2021 Australian Game Developer Awards finalists announced

Australian video game development peak industry body, the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (IGEA), today announced the finalists for the 2021 Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDAs). The AGDAs honour the incredible skill, talent, and creativity of game developers in Australia across 15 categories. This year’s AGDAs will be held online on 6 October at 7 PM AEDT on IGEA’s Twitch channel as part of this year’s Melbourne International Games Week (MIGW), with discussions on social media using the #AGDAs21 hashtag.

Notable mentions include Brisbane-based Witch Beam’s zen puzzle game Unpacking, which is nominated for four awards including Excellence in Art, Excellence in Gameplay, Excellence in Accessibility, and Game of the Year. The Artful Escape by Melbourne studio Beethoven & Dinosaur is in the running for three awards: Excellence in Art, Excellence in Audio, and Game of the Year. A full list of finalists for each category can be found on the GCAP website and in the appendix below.

Each year the AGDAs present a new Award linked to the Games Connect Asia Pacific (GCAP) theme. This year’s GCAP-themed Award is the Raising the Bar Award, which recognises an individual in the Australian industry who has set the standard on industry performance, excelled in their work within the industry, and ‘raised the bar’ within their community, culture, and team to ensure success personally and professionally.

Australian developers have a long history of making award-winning games, and it's wonderful to see so many new studios, developers, and individuals making their mark locally. The industry has expanded and proven to be adaptable and flexible during the pandemic. There is a lot of confidence around our sector thanks to the Federal Government announcing the introduction of the Digital Games Tax Offset in 2022 which will ensure a complete thriving and creative game development ecosystem and community.
said IGEA CEO Ron Curry.

IGEA assembled a judging panel of over 50 industry professionals to determine finalists and winners in each category out of 59 award entries, another record-breaking year of entrants.

This year’s AGDAs will have returning hosts, sisters Amanda and Angharad Yeo. Amanda Yeo, a writer at Mashable, said, “Rad and I are thrilled to be back hosting this year’s awards! The AGDAs are an annual highlight for the local games industry, and we’re excited to celebrate the hardworking developers creating some of Australia’s best video games.”

Angharad Yeo, award-winning television presenter, video game critic, and tech commentator said, “The AGDAs are not at all unlike the Met Gala - except everyone is much more beautiful and we're also celebrating the talent of Australia’s myriad of passionate and hard-working games developers. Australia consistently produces high-quality games bursting with warmth, humour, and heart - aided by the wonderful support from IGEA. We're looking forward to an exciting evening full of laughs and festivity!”

And to the finalists:

Core awards

Excellence in Art
The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
art of rally (Funselektor)
Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Excellence in Gameplay
Unpacking (Witch Beam)
Ring of Pain (Twice Different)
Webbed (Sbug Games)

Excellence in Narrative
TOPOGRAPHY (Cecile Richard)
The Forgotten City (Modern Storyteller)
Choices That Matter: And The Sun Went Out (Tin Man Games, Screwtape Studios)

Excellence in Audio
Webbed (Sbug Games)
TRIOS (Samurai Punk)
The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)

Game of the Year
Webbed (Sbug Games)
The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur)
Unpacking (Witch Beam)

Specialty awards

Excellence in Accessibility
Submerged: Hidden Depths (Uppercut Games)
Unpacking (Witch Beam)
Eastern Market Murder (True Crime Games)

Excellence in Mobile Games
The Oregon Trail (Gameloft Brisbane)
Eastern Market Murder (True Crime Games)
Botworld Adventure (Featherweight Games)

Excellence in Serious Games (Applied/Impactful)
Sharmila (World Food Programme and Chaos Theory Games)
Streets of My Town (Institute of Games)
TRIOS (Samurai Punk)

Bespoke awards

Excellence in Ongoing Games (Games as a Service)
Pico Tanks (Panda Arcade)
Crossy Road Castle (Hipster Whale)
The Sims FreePlay (The Firemonkeys)

Excellence in Emerging Games (Student or Early Career)
Pebble Witch (Fuzzy Ghost)
Project Wingman (Sector D2)
Video World (Things for Humans)

Winners of the Adam Lancman, Rising Star, Studio of the Year, and the Raising the Bar Awards will be announced on the night.

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