The celestial exploration game Outer Wilds, from developer Team Outer Wilds, received top honors this evening at the 17th Annual Independent Games Festival.
In addition to taking home the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game (and its associated $30,000 cash prize), Outer Wilds -- an innovative intergalactic adventure in which players probe the depths of space and unravel the mysteries of the cosmos -- was also honored with the Excellence in Design award during the event, which took place during the 2015 Game Developers Conference.
Capybara Games co-founder Nathan Vella returned to serve as master of ceremonies for the event, which also featured appearances from IGF chairman Brandon Boyer and videos from the comedic minds behind the Hey Ash Whatcha Playin'? video series.
Achievements in other categories include Excellence in Visual Art winner Metamorphabet from Patrick Smith of Vectorpark, which presents a fresh take on the alphabet, presenting each letter in dazzling and interesting transformations.
Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure paints a rock fairy tale about a paper mayfly's journey and was awarded Excellence in Audio. The original soundtrack from SuperChop Games blends rock guitar with a classical flair to render an intuitive gameplay experience driven by music.
The recipient for Excellence in Narrative was awarded to 80 Days, an extraordinary, strategic exploration game from inkle that challenges players to traverse the globe in a race against the clock and other opponents. With new content to discover, and hundreds of possibilities and choices, the gameplay evolves into a deep interactive story that is truly unparalleled.
This year's Nuovo Award, which celebrates abstract and unconventional games, went to Nathalie Lawhead's Tetrageddon Games, an open source parody of digital life. The game encourages players to engage in bizarre creations and build on its own distinctive narrative using downloadable source files, assets and modifications.
The Best Student Game was awarded to Close Your from developer Goodbye World Games at the University of Southern California. Close Your is a powerful, interactive narrative that depicts the brevity of life and utilizes the player's blinking to experience the perspective of someone who has suffered brain trauma.
Finally, the Audience Award was given to This War of Mine from 11 bit studios for its fresh take on the survival game genre. The game provides an immersive war experience framed from the perspective of a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine, and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers.
If you're at GDC this week, know that all finalists and winners for this year's competition are playable at the IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor in San Francisco's Moscone Center through Friday, March 6.
To recap, your 2015 IGF Award winners are as follows:
Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000)
Metamorphabet (Patrick Smith of Vectorpark)
Nuovo Award ($5,000)
Tetrageddon Games (Nathalie Lawhead)
Excellence in Audio ($3,000)
Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure (SuperChop Games)
Excellence in Narrative ($3,000)
80 Days (inkle)
Best Student Game ($3,000)
Close Your (Goodbye World Games - University of Southern California)
Audience Award ($3,000)
This War of Mine (11 bit studios)
Excellence in Design ($3,000)
Outer Wilds (Team Outer Wilds)
Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000)
Outer Wilds (Team Outer Wilds)
The Independent Games Festival - which also consists of a two-day Independent Games Summit on Monday, March 2nd and Tuesday, March 3rd as part of GDC - was established in 1998 by the UBM Tech Game Network to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers, similar to how the Sundance Film Festival has honored the independent film community.
Organizers would like to thank this year's kind supporters of the IGF, including ID@Xbox (Platinum Sponsor), Valve (Platform Sponsor), and DigiPen Institute of Technology (Student Showcase Platinum Sponsor).
The IGF offers finalists both global exposure and more than $50,000 in cash prizes to each year's winners.
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