Just last week, we got to find out the winners of the 2024 Independent Games Festival Awards, and there were plenty of Switch-related games nominated. Among the winners were Switch titles Mediterranea Inferno, Once Upon a Jester and Venba, and now the teams behind these games have shared some behind-the-scenes info on their creation.

First up, Designer Abhi spoke about the moment they came up with the idea for the Seamus McNally grand prize winning Venba:

“I remember it very vividly! It came from observing my mother fussing over food and had me thinking about the role food plays in South Asian cultures. Especially in immigrant families, I find food becomes the bridge between first generation immigrants and their assimilated children. I thought it would be interesting to explore this story through the lens of food.”

Creator Lorenzo Redaelli took home the award for excellence in narrative with Mediterranea Inferno, and they shared how the game was created to combat stereotypes and cultural myths in modern Italy:

**“I knew I wanted to write something about today’s Italy. My grandfather was born and raised in the Puglia region where I spent all my summer holidays with my family since I was little. But every year everything was getting worse, older, and more boring.

I started by considering the most common and widely accepted stereotype about Italy, which is the Italian summer. This stereotype has become a narrative genre that has been explored through various media forms by both Italians and foreigners. However, as a stereotype, it oversimplifies the complexity of the Italian experience and serves as a precedent or common starting point.”**

Last but not least, Once Upon a Jester took home the win for best student game, and creators Mark Lohmann and Kyon Edelenbosch detailed some ideas that didn’t make the final cut in the game.

“About the ideas that didn’t make the game: we had a whole show in the game where you would perform with a ventriloquist puppet called ‘Comedy Joe’ (he had his own theme song and everything). But something about that show didn’t quite click, so we scrapped it. Another idea that was outside of the theater shows was one where Sok would get abducted by a UFO, and then a whole synth musical song with the aliens would start. We had to scrap it because there was simply no time anymore…Maybe one day we’ll finally get to make that UFO scene…sigh”

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