The jurying phase of the 2020 Independent Games Festival is poised to begin, and today organizers are excited to announce the lineup of industry experts who will be helping to judge some of the Festival's top awards!
Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of evaluators across the industry, the first phase of the IGF is now complete, and now these expert juries will meet to determine the finalists and winners of the prestigious IGF 2020 awards at the 2020 Game Developers Conference in March!
To celebrate the efforts of our outstanding jury members, who volunteer their time and talents to help judge these important honors, today we'd like to highlight some of the industry luminaries who have agreed to judge the Nuovo Award, the Excellence in Design Award, and the Excellence in Audio Award:
The Nuovo Award
This will be the tenth annual Nuovo Award, an honor intended to celebrate the more esoteric and artful games in the industry. The Nuovo jury for IGF 2020 will include the following members:
- Bennett Foddy: Bennett Foddy is the designer of past Nuovo award winner Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy, and is also known for QWOP, GIRP and Sportsfriends. He teaches game design at NYU and most recently contributed to the PC and Switch title Ape Out.
- Liz Ryerson: Liz Ryerson is a composer, critic, and occasional game designer and podcaster. Her artistic and curation work often explores the strange, ephemeral, and oft-ignored aspects of the digital culture. Notable works include her experimental game Problem Attic, the music for the IGF-nominated Dys4ia, and the music and sound for the cult game Crypt Worlds.
- Pietro Righi Riva: Game author, producer, curator, and academic. Co-founder and director of Santa Ragione, creators of FOTONICA, MirrorMoon EP (2013 IGF Nuovo Award Finalist), Wheels of Aurelia (2017 IGF Nuovo Award Honorable Mention), and the newly announced survival horror game SATURNALIA. In 2016 started a manifesto for nontraditional game design called rejecta. Program Coordinator of the IULM University master in game design in Milan. Director of the Milano Game festival. Check out his work at Act of Play.
- Eris Koleszar: Eris Koleszar is a developer at Funomena working in creative explorations of AR/VR. She is an award-winning musician and queer activist. Eris helped found and writes curriculum for Mystery Code Society, a non-profit focused on building coding literacy for marginalized genders.
- Chloi Rad: Chloi Rad is a writer whose work curating and reviewing indie games has appeared in numerous online publications since 2012, including Kill Screen, IndieGames.com, and IGN.
- Ichiro Lambe: Ichiro is Founder and President of Dejobaan Games, LLC, an independent Boston-area game development studio. A 26-year industry veteran, he also advises VC-backed gaming startups, universities, and other industry organizations. He is currently working on Steam Labs with Valve.
- Kevin Zuhn: Creative Director on Octodad and Octodad: Dadliest Catch.
The Excellence in Design Award
The Excellence in Design award celebrates the innovation and quality of the underlying blueprint of each entered game -- including component parts like its level design, mechanic design and difficulty balancing. It will be awarded by the following jury:
- Lisy Kane: Lisy Kane is the lead producer at indie games studio League of Geeks, previously working on IGF nominated title Armello. Currently she is the executive producer on LoG's unannounced new IP and continues to push the industry as co-founder of her startup Girl Geek Academy.
- Ben Wilson: Ben Wilson is a game designer at Sumo Digital, based in Nottingham, UK. He also works on solo, independent game projects that explore his experiences with dyspraxia.
- Liz England: Liz England is a lead designer at Ubisoft Toronto and specializes in systems design and narrative. In the past she's worked as a designer on games such as Scribblenauts and Sunset Overdrive.
- Luis Antonio: Luis has over a decade of experience in the video game industry. From Rockstar Games, as an artist, to Ubisoft as lead and eventually art director. Dissatisfied with the creative limitations of the triple-A industry, he joined Jonathan Blow to create the art for the award-winning The Witness. He currently runs his own studio, directing his first title, Twelve Minutes, an interactive thriller about a man trapped in a time loop.
- Richard Atlas: Richard is one of the co-founders of Clever Endeavour Games, and takes care of the business aspects of the company. He also helps out with design, management, marketing, art, and audio. Outside of games, he loves music composition, game and movie soundtracks, cycling, hockey, and anything with chocolate.
- Cindy Miller: Cindy is the Design Lead at Studio Mayday, working on an upcoming RPG adventure game. She has been a game designer for 10 years working on a wide range of games from We Are Chicago to Disney Infinity.
- Kevin Simmons: Kevin is a designer and producer at Asymmetric, where he has worked on several titles including the IGF Grand Prize-nominated West of Loathing. He is also an avid consumer and constructor of all kinds of puzzle games.
- Catt Small: Catt is a product designer and game maker who enjoys designing experiences at Etsy and helping people to become their best selves. You can follow her @cattsmall on Twitter and view her work at www.cattsmall.com.
The Excellence in Audio Award
The prestigious Excellence in Audio Award is intended to celebrate the best musical and sound innovation, quality, and impressiveness in independent gaming. The following jurors will decide who takes home the prize in 2020:
- Daniel Rosenfeld: Daniel Rosenfeld is a German musician, producer and sound engineer, best known as the composer and sound designer for the sandbox video game Minecraft. He has also written and produced the theme for Beyond Stranger Things.
- Shawn Pierre: Shawn Pierre is an independent developer creating digital, physical, and non-traditional games. He is also the Project Director of Philly Game Mechanics, a community group dedicated to supporting game development in the Philadelphia region. At the moment, he is really enjoying baking bread.
- Ali Cedroni: Ali Cedroni is a nomadic sound designer, who can generally be found freelancing somewhere between Los Angeles and Oslo. She has worked on a variety of projects in all facets of the entertainment industry, including games, film, and music.
- Anna Kipnis: Anna Kipnis is best known for her work at Double Fine Productions on Psychonauts, Brütal Legend, Costume Quest, Once Upon a Monster, The Cave, Dear Leader, Broken Age, and Headlander. She has also collaborated with indie studio Santa Ragione on Final Candidation and Wheels of Aurelia. She was the founding organizer of Molyjam (2012-2013) and has served in the IGF technical jury, the Global Game Jam theme committee, and as an adviser for UCSC’s MS Games & Playable Media program.
- Baiyon: Baiyon is a Japanese multimedia artist, sound producer, art director and DJ. He is currently creative director at Q-Games where he has led art and music direction for PixelJunk Eden, 4am, and most recently Eden Obscura. He has also contributed music for LittleBigPlanet 2, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, and many more titles. This year, Baiyon composed both sound design and score for Frogger in Toy Town.
- [email protected] Boch: [email protected] boch is an Associate Professor in game design at the NYU Game Center. [email protected] served for over a decade at Harmonix Music Systems as a creative director, designing and directing some of Harmonix’s premier titles. [email protected] is presently working as an independent game developer & sound designer, most recently crafting the ambitious music system & sound design of the game Ape Out.
- Jeremy Hall: Jeremy is an actor/voice director/teacher of all things Video Game Voice Over. Previously, he was the dialogue supervisor for Insomniac Games -- working on such titles as Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, Sunset Overdrive, Edge Of Nowhere and Marvel's Spider-Man. Jeremy teaches workshops throughout Los Angeles and is currently voice directing several games currently in development.
All entries in the 2020 Independent Games Festival are currently browseable at the IGF's official site. Competition finalists will be announced early next year, with the winners announced on the evening of March 18th at the IGF Awards ceremony during GDC 2020!
As in years past, the IGF Awards will be livestreamed alongside the Game Developers Choice Awards on the official GDC Twitch channel. Subscribe now to be notified when we go live, and watch last year's awards show for a taste of what's in store!