January 7, 2022

'Unpacking' and 'Inscryption' Lead in IGF 2022 Nominations

The nominees for the 2022 Independent Games Festival Awards have arrived. Whether you're risking it all in an inky black card-based odyssey, or simply organizing your new one-bedroom apartment—this year in indie games is something special.

Organizers of the 2022 Game Developers Conference are thrilled to unveil this year's finalists for the 24th annual IGF Awards—part of the longest-running festival, summit, and showcase celebrating independent games and their creators. Inscryption by Daniel Mullins Games and Unpacking by Witch Beam lead the pack with four nominations each: Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Narrative, and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Inscryption is a genre-bending love letter to video games that blends the deckbuilding roguelike, escape room-style puzzles and psychological horror into a spooky package. Quite differently, Unpacking is a zen game about the familiar experience of pulling possessions out of boxes and fitting them into a new home, learning clues about the person's life along the way.

The Independent Games Festival is part of GDC 2022, which will be held in-person in San Francisco and virtually from March 21-25.

 Here are the other nominees for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

●      Cruelty Squad (Consumer Softproducts): A tactical first-person shooter where players are an emotionally dead combat-substance fueled grunt of Cruelty Squad, a depraved subsidiary company tasked with performing wetworks for its host conglomerate (also nominated for the Nuovo Award).

●      Loop Hero (Four Quarters): Players help the brave hero to defeat the Lich that has thrown the world into a timeless loop by wielding an expanding deck of mystical cards, which place enemies and terrain to help challenge the hero and, in doing so, strengthen them.

●      The Eternal Cylinder (ACE Team): Players control a herd of adorable creatures as they explore a strange alien world filled with exotic lifeforms and surreal environments—all while under the constant threat of the Cylinder, a gargantuan rolling structure of ancient origin that crushes everything in its path (also nominated for Excellence in Visual Art).

●      Unsighted (Studio Pixel Punk): A sci-fi adventure where players' choices have powerful consequences. As the Automaton Alma, players traverse a vast world searching for hidden passages, powerful weapons, and critical tools—while facing dire decisions in a race against time to save their friends from a tragic fate.

This year's nominees were selected from a list of over 400 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.

Here is the full list of finalists for each category of the 2022 IGF Awards, along with "honorable mentions":  

Excellence in Audio

Toem (Something We Made)

Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Jett: The Far Shore (Superbrothers A/V + Pine Scented)

Mini Motorways (Dinosaur Polo Club)

Sable (Shedworks)

Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)

Honorable Mentions: Severed Steel (Greylock Studios), A Musical Story (Glee-Cheese Studios), Death's Door (Acid Nerve), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Falling Squirrel), Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab), Overboard! (inkle), The Wild at Heart (Moonlight Kids)

Excellence in Design

Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)

Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Overboard! (inkle)

Strange Horticulture (Bad Viking)

Webbed (Sbug Games)

Midnight Protocol (LuGus Studios)

Honorable Mentions: Loop Hero (Four Quarters), Unsighted (Studio Pixel Punk), Mini Motorways (Dinosaur Polo Club), Card Shark (Nerial), KeyWe (Stonewheat & Sons), Sunshine Heavy Industries (Daisyowl Games)

Excellence in Narrative

Last Call (Nina Freeman and Jake Jefferies)

Neurocracy (Playthroughline)

Closed Hands (Passenger)

Overboard! (inkle)

Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)

Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Honorable Mentions: Card Shark (Nerial), Norco (Geography of Robots), The Big Con (Mighty Yell), Tux and Fanny (Ghost Time Games), Opus: Echo of Starsong (Sigono), Sable (Shedworks), Blackhaven (Historiated Games)

Excellence in Visual Art

The Eternal Cylinder (ACE Team)

Behind the Frame: The Finest Scenery (Silver Lining Studio)

Papetura (Petums)

Fuzz Dungeon (Jeremy Couillard)

The Wild at Heart (Moonlight Kids)

Jett: The Far Shore (Superbrothers A/V + Pine Scented)

Honorable Mentions: Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games), A Musical Story (Glee-Cheese Studios), Kena: Bridge of Spirits (Ember Lab), Saturnalia (Santa Ragione), Stonefly (Flight School Studio), Cris Tales (Dreams Uncorporated, Syck) 

Best Student Game

Cai Cai Balão (Look Up Games)

Abriss - build to destroy (Randwerk Games eG)

Letter Lattice (Ethan Zarov)

SmallLife (Yueqi Wu)

Nainai's Recipe (Fan Fang, Mai Hou)

Live Adventure (Live Adventure Team)

Honorable Mentions: Astreia's Gift (Femy Nassirou & Hervé Blanchot), There You Are (Funky Dango), The Bleeding Tree (No Input Interactive), dumpling.love (the parks staff), Lysfangha (Baptiste Marsac & Daphne Pauchet-Deloffre), Jivana (Team Jivana), Hook Up (Team Hook Up), Come with Me (Xin Ye)

Nuovo Award

Memory Card (Lily Zone)

Okthryssia and Saturnia's Bureaucratic Adventures (Outlands)

Space Hole 2020 (Sam Atlas)

Tux and Fanny (Ghost Time Games)

Cruelty Squad (Consumer Softproducts)

Sparkles & Gems (Resnijars)

Fuzz Dungeon (Jeremy Couillard)

Cuccchi (Fantastico Studio)

Honorable Mentions: Last Call (Nina Freeman and Jake Jefferies), The Shape of Time (落日间 xpaidia studio), The Under Presents (Tender Claws), ~Song of Homunculus~ (Diamond Ace (Lily Zone + Zoë Sparks)), Card Shark (Nerial), The Vale: Shadow of the Crown (Falling Squirrel)

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

Inscryption (Daniel Mullins Games)

Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Loop Hero (Four Quarters)

The Eternal Cylinder (ACE Team)

Cruelty Squad (Consumer Softproducts)

Unsighted (Studio Pixel Punk)

Honorable Mentions: Toem (Something We Made), Norco (Geography of Robots), Overboard! (inkle), Saturnalia (Santa Ragione), Dodgeball Academia (Pocket Trap), Webbed (Sbug Games), Fuzz Dungeon (Jeremy Couillard) 

Winners will be announced during the Independent Games Festival Awards, taking place at GDC on Wednesday, March 23 (with a simultaneous broadcast on GDC Twitch). 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 2022 pass-holders.

GDC returns in-person to San Francisco, March 21-25—registration is now open! For more information on GDC 2022, including our virtual options, be sure to visit our website and follow the #GDC22 hashtag on social media.

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