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The Independent Games Festival (IGF) was established in 1998 to encourage innovation in game development and to recognize the best independent game developers. Read more about the 2024 finalists here.

Each year, Joel painstakingly assembles our Road to the IGF series, which showcases the methods and philosophies of various IGF finalists through a series of in-depth interviews.

Danielle Riendeau, Editor-in-Chief

March 15, 2024

With GDC 2024 and the Independent Games Festival less than a week away, editor in chief Danielle Riendeau sits down with veteran indie beat journalist Joel Couture for episode 41 of the Game Developer Podcast. Each year, Joel painstakingly assembles our Road to the IGF series, which showcases the methods and philosophies of various IGF finalists through a series of in-depth interviews.

Music by Mike Meehan. Produced by Jordan Mallory.

In addition to the games that really stuck out this year – including (but not limited to) Kevin(1997-2077), goodbye.monster, Isles of Sea and Sky, Anthology of the Killer, Planetka and others—Joel also talks about his preparation process for producing a truly herculean amount of interviews in such a short amount of time.

Creating Tchia

“They're all nominated for a very good reason, and once I figure that reason out stuff kind of starts to unravel,” Joel tells Danielle. “Tchia… which takes place in New Caledonia, the devs really wanted to explore their homeland and show it off and show their culture off. The lead devs were from there, but the rest of the team wasn't, so what was it like to show off your home? What was it also like to introduce a team to your home and get them to embrace that culture and work with that culture?”

Elsewhere, Joel speaks to the responsibility he feels to conduct his interviews in an ethical manner, but also cautions developers to remember that they are ultimately in control of their own story.

“We can do a lot of damage to a life with some of the stuff we put out there,” he says. “Not everybody’s concerned about ‘do no harm’ and not everybody does harm on purpose. So just just take care with your story and if you want it out there, as best you can, because you're the best person to protect it.”

About the Author(s)

Danielle Riendeau

Editor-in-Chief, GameDeveloper.com

Danielle is the editor-in-chief of Game Developer, with previous editorial posts at Fanbyte, VICE, and Polygon. She’s also a lecturer in game design at the Berklee College of Music, and a hobbyist game developer in her spare time.

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