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Indie Week Day One: Excellence In Visual Art

[Welcome to Indie Week at gameinformer.com. We’ve got a full seven days of indie game coverage leading up to the 2011 Independent Games Festival Awards. Check back daily for coverage of the top independent games of the year.]

A unique art direction can set a game apart from the throng in a sea of contestants vying for the attention of judges. The nominees for Excellence in Visual Art all deserve accolades for their aesthetics, whether they employed painterly landscapes, pixel-inspired levels, or a canvas made of clay.

The jury that will choose the winner for Excellence in Visual Art is comprised of indie luminaries who are experts in said arena. The pool includes Craig Adams, known for his IGF recognized mobile Title Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Grand Duncan, a founding member of Hello Games (Joe Danger), Jakub Dvorsky, founder of Amanita Design (Machinarium) and Polytron's Phil Fish (Fez).

Also part of the panel is Kyle Gabler of 2D Boy (World of Goo), Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy), Paul Robertson, lead animator on Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game, Ben Ruiz of Flashbang Studios, Patrick Smith, the creator of Vectorpark, and Derek Yu, co-creator of Aquaria. The nominees are in capable hands.

A WORD FROM THE IGF JUDGES: "In the Visual Art category, jurists praised SuperGiant's adventure game Bastion's artwork for the way it gave the game 'a real childhood, fairytale atmosphere,' with a lushness that can often 'blast eyeballs with more detail than it can handle,' but 'rendered well enough that it doesn't obstruct the player,' concluding that it was 'an incredibly brave art style for a small team to pick.'

"The same was said for two more aesthetically retro-styled games: Gaijin's Bit.Trip Runner, for its 'cohesive and bold 3D art style from start to finish, a game that looks 'so retro yet so fresh at the same time,' and Nicalis's 2010 edition of indie classic Cave Story, which one jurist described playing for the first time and thinking 'This is more than perfect, this is the work of a details-oriented genius.'

"The claymation/stop-motion approach taken by Cockroach's The Dream Machine itself was noted as an 'underutilized' style in independent games, but was praised for being 'gimmick' free: said one jurist, 'somebody really had a vision for how this game should look.' And finally Honeyslug's Hohokum was praised for simply being 'exciting to look at' and for exhibiting 'a neat tension between the playful visuals and the apocalyptic tone of the game.'"

BASTION
Other Nominations: Excellence in Audio
Developer: Supergiant Games
Platform: TBA
Release Date: TBA
Price: TBA

A single glimpse at Bastion makes clear why Supergiant’s debut title has garnered so much attention for its striking visual style. The hand-painted, HD environments are stunning, and house a unique auditory adventure that earned its own IGF nomination.

Bastion puts you in the shoes of “The Kid” trying to find his way after an apocalyptic event known as The Calamity.  As The Kid, you must create a safe haven for a world that has been shattered into an ocean of floating islands. As you reunite these fragments of the world, you take on beasts, forge and upgrade weapons, learn new powers, and engage in other standard action/RPG play.

One of Bastion's unique selling points is the inclusion of an omniscient narrator whose gravelly voice keeps tabs on your adventure. This disembodied character provides context to your adventure and to the state of the world, as well as a dynamic play-by-play of your actions.

Supergiant Games – a studio founded by talent who previously worked on the Command & Conquer franchise – has to be quite pleased with the attention its flagship title is receiving. We’re excited to start piecing Bastion's beautiful world back together.

Check out Bastion in action below. 

 

Want to know more about Bastion? Check out our hands-on preview here.

[Next up: The stylish action of Bit.Trip Runner]

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