This evening marks the 21st annual Independent Games Festival (IGF) Awards, taking place at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn won the Seumas McNally Grand Prize for Best Independent Game at the event. This is Pope's second Grand Prize award, as he won previously for Papers, Please at the IGF Awards in 2014.
Return of the Obra Dinn also won the Excellence in Narrative award. The Excellence in Visual Art award went to Mirror Drop, a puzzle game from developer Ian Lilley, while the off-kilter and unsettling Paratopic won the Excellence in Audio award. The Best Student Game Awards was won by After Hours, an FMV adventure about a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder. That title was developed by Bahiyya Khan, a student at the University of Witwatersrand, in collaboration with Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, and Abi Meekel.
The ID@Xbox Gaming Heroes Award was awarded to Jerry Lawson, the inventor of the first cartridge-based home video game system, the Fairchild Channel F Console. Lawson died in 2011, seeing increased recognition for his work after his passing.
The winners of the 21st annual IGF Awards are:
- Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000) - Mirror Drop (Ian Lilley)
- Excellence in Audio ($3,000) - Paratopic (Arbitrary Metric)
- Excellence in Design ($3,000) - Opus Magnum (Zachtronics)
- Excellence in Narrative ($3,000) - Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)
- Nuovo Award ($3,000) - Black Room (Cassie McQuater)
- Best Student Game ($3,000) - After Hours (Bahiyya Khan, Claire Meekel, Tim Flusk, Abi Meekel)
- Audience Award ($3,000) - Ethereal (Nonsense Arts - Nicolás Recabarren and Tomás Batista)
- ID@Xbox Gaming Heroes Award - Jerry Lawson
- alt.ctrl.GDC Award ($3,000) - Hot Swap: All Hands On Deck (Peter Gyory, Clement Zheng)
- Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000) - Return of the Obra Dinn (Lucas Pope)
All of the IGF award finalists are available for play at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Any GDC pass holder can check them out at that IGF Pavilion on the GDC Expo Floor through Friday, March 22nd.