With the Best Indie award we celebrate some of the most creative and forward-thinking talent around, embracing new mechanics, while revitalising the old. These are games developed with a fraction of the budget of the AAA monsters, but are no less enjoyable for it. The indie devs behind them craft personable, unique games that showcase some of the greatest underground talent in the world today. Indie devs often work their magic under considerable pressure, sometimes holding down full-time jobs while ploughing any of their precious time into their own projects. The best of those projects are given pride of place in our Best Indie Award category.
Sequels are all well and good but there really is nothing that gets the pulse racing faster than the thought of something entirely new. In the age of sequels these are becoming an increasingly rare treat, but here we celebrate some of the best original games keeping things fresh. While these don’t have to be from new franchises they are all entirely new series, doing something radically different from what’s gone before.
Every year the benchmarks for gaming get pushed further and the big hitters in the industry are now at the stage where they have to create entire worlds for a player to roam around in at their own pace. The Best Open World Award nominees are those titles that set those benchmarks. Developers build breathing worlds for the gamer to skip merrily through, but it is only the best that allow the gamer to bounce along with a rocket launcher in hand and a complete world of possibilities resting on their trigger finger. Mastering this field means keeping the player entertained whenever they want, without railroading them into a story arch they cannot escape, while simultaneously providing them with entertaining, relevant options whenever they so wish. No easy feat, but the year’s nominees manage to walk that ground comfortably.
Game soundtracks are often cruelly overlooked, but a title’s music and composition can often be the things that really makes or breaks a game’s atmosphere and tone. 2019 has been a pretty standout year when it comes to fabulous musical scores, especially in smaller games. However, a number of them really stood out to us, and difficult as it was to narrow down to just four, here are the games whose music really transported us to another world.
This award is looking at games and hardware in our industry that break the ways of old apart and bring us an innovative change to what we're used to. Not content to follow the reliable formula, sometimes something can really shine through because it tries something different. It might not be perfect this time around, but this award heralds the attempts as much as the successes. Without innovation the industry would become boring fast and we must pat on the back all of those who try.