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Umurangi Generation and Hades are officially ‘the best’ at the IGF and GDC 2021 awards

The Independent Games Festival awards and the Game Developers Conference awards were held last night in cyberspace. Like a Zoom meeting for the soul, the ceremony hopped between the winning game developers’ living rooms, with host Victoria Tran (community director on Among Us) stitching it all together with a remarkable combination of enthusiasm, sincerity, and silliness. She gets an IGF from me.

The big winner was Umurangi Generation by Origame Digital. The photography sci-fi game won the ‘Seumas McNally Grand Prize’ and the narrative prize at the IGF awards. Hades was also recognised as the game of the year at the GDC awards. The rest of the winners, and the whole darn ceremony, are below.

The lovely, detailed, and dark Genesis Noir by Feral Cat Den was another twin winner. It won both ‘Excellence in Audio’ and ‘Excellence in Visual Art’ awards. The less gentle Teardown from Tuxedo Labs was the winner of ‘Excellence in Design’, because people love sledgehammers.

Blaseball by The Game Band took home the ‘Nuovo Award’, which is awarded to the game that makes jurors ‘think differently about games as a medium’. Creepy space adventure game Vessels by Local Space Survey Corps was the ‘Best Student Game’. Finally, at least from the IGF, black-and-white puzzle adventure game Arrog was the winner of the ‘Audience Award’.

Alongside being touted as the game of the year, Hades also took the awards for ‘Best Audio’ and ‘Best Design’ at the GDC ceremony. Well done, Supergiant Games!

‘Best Debut’ was given to Kinetic Games’ spooktacular Phasmophobia, while Genshin Impact took the ‘Best Mobile Game’ for miHoYo. ‘Best Technology’ was won by Microsoft Flight Simulator. Asobo Studio somehow rendered the entire world, so that’s expected. Half-Life: Alyx by Valve won the ‘Best VR/AR Game’. If you skip to 57:50 in the video above, they managed to make their acceptance of the award remarkably creepy.

Things took a consoley turn in the ‘Innovation Award’, which went to Dreams by Media Molecule. Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us Part II was the winner of ‘Best Narrative’. Ghost of Tsushima by Sucker Punch won ‘Best Visual Art’ and the ‘Audience Award’, but most of all it wins the ‘Console Game Craig Most Wants on the PC Award’.

Newsgrounds’ Tom Fulp was awarded the ‘Pioneer Award’, presumably for the site and not for scaling a mountain or skinning a goat. Laralyn McWilliams, who was the lead developer of Full Spectrum Warrior and the creative director on Sony’s Free Realms, won the Lifetime Achievement Award.

What a lovely morning all the winners must be having now. Well done to those who won, and everyone who was nominated, and to everyone else, because we could all use an award right now.

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