Every year, The Game Awards announces its nominees about a month in advance, and even though the year is nowhere near over yet, we’ll still get told every game that’s eligible to be voted for until the presentation starts on December 7th.
This year, we are also giving you a chance to vote for your fave Indie Games in Indie Game Culture’s Indie Game Awards for 2023!
Unfortunately, there’s not a single indie for the Game of the Year award, but the rest of the categories are contentious.
You can review all the nominations and vote for them yourself by heading to the Game Awards’ website. However, that vote will probably barely matter anyway since the jury of journalists the Game Awards employs makes up about 90% of the vote.
Nonetheless, let’s go over every indie winner getting to share the spotlight at the Game Awards 2023.
The Game Awards 2023 – All The Indies
Best Art Direction
The first category with indies up for voting is Best Art Direction, with both Hi-Fi Rush and Lies of P in contention for the vote with Mario Wonder, Tears of the Kingdom, and Alan Wake 2.
Personally, I’m going for Hi-Fi Rush’s excellent comic-book art style that always syncs to the beat, but Lies of P ain’t a bad option either.
Best Score and Music
For Best Score and Music, we once again have Hi-Fi Rush, and given it’s a rhythm game, it expectedly has a great soundtrack. It’s up against some stiff competition, but I think Risk of Rain Returns, Pizza Tower, and Laika: Aged Through Blood just got snubbed here.
Then again, they did the same to Sonic Frontiers last year, so maybe this category is just bogus.
Best Audio Design
Once again, Hi-Fi Rush gets nominated for Best Audio Design, along with Alan Wake 2, Dead Space, Spider-Man 2, and Resident Evil 4.
I’m starting to notice a pattern here, but it’s cool to see Hi-Fi Rush getting so much acknowledgment for its excellent auditory experience.
Innovation in Accessibility
This time, Hi-Fi Rush got nominated for Innovation in Accessibility, up against Diablo IV, Forza Motorsport, Spider-Man 2, Mortal Kombat 1, and Street Fighter 6.
I don’t particularly get this one, as I mainly remember Hi-Fi Rush having the same accessibility options that Crypt of the Necrodancer had, but whatever.
Games for Impact
Now, slowly getting to the more indie-centric categories, we get Games For Impact, which is entirely indie. It’s a competition with A Space For the Unbound, Chants of Sennaar, Goodbye Volcano High, Tchia, Terra Nil, and Venba.
I have no stake in this one as I haven’t played any of these; I think it’s cool that Indies are winning this category over Triple A’s.
Best Community Support
A big surprise: among games like Baldur’s Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077, Destiny 2, and Final Fantasy XIV, we still see No Man’s Sky grabbing the Best Community Support nomination, as it’s done for the last few years.
It’s been cleaning up and adding a ton of content, and while that’s cool, I still would love to see Terraria get nominated for this one day.
Best Independent Game
Now for the big one that matters, at least in my eyes. For best indie, we have a competition between Cocoon, Dave the Diver, Dredge, Sea of Stars, and Viewfinder.
My personal choice is Cocoon since it’s one of the most ingenious puzzle games I’ve ever played, but I definitely wouldn’t mind any of these games taking the category.
Best Debut Indie Game
Now, for Debut Indie Games, made by a brand new studio, we have the return of Cocoon, Dredge, Venba, and Viewfinder, with the addition of Pizza Tower.
Though I love Cocoon, it being here feels kinda like cheating since a well-established publisher and designer made it, so Pizza Tower gets my vote for being done entirely by two people.
Best Action Game
Up for grabs in Best Action Game, we see the return of not only Hi-Fi Rush but also the appearance of Ghostrunner 2 as well, alongside Dead Island 2, Armored Core VI, and Remnant 2.
I doubt Armored Core won’t win this, but Ghostrunner and Hi-Fi Rush are incredibly cool games, so I’d love to see either win.
Up for Best RPG is Sea of Stars and Lies of P, alongside the big triple-a’s, Final Fantasy XVI, Baldur’s Gate 3, and Starfield.
The contrast between Sea of Stars, a more traditional SNES-inspired RPG, and Lies of P, the very Soulsborne-inspired hack and slash, is quite funny, but I don’t have much to say on this category other than Cassette Beasts got snubbed.
Up next in the Sim/Strategy category that is, for some reason, lumped together like this, we have Cities Skylines 2, up against Advance Wars 1+2 Re-Boot Camp, Company of Heroes 3, Fire Emblem Engage, and Pikmin 4.
While it would be fantastic for Cities Skylines 2 to grab an award despite its issues, Nintendo did manage to output three good strategy games this year, so tough luck, buddy.
Most Anticipated Game
And lastly, for the most anticipated game, we have the most wishlisted game on Steam, Hades II, alongside Final Fantasy VII Rebirth, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, Star Wars Outlaws, and Tekken 8.
I feel like they actively avoid putting Hollow Knight Silksong on these because we’ve gone a year and a half without info, and it’d win every time, but Hades II is also pretty popular, so I digress.
The big winner in nominations is Hi-Fi Rush, scoring five nominations across a few different categories. After that, we have Lies of P, Venba, Cocoon, Dredge, Sea of Stars, and Viewfinder, tied at two nominations each.
I wish there were more indie representation this year since this feels pretty light, especially compared to 2018, when Celeste got nominated for game of the year.
Nonetheless, big congratulations to all these smaller studios getting big nominations, and I’ll certainly be excited to see how these categories unfold come December 7th.
If you want to hear more about these soon-to-be award-winning indies, stick around at IndieGameCulture for more!
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