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IGF 2013 adds 'Excellence in Narrative' category

The Independent Games Festival's 2013 iteration is adding a $3,000 'Excellence In Narrative' award, following much feedback from the community that story and narrative in games needs to be better honored.

November 19, 2012

3 Min Read

[Independent Games Festival chairman Brandon Boyer has interrupted this year's Festival for a brief but important announcement, made on the official IGF blog, but reprinted here.] Hello everybody, and welcome to a special IGF 2013 mid-stream announcement that, after much careful consideration and discussion, we decided was a necessity: We're adding a new category to this year's festival, Excellence in Narrative. This may not come as too much of a shock, because it's something that judges, entrants, and the general public have been asking for for quite some time now. Our initial decision to not add the category was not one we took lightly. It was the subject of many rounds of internal discussion on both the necessity and logistics of adding a category devoted to recognizing narrative innovation, especially as we were making strides to remove categories and pare the festival down to a few core essentials. But as judging kicked off in early October, it was clear that there was something special about this year's lineup of games in particular that made the absence of a Narrative category especially conspicuous. And so, because so many of our judges have said there are so many games in this year's festival that they specifically want to recognize for their world and their story, we are giving them an avenue to do so. We'll be defining this new Excellence in Narrative category in much the same way our sister festival, the Game Developers Choice Awards, does: it's a category to recognize "innovation, quality, and impressiveness of storytelling in a game, including, but not limited to, scenario, plot construction, story, dialogue, and other major factors." This doesn't mean that games eligible for the award are required to be particularly text-heavy. If anything, indies have proven extremely adept at telling stories and constructing compelling worlds in unique and surprising ways. We're confident our community of judges and jurists will do a fantastic job of laying down their own guidelines and parameters for what the award will come to mean this year and for all years to follow. (Judges are able to go into our system and shift their existing recommendations to reflect this change, so any games that have already been looked at will not lose out. And we are adding $3,000 to the prize pot so the 'Excellence In Narrative' award gets the same recompense as all the others.) With all of that said, it's also important to note that this does mean one more change to how the IGF operates this year: We'll be returning to our previous standard of five finalists per category. This year's striking of the Mobile category left us with enough space to add one additional finalist to our Technical Excellence, Audio, Visual Art, Design categories, as well as the Seumas McNally Grand Prize, but adding this new Narrative category will mean that we'll be returning to the traditional five finalists per, along with honorable mentions, and the standard eight for Nuovo and Student Showcase. We hope you'll understand and appreciate the changes we've made, and will continue to make in coming years, as the both the landscape of independent development and the festival itself grows and evolves. If you have any questions or concerns about any of the above, don't hesitate to drop me a line at [email protected]. Once again, many thanks to all of our judges who have taken the time and effort beyond their standard duties to provide feedback and make this festival even better! [The Independent Games Festival finalists will be announced in January, and winners revealed at Game Developers Conference 2013 - part of UBM Tech, as is this website - next March in San Francisco.]

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