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Sky Noon Becomes First Kiwi Game to be Nominated for SXSW Gaming Awards

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.

Described by the team as “a Western-themed first-person shooter with brawler mechanics”, Sky Noon players use all the tools at their disposal to keep their footing on The Floating Frontier.

The Gamer’s Voice awards celebrate excellence in indie gaming, and nominees are selected by the SXSW gaming staff, who play every single entry. The Gamer’s Voice Mulitplayer award, for which Sky Noon is nominated, is a heavily contested category, with 15 other games from around the world competing.

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 were 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,” he says.

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