January 24, 2023

'TUNIC' and 'Betrayal at Club Low' Are Front Runners in IGF 2023 Nominations

The 2023 Independent Games Festival Awards nominees have been unveiled—with exciting independent games about a heroic fox, a mystery told through lost film footage, and an undercover mission... with pizza.

Organizers of the 2023 Game Developers Conference are excited to reveal this year's finalists for the 25th annual IGF Awards, part of the longest-running festival, summit, and showcase celebrating independent games and their creators. Seumas McNally Grand Prize nominees TUNIC and Betrayal at Club Low are tied for three nominations each. In addition to the grand prize nods, TUNIC is also nominated for Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Visual Arts, and Betrayal at Club Low also has noms for Excellence in Design and the Nuovo Award, which celebrates games that make jurors think differently about games as a medium. 

TUNIC (TUNIC Team) is an action adventure starring a heroic little fox who sets about exploring a foreign land brimming with colossal beasts, strange and powerful items, and long-lost secrets around every corner. Betrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios) is an indie-tabletop-inspired RPG with tactile dice-driving gameplay that gives players multiple ways to approach each undercover mission, set in the eponymous former coffin factory-turned-nightclub.

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Here are the other nominees for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • The Case of the Golden Idol (Color Gray Games): A new kind of detective game that allows you to think and investigate freely. Discover clues surrounding 12 strange and gruesome deaths and build your own theory. Pick your suspect, deduce the motive, unmask the awful truth.
  • IMMORTALITY (Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid): Use the cinematic ability to teleport from scene to scene via match-cut to explore a treasure trove of newly unearthed footage from the lost films of Marissa Marcel. Match cut your own path through the footage and solve the mystery: What happened to Marissa Marcel?
  • Neon White (Angel Matrix): A single-player speedrunning FPS where you can sacrifice your guns for godlike parkour moves.
  • Not For Broadcast (NotGames): Thrust into the chair in the broadcast studio of the National Nightly News, quickly learn what it takes to keep your audience tuned in—single-handedly controlling what goes out over the airwaves to your entire country. 

This year's nominees were selected from a list of over 500 entries, thanks to the hard work of our expert juries in each individual category (more on them here and here)—who chose the finalists after playing, discussing, and meticulously evaluating each of the games in consideration. Be sure to submit your vote for the IGF Audience Award here. Voting will close on February 7 at 11:59pm PT.

Here is the full list of finalists for each category of the 2023 IGF Awards, along with Honorable Mentions:  

Best Student Game

Honorable Mentions: A Mallard's Song (Ducky Elford), Error143 (Jenny Vi Pham), Paper Planet (Doodlegames), The Longest Walk (Alexander Tarvet), zenosyne (Ezra Szanton)

Excellence in Audio

Honorable MentionsBetrayal at Club Low (Cosmo D Studios), Cult of the Lamb (Massive Monster), IMMORTALITY (Sam Barlow, Half Mermaid), Melatonin (Half Asleep), Neon White (Angel Matrix), Tinykin (Splashteam) 

Excellence in Design

Honorable Mentions: Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Age), Cursed to Golf (Chuhai Labs), Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator (niceplay games), Swordship (Digital Kingdom), Terra Nil (Free Lives), Tinykin (Splashteam) 

Excellence in Narrative

Honorable Mentions: Eternal Threads (Cosmonaut Studios), Queer Man Peering Into a Rock Pool.jpg (Fuzzy Ghost), Roadwarden (Moral Anxiety Studio), The Case of the Golden Idol (Color Gray Games), The Excavation of Hob's Barrow (Cloak and Dagger Games), The Wreck (The Pixel Hunt)

Excellence in Visual Arts

Honorable Mentions: I Was a Teenage Exocolonist (Northway Games), Melatonin (Half Asleep), NAIAD (HiWarp), Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator (niceplay games), Return to Monkey Island (Terrible Toybox), Swordship (Digital Kingdom), Terra Nil (Free Lives), Voodoo Detective (Short Sleeve Studio LLC)

Nuovo Award

Honorable Mentions: Atuel (Matajuegos), Ib (kouri), Not For Broadcast (NotGames), Of Moons and Mania (Absurd Walls), RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (DeskWorks Inc.)

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Honorable Mentions: Tinykin (Splashteam), Terra Nil (Free Lives), RPG Time: The Legend of Wright (DeskWorks Inc.), Roadwarden (Moral Anxiety Studio), Hardspace: Shipbreaker (Blackbird Interactive), Citizen Sleeper (Jump Over the Age)

Winners will be announced during the Independent Games Festival Awards, hosted by Marina Díez. The ceremony will take place at GDC on Wednesday, March 22 (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch) at 6:30pm PT. The IGF Awards will immediately precede the Game Developers Choice Awards, which recognizes the best games of the year across all sections of game development. Both the GDCA and IGF ceremonies are available to watch for all GDC 2023 pass-holders.

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