The win was all the more significant because Untitled Goose triumphed over extremely polished and innovative games in its category, including Hideo Kojima’s groundbreaking PS4 game Death Stranding from AAA studios.
McMaster is the first to admit he is still somewhat surprised by his game’s success.
“Part of the appeal, I think, is that people were excited to play a game where you were allowed to menace people in a relatively mundane and harmless way,” he said.
“There are a lot of games that put physical conflict at their centre, but usually it’s quite high-stakes violence.
“I think the mundanity of the conflict of our game helped make it broadly quite approachable. And it turns out people have very strong feelings about geese!”
McMaster’s PhD supervisor and RMIT colleague, Dr Douglas Wilson, said it was extremely rare to see such a low-budget, independent game win the top award.
“It’s a testament to how successful this little video game has been,” he said.
“Most of the games they were up against are these giant productions with millions of dollars in their budgets, made by hundreds of people.
“I think this game has been so successful because it is accessible to a wide variety of people.
“People who don’t even think that they like video games can watch and really appreciate the humor, the design and the charm - it’s such a funny game to watch.
“This is going to go down as one of the most widely received Australian video games ever.”
Wilson, meanwhile, has recently experienced his own success with a prize for Excellence in Audio for his post-apocalyptic mutant soap opera Mutazione at the 2020 Independent Games Festival.
Mutazione also received the most nominations (four) for any game at the IGF, with nods for Visual Art, Audio, Narrative and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.