GDC 2014's Independent Games Festival is shaping up to be one of the most exciting ever, thanks to hundreds of indie game developer entrants who are pushing the boundaries of video game development and design.
Some of the most notable people in game development will be evaluating IGF 2014's standout entries. Today we're happy to announce members of some of our discipline-specific jury panels. These panels -- composed of game industry professionals, notable independent game developers and former IGF award winners -- will determine the finalists and winners of the various IGF 2014 awards.
While the juries are still being finalized for other categories as we move toward selection of IGF finalists, here are the confirmed jurors for the Excellence in Narrative Award, Nuovo Award and Excellence in Design Award, in alphabetical order:
The Excellence in Narrative Award
The following jurors are among those chosen to lead the IGF's Excellence in Narrative award, now in its second year. The award will recognize innovation, quality and excellent storytelling in a game.
The Excellence in Narrative jury will include the following:
- Anthony Burch (co-founder and co-writer for 'Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'' web series, Gearbox Software writer for Borderlands 2)
- Kristina Drzaic (narrative director for Halo, previously a writer on BioShock Infinite)
- Rob Dubbin (Emmy-award winning writer for the Colbert Report, as well as IF works Earl Grey and the Facebook reboot of Where In the World is Carmen Sandiego?)
- Jake Elliot (Cardboard Company developer behind the IGF 2013 Excellence in Narrative finalist Kentucky Route Zero, and earlier works such as Balloon Diaspora and A House in California)
- Austin Grossman (novelist who began working with Looking Glass Studios in 1992 and has consulted on narratives for titles such as Deus Ex, Epic Mickey, and Dishonored)
- Jim Munroe (author, filmmaker, and writer of interactive works including Everybody Dies, Guilded Youth and Unmanned)
- Katharine Neil (worked on almost 20 titles shipped on PC and consoles from PSX to Xbox 360 and independently released Alone in the Park in 2013)
- Emily Short (creative director at Linden Lab and author of interactive fiction works including Galatea and Alabaster)
- Matthew Weise (former game design director at Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab and narrative designer at Harmonix)
- Wiley Wiggins (founder of Karakasa Games, currently producing iPad adventure Thunderbeam)
- Karla Zimonja (worked on the story for IGF 2013 Excellence in Narrative finalist and 2013 VGX Best PC Game Award winner Gone Home and previously worked on Bioshock 2 at 2K Games)
The Nuovo Award
Now in its sixth year, the Nuovo Award -- a celebration of esoteric "art games" -- has previously been awarded to Jason Rohrer's abstract multiplayer title Between, Cactus' Tuning and Messhof's Nidhogg.
The Nuovo jury will include the following:
- Pippin Barr (video game maker, critic, and author of 'How to Play a Video Game')
- Ian Bogost (professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, co-founder of Persuasive Games, creator of Cow Clicker and 2010 IGF Nuovo finalist A Slow Year)
- Mattie Brice (co-founder of Queerness and Games Convention, Critical Distance contributor, developer for IndieCade official selection Mainichi)
- Heather Kelley (co-founder of the Kokoromi collective, Perfect Plum founder, GDC 2013 Women in Gaming Award recipient)
- Merritt Kopas (HUGPUNX and Lim creator, game critic, forest ambassador game curator)
- Alexander Martin (developer behind IGF 2013 Excellence in Design finalist and Seumas McNally Grand Prize honorable mention Starseed Pilgrim)
- Paolo Pedercini (game developer at Molleindustria [Phone Story, Every Day The Same Dream], artist and educator at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University)
- Cindy Poremba (game design professor at Sheridan College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, curator for XYZ event and Kokoromi collective)
- Jeroen D Stout (co-founder of Stout Games, the studio behind IGF 2011 Nuovo nominee Dinner Date)
- Nicolai Troshinsky (illustrator, filmmaker, and creator of UFO on Tape and 2011 Nuovo finalist Loop Raccord)
- Eric Zimmerman (co-founder and CEO of GameLab, co-developer on Sissyfight 2000, founding faculty at the NYU Game Center)
The Excellence in Design Award
The Excellence in Design award highlights the innovation and quality of the underlying blueprint of each game.
Prior finalists and winners of the IGF Excellence in Design Award have included 2D Boy's cartoon construction puzzler World of Goo, Pocketwatch Games' abstracted multiplayer heist game Monaco, QCF's rogue-like puzzler Desktop Dungeons and procedurally-generated platformer Spelunky.
The confirmed jury to date consists of the following:
- Chris Bell (designer and producer on thatgamecompany's Journey, developer for IGF 2012 Nuovo nominee and Best Student Game Way)
- Naomi Clark (former producer for LEGO, developer on Sissyfight 2000, Junkbot, Ayiti: the Cost of Life, and Diner Dash)
- Zach Gage (creator of SpellTower, co-creator of Apple Design Award winner Ridiculous Fishing)
- Steve Gaynor (designer on 2K's Bioshock 2, co-founder The Fullbright Company behind IGF 2013 nominated Gone Home)
- Ricky Haggett (co-founder of Frobisher Says and Hohokum creators Honeyslug)
- Chelsea Howe (SuperBetter Labs and Zynga designer, creator of indie titles including The End Of Us)
- Robin Hunicke (lead designer on EA's Boom Blox, producer on thatgamecompany's Journey, co-founder of Funomena)
- Sarah Northway (creator of Rebuild series, developer on IGF 2013 nominated Incredipede)
- Gary Penn (2008 UK Games Media Legend award recipient, developed for such companies as Konami, DMA Design and co-founder of Denki)
- Andy Schatz (Pocket Watch Games founder, developer of IGF 2007 nominated Venture Africa, IGF 2010 Seumas McNally Grand Prize winner Monaco)
- Randy Smith (creative director of Tiger Style Games, developer of Waking Mars, IGF 2012 Excellence in Audio and Best Mobile Game Spider: The Secret Of Bryce Manor and the forthcoming Spider: Rite of the Shrouded Moon)
- Kim Swift (leader on Valve's Portal team, director for Airtight Games' Quantum Conundrum)
All entries in the 2014 Independent Games Festival are currently browsable at the IGF's official site, where you can also soon find more complete biographical information on all of this year's juries, as more are announced over the next few weeks.
Main Competition finalists will be announced -- along with a jury statement detailing the thought process behind selecting its lineup -- in January 2014, with the winner announced on the evening of March 19th at the live-streamed, multi-thousand person attended IGF Awards ceremony during GDC 2014 -- for which registration is now open.