Lunar Rooster is a team of four young independent NZ game developers who have successfully launched a new computer game Sky Noon with a US-based games publisher, after more than two years of development.
The team of four, ranging in age from 22–26 years, met while studying software engineering and creative technologies at Media Design School (MDS). Lunar Rooster was formed and started developing Sky Noon while part of the MDS selective accelerator program in 2016 – with the School providing tools and resources needed to develop a game for commercial release (e.g. office space, development software, access to industry mentorship and commercial advice).
Following strong success during the game’s prototype stages and its global launch on Friday, the young entrepreneurs plan to fulfil their dream of developing games full-time. The first Sky Noon prototype was demonstrated at the renowned SXSW Gaming Festival in Austin last year to a great reception and was a finalist for the Gamer’s Voice Multiplayer award. It went on to be named one of the Best Indie Games at gaming culture festival PAX East 2018, held in Boston in April.
Lunar Rooster is the first Kiwi game developer to sign with US-based veteran games publisher, Reverb Triple XP, which has launched some of the best-known titles in the world.
“Releasing our first game project into the commercial world has been a surreal and amazing experience, Our idea for the game was really simple – we wanted to make a first-person shooter that felt familiar, yet different. We’re pleased there are gamers that want this type of experience and we’re really happy with the feedback we’ve received since the game was launched on Friday” said Craig Taylor, lead developer at Lunar Rooster.
Media Design School Program Director, Himanshu Khanna (who is an experienced game developer/ producer having worked internationally on franchises such as FIFA, Ice Age and Monopoly) said the School’s selective accelerator program, where the Lunar Rooster team members started developing Sky Noon, aims to develop students’ entrepreneurial and commercial skills.
“By the end of the accelerator program, students can independently operate and run their own game studios. Although we provide them with the resources they need to develop their games, students fully retain their intellectual property, their business and game – we take no equity in it. The success of Lunar Rooster following Sky Noon’s early access release gives the team at MDS a real sense of pride – knowing that the Sky Noon adventure started here,” Himanshu explained.
About Sky Noon
The game takes place in a reinvented Wild West universe where the frontier floats among the clouds. Powerful cartels crave to control the most precious resource in the West: water. Players take the role of hired gunslingers that battle opposing fighters across floating islands in the sky. There are no health meters in Sky Noon; instead, to eliminate enemies, players use various super-power compressed air weapons to send them flying out of their boot spurs. Grappling hooks and lassos must constantly be used to prevent players from falling off into the great blue sky. Combined with other items like steam-powered jetpacks, jump pads, and teleporters, cowboys need to be quick on the draw and light on their boots in the fast-paced, aerial mayhem of Sky Noon.
It’s an exciting time for Lunar Rooster to be launching their first commercial game. The global games industry is bigger (by revenue) than the global music and box office industries combined*, and the future looks bright with specialist software engineering (game programming) and creative technologies (game art) often referred to as ‘careers of the future’ – as they can’t be superseded by technology.
About Lunar Rooster
Founded in 2016, Lunar Rooster is an independent team of game developers based in Auckland, with four members – Craig Taylor (Project Lead/Programmer), Chris Cullen (Programmer), Nathan Minifie (3D Artist/Animation) and Alex Hodgson (Technical Artist). The team met while studying game development at Media Design School, where they began developing their maiden title, Sky Noon. Lunar Rooster aims to make games that are as fun to watch as they are to play, as entertainment is best shared. They are striving to create the most robust and enjoyable game experiences possible.