Phil Fish, the Canadian developer who has dedicated five years of his working life to finish the indie game Fez, has been awarded the Seumas McNally Grand Prize at this year’s IGF Awards.
Punctuating a week dominated by controversy and a tidal wave of insults on Twitter, Fish received the top honour for his indefatigable determination to finish his Xbox Live Arcade Game.
Since Fez took the Excellence in Visual Art award at the 2008 Independent Games Festival, Fish has dedicated his working life to completing the 2D-versus-3D platformer.
As documented by the new feature film Indie Game The Movie, Fez’s protracted production has been derailed by both Fish’s personal problems as well as a legal dispute with a former development partner.
The game is due for release in a matter of weeks.
Throughout GDC the Polytron director has been the subject of criticism for deriding modern Japanese games by publicly telling a Japan-born developer that his nation’s games “just suck”.
But the perfectionist game designer leaves San Francisco with a rare and highly coveted award recognising his energy, belief and resolve.
"Thank you so much," Fish said on stage, as quoted by Gamasutra.
"This means the world to me. Five fucking years. I don’t know what to say. Thank you."
The full list of IGF Award winners can be found below:
Best Student Game:
Way (Carnegie Mellon University, Entertainment Technology Center)
Antichamber (Alexander Bruce)
Excellence in Design:
Best Mobile Game:
Beat Sneak Bandit (Simogo)
Excellence in Visual Art:
Dear Esther (thechineseroom)
Excellence in Audio:
Botanicula (Amanita Design)
Frozen Synapse (Mode 7 Games)
Microsoft XBLA Award
Super T.I.M.E. Force (Capy)
Storyteller (Daniel Benmergui)
Seumas McNally Grand Prize