Skip to main content

Two murder mysteries and a game about smashing walls compete for the IGF grand prize

Lady Love Dies, protagonist of Paradise Killer
(Image credit: Fellow Traveller)

The Independent Games Festival Competition has announced the nominees for all categories in its 2021 awards. This year's nominees for the Big Shiny known as the Seumas McNally Grand Prize—a prize that in previous years has gone to games like A Night in the Woods, Papers, Please, and Minecraft—are surrealist immortal detective adventure Paradise Killer, destruction sandbox Teardown, color-themed puzzle-platformer Chicory: A Colorful Tale, jazzy cosmic adventure Genesis Noir, ferrymaster afterlife sim Spiritfarer, and Umurangi Generation, a photo safari set in the "shitty future".

Genesis Noir, a game that dares to ask "what if the Big Bang was more like The Big Sleep", is doing particularly well for itself. As well as the grand prize it's been nominated for Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Narrative, and Excellence in Visual Art. 

This year's "games you didn't realize were made by students until they were nominated for the Best Student Game award" are hexgrid landscape-building strategy game Dorfromantik, and Hadr, a puzzle game where you play a sentient bedsheet that eats whatever it touches.

If you were preparing to ask "what's the point of awards anyway" then the answer in this case is $10,000, which is what the grand prize winner gets. Winners in other categories each receive $2,000, and additionally all nominated finalists receive $1,000. There's a $75 fee to enter the IGF, reduced to $25 for students, which can be waived for "those making interesting or experimental works who, because of the fee, might otherwise not enter the content".

The IGF Awards will be handed out on July 21 as part of the Game Developers Conference, which will be a virtual event running from July 19 to July 23 this year. Here are the nominees in each category.

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)
Jody is that guy who will try to convince you to play some indie game you've never heard of with a name like Extreme Meatpunks Forever. He is also on a doomed quest to play every Warhammer game.