The 2011 Grimmys: Indie Developer of the Year

The Grimmys

While we still love the high end gameplay of AAA developers, their idea pool has gotten a bit stagnant as of late. Fortunately for gamers everywhere, the little guys have come in force to produce games based on outside the box ideas that may just become genre standards in the near future.

The Nominees

Min Max Games (Space Pirates and Zombies) – MinMax Games may be the underdog in this category, which is probably appropriate for a 2 man team. Space Pirates and Zombies (SPAZ) made a splash this past year and offered an experience that was far more unique than one may expect from a title featuring both pirates and zombies. The unexpected yet incredible scope of SPAZ coupled with the developers’ enthusiasm for making games that “they would want to play” makes them a studio to pay attention to in the coming years. In addition to their expertise in game creation, they’ll also really friendly guys.

Mojang (Minecraft) – Despite how you feel about Minecraft, it’d be tough to ignore the accomplishments of Mojang. While the official release of Minecraft was huge, Mojang also released a new game in Cobalt (alpha), got sued by Bethesda, and threw a huge party that was chock full of chaos and controversy. Release your sex tape Notch, it’s time to make this official.

Grimmy Winner
Supergiant Games (Bastion) – Bastion came out of nowhere and stunned gamers with an intriguing art style, solid mechanics and a feature that no other game had ever attempted in its smooth voiced narrator. To say Supergiant Games thinks outside the box is an understatement. Despite how much I disdain the VGAs, it was nice to see the studio take home Best Downloadable Game, Best Score and Best Song, perhaps demonstrating that Spike TV may have a demographic outside dudebros.

Trendy Entertainment (Dungeon Defenders) – Trendy Entertainment released Dungeon Defenders amidst a ton of competition this past fall and still managed to get a very solid player base for their co-op action tower defense. While the concept makes for a very fun game, the consistent updates and DLC for the game show that Trendy understands how to keep fans happy. While the staying power of DD is evident, it will be interesting to see what over genre Trendy can apply their co-op prowess too.

Re-Logic (Terraria) – Terraria had little in the form of advertisement before its release other than a Twitter mention by Minecraft creator Notch. Despite that, it has blown up, selling over one million copies and continually growing its fan base with constant updates and incredible interaction from the Re-Logic developers. While comparisons to Minecraft are tough to avoid, Re-Logic understands they have a solid product and have to tools to eventually step out of their predecessor’s shadow.

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