Games selected as finalists will available in playable form on the GDC show floor and will compete for nearly $50,000 in prizes, including awards for Innovation, Excellence in Design, and the coveted $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize. Winners will be announced on stage at the prestigious Independent Games Festival Awards on Wednesday, March 25, 2009, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. The Independent Games Festival Awards are held alongside the Game Developers Choice Awards and both award shows are part of the 2009 Game Developers Conference.
Over the past few years, the Independent Games Festival has helped guide the rise of the indie game scene by honoring and popularizing the best and brightest independent developers and their games. Former IGF winners include Everyday Shooter, Audiosurf, and World of Goo.
Notable evolutions to this year's festival include:
- A new award for innovation. In addition to the $20,000 Seumas McNally Grand Prize and the awards for audio, art direction, design and technology, the IGF is presenting a new Innovation Award in the Main Competition. This new award will honor abstract, short form, and unconventional game experiences outside the realm of the traditional categories.
- A number of new IGF judges. This year's judges will include Spore designer Chaim Gingold, World Of Goo co-creator Kyle Gabler, The Sims Studio head Rod Humble, Civilization IV co-creator Soren Johnson, Rock Paper Shotgun co-founder Jim Rossignol, and Crayon Physics author Petri Purho.
Returning IGF judges include independent game creators Jon Blow (Braid), Raigan Burns (N+), and Derek Yu (Aquaria), game industry veterans Brian Reynolds (Big Huge Games), Chris Rausch (SuperVillain Studios), and Chris Charla (Foundation9), and journalists N'Gai Croal (Newsweek), Chris Kohler (Wired News), and Stephen Totilo (MTV News). The full list of judges will be announced in the near future.
"We're delighted to welcome a new cadre of judges, alongside categories that encourage even greater experimentalism and innovation, to our industry-leading indie game competition," said Simon Carless, Chairman of the IGF. "We're very much looking forward to seeing what you crazy independent developers come up with this time round."
Submissions to the competition are now open to all independent game developers; important dates for IGF 2009 are as follows:
- July 1st, 2008 Submissions are Open
- November 1st, 2008 Submission Deadline, Main Competition
- November 15th, 2008 Submission Deadline, Student Competition
- January 5th, 2009 Finalists Announced, Main Competition
- January 19th, 2009 Finalists Announced, Student Competition
- March 23rd-27th, 2009 Game Developer's Conference 2009
- March 25th-27th, 2009 IGF Pavilion @ GDC
- March 25th, 2009 2009 IGF Awards Ceremony