Now that media outlets have handed out awards to blockbuster games, it's time for the indies to shine. The Independent Games Festival has posted the finalists for its main competition's 2017 awards, and there are a few competitors who clearly stand out from the pack. Both the retro hack-and-slasher Hyper Light Drifter and bleak side-scroller Inside are nominated not only for the Seumas McNally grand prize, but also the audio and visual design awards. Other titles receiving multiple nods will definitely sound familiar if you've been following the scene, including the hacking-themed puzzler Quadrilateral Cowboy and the chaotic food hit Overcooked.
The list shares a lot in common with what we've seen from indie categories in other awards programs, although it's definitely not a carbon copy. You just have to look at the Game Developers Choice awards nominees, which were unveiled a few days ago by the same parent organization. They have a few picks in common, such as Hyper Light Drifter and Stardew Valley. However, you won't find Campo Santo's well-received Firewatch anywhere on the IGF list while it's virtually ubiquitous on the GDC shortlists.
This isn't to knock either organization, though, and the GDC's mix of big-name and indie finalists has a few intriguing choices. You'll see obvious picks like Dishonored 2, Overwatch and Uncharted 4, but some of the games haven't had much recognition elsewhere, such as Oxenfree (best debut and narrative) and Jonathan Blow's The Witness (best design and the innovation award).
You'll have to wait until the Game Developers Conference on March 1st to see who the winners are for both GDC and IGF. Whoever wins, it's evident that many 2016 indie games earned at least a brief moment in the sun.