[From the industry] Submissions for the 23rd iteration of the Independent Games Festival are now open

This is a press release directly from the industry, selected by our editorial team for its importance, that we are reposting in addition to our usual coverage.

Informa Tech, the organizers of the
Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2021, are now accepting submissions for the 23rd annual iteration of the Independent Games Festival (IGF), the longest running festival, summit and showcase celebrating independent games and their creators.

The IGF is part of the Game Developers Conference 2021, which will take place as a hybrid physical and online event from July 19th through July 23rd at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center and virtually. Entries for all of the IGF categories will be accepted now through February 1, 2021, with finalists announced in early May 2021.

Developers submitting games should know that the IGF is working to ensure a safe and accessible awards ceremony for GDC 2021. Nominees will have the opportunity to accept awards in-person or submit a remote acceptance speech.

Finalists will be selected by hundreds of industry peers across game development & media, with specially selected juries picking the winners of each award.

The IGF will nominate standout titles for Excellence in Visual Art, Excellence in Audio, Excellence in Design, Excellence in Narrative and Best Student Game, with six finalists each. The special Nuovo Award, which honors the title that ‘makes the jurors think differently about games as a medium,’ will have eight finalists. The IGF Audience Award will be decided by a public web-based poll that features all the competition finalists. Finally, six finalists will be selected to compete for the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

The Independent Games Festival has served as a springboard for games that have gone on to become critical and cultural hits. Previous IGF prize winners from the past 20 years include A Short Hike, Return of the Obra Dinn, Quadrilateral Cowboy, Night in the Woods, Her Story, Papers, Please, Spelunky, Braid, Castle Crashers and many more of the game industry’s breakthrough independent titles.

Submissions to the competition are now open to all independent game developers. Important dates for IGF 2021 are as follows:


  •     December 7, 2020 – Submissions are Open


  •     February 1, 2021 – Submission Deadline


  •     Early May, 2021 – IGF Finalists Announced


  •     July 19 – July 23, 2021 – Game Developers Conference 2021


  •     July 19 – July 20, 2021 – Independent Games Summit @ GDC 2021


  •     July 21 – July 23, 2021 – IGF Pavilion @ GDC 2021


  •     July 21, 2021 – IGF Awards Ceremony (Winners announced)


Independent Games Festival organizers would like to encourage submissions from those making interesting or experimental works who, because of the entry fee, might otherwise not enter the contest.

Those creators interested in applying for a waiver on the full ($75) entry fee can find additional details and the waiver application form on the submissions page. Applications are due by Jan 11th, 2021. If selected, entrants will be invited to submit to the IGF 2021 without paying the entry fee.

For more information on the 2021 Independent Games Festival, including submission specifics and frequently asked questions, please visit the official Independent Games Festival website. IGF entries can be submitted here.

For more information on GDC 2021 in general visit the show’s official website, or subscribe to regular updates via Facebook, Twitter, or RSS.

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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