New Zealand games studio Lunar Rooster, formed as part of the third year Game Development programme at Media Design School, have become the very first New Zealand-based developers to be nominated for a Gamer’s Voice award at the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas.
The game, Sky Noon,was initially launched at the end of 2016 as Lunar Rooster’s final Game Development project and has been designed to change the way that players approach traditional FPS gameplay, emphasising speed and positioning in combat.
In Sky Noon, which is described by the team as “…a Western-themed first-person shooter with brawler mechanics,” players are required to use all the tools at their disposal to keep their footing on The Floating Frontier.
The nominees for theGamer’s Voice awards, which celebrates excellence in indie gaming, are selected by the SXSW Gaming Staff, who play every single entry. The Gamer’s Voice Multiplayer Award, for which Sky Noon is nominated, is a heavily contested category, with 15 other games from around the world having been nominated in this category.
Lunar Rooster was originally comprised of Bachelor of Creative Technologies (Game Art) students Alex Hodgson, Nathan Minifie, and Logan Currin as well as Bachelor of Software Engineering (Game Programming) students Chris Cullen, Craig Taylor and Henry Winder. Following the completion of their degrees, the game underwent intensive development as part of Media Design School Studios.
With Currin and Winder both leaving the project to take on full time roles at game development studios, the four remaining members of Lunar Rooster are delighted with the critical reception to their debut title. Craig Taylor, Sky Noon Project Lead and Programmer, says that being nominated for a Gamer’s Voice Award was a “huge surprise”. “We didn’t yet have a measure of Sky Noon’s popularity, so getting nominated left us feeling pretty ecstatic.”
Both Taylor and Chris Cullen will travel to SXSW to showcase their game at the SXSW Gaming Expo, which takes place from Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18 in Austin, Texas.
“We’re both keen to experience such a huge event like SXSW, which is far bigger than any other event we’ve been to. We’re looking forward to meeting a bunch of new people and to hopefully having people enjoy the game,” says Cullen.
SXSW Gaming occurs from Thursday, March 16 – Saturday, March 18 at the Austin Convention Center, Exhibit Hall 1 & 2, in Austin, Texas.