Indie game developers go head to head for $60,000 worth of prizes as the Independent Games Festival (IGF) today announces its finalists for 2012.
Celebrating creativity and ingenuity beyond means, the IGF features a broad range of games across platforms, from PC titles to the simple tablet tappers, all by independent developers.
Past finalists include the much-lauded Minecraft and what was easily the best horror game of last year (or one of the best, in general), Amnesia: The Dark Descent.
This year’s finalists include a blend experimentation, subversion and adaptation of typical games.
To The Moon is one of the games in the line-up that plays out more like a pixelated, graphic novel, telling a story through emotive dialogue and an atmospheric soundtrack.
On the other hand is Atom Zombie Smasher, which pulls the zombie survival genre into the board game-like and tablet-friendly world of a strategy game.
Frozen Synapse takes strategy to a whole new level with a tactics-based multiplayer experience akin to a shoot-’em-up version of chess.
The IGF has become a springboard for many fledgling developers and studios, earning their games a spot on digital distribution sites like Steam on their newfound successes, like last year’s Bit.Trip Runner.
Microsoft is sponsoring this year’s IGF XBLA Award, with the prize being a publishing deal on the Xbox Live Arcade.
While IGF is now in its 14th year, Australia’s own independent games festival, Freeplay, has been around since 2004 and last year brought many of the award-winning titles from the 2011 IGF to Australians in Victoria.
“We’re following the awards with great interest – and certainly we’d love to bring out some of the winners and games – but right now it’s too early for us to make any announcements,” said Freeplay director Paul Callaghan.
“We’re in the process of finalizing our announcements with Freeplay 2012’s dates and themes and once we’re done there, we’ll be straight into programming proper.”
The IGF will start on March 5 in San Francisco, running up until March 9.