The Australian Game Developer Awards (AGDA) kicked off on Tuesday, honoring several games that released in 2023. Indie visual novel Amarantus won big, taking home the Narrative Excellence award for this year.
The AGDA is an annual awards show to celebrate “the outstanding games and individual achievements of the Australian game development community.” The show includes 13 game award categories, four personal/studio awards, and one bespoke category. The show is taking place in person in Melbourne, Australia, but global fans can check the show out on the official Australian Game Developer Awards.
Amarantus is a gorgeous visual novel by ub4q that follows a young man whose life is destroyed when his parents are arrested for dissidence against the land’s lord. With his home burnt down and his parents taken away in chains, Arik turns to a wealthy friend for help, which eventually leads to a small group of young adults fleeing the town on a quest to reach their country’s capital. As they travel, we get to decide how Arik wants to handle this journey and dealing with the tyrannical lord. This decision can contrast drastically with how your companions feel, building tension and creating difficult conversations as you progress.
Multiple other LGBTQ+ games took home awards from this year’s AGDA, including Summerfall Studios’ Stray Gods, and Drydock Games’ Wyldeflowers.
All of the 2023 AGDA winners
- Excellence in art: The Master’s Pupil by Pat Naoum
- Excellence in gameplay: Moving Out 2 by SMG Studio, Team17
- Excellence in narrative: Amarantus by ub4q
- Excellence in sound design: Gubbins by Studio Folly
- Excellence in music: Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical by Summerfall Studios
- Excellence in technical design: Phantom Abyss by Team WIBY
- Excellence in accessibility: Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical by Summerfall Studios
- Excellence in emerging games: Partum Artifex by DalaKoala Games
- Excellence in impactful games: Earthlingo by Earthlingo
- Excellence in mobile games: My Little Pony: Mane Merge by Gameloft Brisbane
- Excellence in AR/VR games: Espire 2: Stealth Operatives by Digital Lode Immersive Media
- Excellence in ongoing games: Wylde Flowers by Studio Drydock
- Game of the year: Stray Gods: The Roleplaying Musical by Summerfall Studios