’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS. Official photos are available via the official GDC Flickr account. Both the Game Developers Choice Awards and IGF ceremonies are available to attend for all GDC 2020 pass-holders.

For more details on GDC 2020 visit the show's official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.


Connecting the Global Game Development Community