Finalists announced for this year’s Independent Games Festival awards

Sam Desatoff, Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 9:04 pm

This March, at GDC 2020 in San Francisco, the Independent Games Festival will announce the winners of the annual IGF awards, a celebration of achievement in the indie development space. Awards are given out across a variety of categories, including excellence in visual art, audio, design, narrative, and more. The top honor is the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, which will be awarded to one of five finalists: Eliza, A Short Hike, Untitled Goose Game, Mutazione, Slay the Spire, and Anodyne 2: Return to Dust. IGF 2020 will be hosted by Trent Kusters, director of Armello developer League of Geeks. 

In addition to being nominated for the Seumas McNally prize, Mutazione has also received nominations for the visual art, audio, and narrative awards. Developer Die Gute Fabrik is a studio split across New York, New York and Copenhagen, Denmark

According to a news release, a panel of over 300 judges oversees the selection process for the IGF nominees, and more than 550 games were considered. Here are the finalists in all categories:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize

  • Eliza
  • A Short Hike
  • Untitled Goose Game
  • Mutazione
  • Slay the Spire
  • Anodyne 2: Return to Dust

Honorable mentions: Katana ZERO; Lonely Mountains: Downhill; Song of Bloom; Wide Ocean, Big Jacket; Elsinore; Astologaster; Heaven’s Vault.

Excellence in Visual Art

  • Mutazione
  • Knights and Bikes
  • Void Bastards
  • Creature in the Well
  • Eastward
  • Stone Story RPG

Honorable mentions: LUNA the Shadow Dust; Eastshade; Minute of Islands; Katana ZERO; Song of Bloom; A Short Hike; Creaks.

Excellence in Audio

  • Observation
  • Vectronom
  • Astrologaster
  • Knights and Bikes
  • Mutazione
  • Untitled Goose Game

Honorable mentions: Afterparty; Kind Words (lo fi chill beats to write to); Manifold Garden; Alt-Frequencies; Don’t Look; Lonely Mountains: Downhill; Tales from Off-Peak City, Vol. 1.

Excellence in Design

  • Katana ZERO
  • Lonely Mountains: Downhill
  • Slay the Spire
  • A Short Hike
  • Elsinore
  • Patrick’s Parabox

Honorable mentions: Guildlings; Nauticrawl; Blabyrinth; Children of Morta; Void Bastards; Untitled Goose Game; Creature in the Well.

Excellence in Narrative

  • Mutazione
  • Heaven’s Vault
  • Elsinore
  • Wide Ocean, Big Jacket
  • Eliza

Honorable mentions: American Election; Night Call; Astrologaster; A Short Hike; Adventures With Anxiety!; Observation.

Nuovo Award

  • Tales From Off-Peak City, Vol. 1
  • Infini
  • The Space Between
  • Life Tastes Like Cardboard
  • Promesa
  • Song of Bloom
  • The Longing
  • PAGAN: Autogeny

Honorable mentions: Astrologaster; Elsinore; Fit for a King; My Exercise; Where the Bees Make Honey; Smile For Me.

Collectively, winners will take home more than $20,000 in prizes, with the recipient of the Seumas McNally grand prize snagging $10,000. In addition to the above nominees, the IGF will honor innovation in the control space with the alt.ctrl.GDC award, which recognizes experiences with unconventional, accessible, and alternative physical controls. 

GDC will be held March 16-23 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. The convention is aimed at the development industry, and plays host to a number of talks, roundtables, and demonstrations. Expect more information in the coming months.


Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at or follow him on Twitter. © 2024 | All Rights Reserved.