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Backstage with the winners of the IGF and GDC Awards

Gaming's big night honored 'Her Story,' 'Ori and the Blind Forest' and the Girls Make Games initiative.

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The Independent Games Festival and Game Developers Choice Awards are the highlight of GDC week. They both honor the best games of the past year in two glamorous, back-to-back ceremonies in downtown San Francisco. This time around, Her Story took home the IGF's $30,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize, and The Witcher 3 nabbed the coveted Game of the Year prize during the GDC Awards.

Other winners across a range of categories include Undertale, Ori and the Blind Forest, Rocket League and Life is Strange. Nine members of the Girls Make Games program, which offers summer camps designed to encourage young women to break into game creation, walked away with the ID@Xbox Rising Star award for their project, The Hole Story.

We spoke with some of the big winners on-camera directly after they received their awards, and they had plenty to say (and celebrate).

A lineup of independent developers right after their big wins (plus, IGF host Nathan Vella):

Indie Devs on the State of Indie Games

Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story:

Sam Barlow of "Her Story" at GDC 2016

2016 IGF winners:

  • Excellence in Narrative ($3,000) - Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Excellence in Audio ($3,000) - Mini Metro (Dinosaur Polo Club)
  • Excellence in Design ($3,000) - Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate Games)
  • Excellence in Visual Art ($3,000) - Oxenfree (Night School Studio)
  • ID@Xbox Rising Star Award - Girls Make Games, The Hole Story
  • Nuovo Award ($5,000) - Cibele (Star Maid Games)
  • Best Student Game ($3,000) - Beglitched (Jennifer Jiao Hsia and Alec Thomson)
  • Audience Award ($3,000) - Undertale (Toby Fox)
  • Seumas McNally Grand Prize ($30,000) - Her Story (Sam Barlow)

2016 GDCA winners:

  • Best Debut - Moon Studios (Ori and the Blind Forest)
  • Best Audio - Crypt of the NecroDancer (Brace Yourself Games)
  • Innovation Award - Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Best Technology - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED)
  • Best Visual Art - Ori and the Blind Forest (Moon Studios)
  • Best Narrative - Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Best Design - Rocket League (Psyonix)
  • Best Handheld/Mobile Game - Her Story (Sam Barlow)
  • Audience Award - Life is Strange (DONTNOD Entertainment)
  • Game of the Year - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (CD Projekt RED)
  • Pioneer Award - Markus "Notch" Persson
  • Ambassador Award - Tracy Fullerton
  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Todd Howard
Jessica is a professional nerd, specializing in independent gaming, eSports and Harry Potter. She's written for online outlets since 2008, with four years as Senior Reporter at Joystiq. She's also a sci-fi novelist with a completed manuscript floating through the mysterious ether of potential publishers. Jessica graduated from ASU's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in 2011 with a bachelor's in journalism.
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