IGF 2017 Nominees Include Cuphead, Night In The Woods, Tacoma

Cuphead IGF Nomination

The Independent Games Festival’s 2017 award nominees have been listed over on the official website. Following the resignation of former IGF chairman, Brendon Boyer, back in 2015, many indie developers have been looking toward the organization to clean up its act and give a fair shake to indie developers out there who weren’t friends with the chairman. I suppose we’ll see how well the meritocracy of the IGF will be put into practice with this year’s event.

The current nominees are listed under a variety of categories, including the Seumas Mcnally Grand Prize, which includes the following games:

  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • West of Loathing (Asymmetric Publications)
  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Heat Signature (Suspicious Developments)
  • Baba is You (Hempuli)

While Night In The Woods was a true game designed for hipsters, it’s nice to see that West of Loathing and Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy made the cut in this particular category, two games that were actually popular with normal gamers, hardcore gamers, and normies. Sadly, Cuphead only made it as an honorable mention, along with Hollow Knight.

In the Excellence In Visual Art category, the following games made the cut:

  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Echo (ULTRA ULTRA)
  • Luna (Funomena)
  • The Gardens Between (The Voxel Agents)
  • Chuchel (Amanita Design)

Once again, we see that the hipster-friendly Night In The Woods is in the list, pretty much setting the tone that we can expect that it’s likely going to walk away with at least one award when all is said and done. However, it’s great to see that Cuphead made the cut, too.

The Excellence In Audio category includes the following nominees:

  • Tormentor X Punisher (e-studio)
  • Cuphead (StudioMDHR)
  • Vignettes (Skeleton Business)
  • Rain World (VIDEOCULT)
  • Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Celeste (Matt Makes Games)

Most surprising to me was that a game like Tormentor X Punisher from e-studio made the cut in the list. Why? Because it’s a violent game with blood, guts and gore. I suppose since the main character is a pink-haired, foul-mouth woman maybe that’s why it was recognized? But it’s like a top-down version of the classic DOOM but cranked up to 11. It’s a seriously hardcore shooter, as evident with the trailer below.

Raw Fury is the publisher, though, and we all know how they threw Tim Soret from Odd Tales under the bus in order to appease Social Justice Warriors who attacked him for being pro-#GamerGate. So maybe the nomination isn’t as out of the blue as one might expect?

One of the more important categories sees a few games you might not have expected to make the cut. Check out the nominees for Excellence In Design:

  • Into the Breach (Subset Games)
  • Shenzhen I/O (Zachtronics)
  • Wilmot’s Warehouse (Richard Hogg, Ricky Haggett, Eli Rainsberry)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Uurnog Uurnlimited (Nifflas Games)
  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)

I can’t fault them for putting Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy in there because you have to admit that the game really is a technical masterpiece in terms of how it works with what limited controls and design mechanics at play. There’s a lot of thought that went into the physics and manipulation of the sledgehammer while scaling the environment. It lists honorable mentions such as Battle Chef Brigade and Dead Cells as well, two games that I think definitely deserve an honorable mention. I am a little perplexed how a game like Factorio was a main nominee but Uurnog Uurnlimited was? Factorio is a game with a lot more nuance and layers.

The nominees for Excellence In Narrative are as follows:

  • Tacoma (Fullbright)
  • Attentat 1942 (Charles University and Czech Academy of Sciences)
  • Where the Water Tastes Like Wine (Dim Bulb Games)
  • Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall)
  • Butterfly Soup (Brianna Lei)
  • Tooth and Tail (Pocketwatch Games)

It’s nice to see Tooth and Tail make the cut, but it’s quite obvious that clique-darling Fullbright will likely walk away with the award for Tacoma. The game didn’t sell well at all since most core gamers were wise to the wiles of gaming media (a media who no longer has the element of surprise or guile on their side); especially considering that Fullbright is the same minds behind Gone Home. I doubt the more unique Tooth and Tail from Pocketwatch Games will pick up the win, but would you really expect anything else from the IGF?

The nominees for the Nuovo Award are as follows:

  • Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy (Bennett Foddy)
  • Tarotica Voo Doo (TPM.CO SOFT WORKS)
  • 10 Mississippi (Karina Popp)
  • A Mortician’s Tale (Laundry Bear Games)
  • Cosmic Top Secret (klassefilm)
  • Everything Is Going to Be OK (Nathalie Lawhead)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Kids (Playables)

A lot of these games arne’t even real games, but the best of the bunch is still Getting Over It With Bennett Foddy.

And last and least is Best Student Game, which includes the following nominees:

  • IO Interloper (DANG!)
  • Don’t Make Love (Maggese)
  • Penny Blue Finds a Clue (DigiPen Team Cactus Curse)
  • We Were Here (Total Mayhem Games)
  • Baba Is You (Hempuli)
  • Guardian of the Gears (DigiPen Team Studio 76)

I have to admit, a couple of them are actually pretty cool like Guardians of the Gears. That looks like a real game. Also IO Interloper seems like an interesting game about corporate espionage. We really don’t get more of those kind of games.

Overall, how do you see the IGF nominees for 2017? More or less cancerous than when Brandon Boyer was running that alleged corruption ring of cliques a few years back? I suppose a lot of it will boil down to what the actual awards will look like when they’re handed out and whether or not the proper teams win. It’s a shame that Cuphead didn’t receive more nominations, though.

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