Naked Sky Entertainment (NSE) is an award-winning, independent game development studio based in Los Angeles. Founded in 2002, NSE consists of a team of high caliber programmers, designers and artists. NSE is a licensed developer for all the major console and mobile platforms and its mission is to create games that are fun, innovative, and socially responsible.
Naked Sky Entertainment was founded in a tiny L.A. apartment by three close friends – Tian Mu, Joshua Glazer, and Sam Thibault – in 2002. Tian and Josh have known each other since high school, and Josh met Sam in college. The trio have always been passionate about games and technology and were ultimately pulled together by a compelling game concept that led to the founding of the company.
Why “Naked Sky?” Well, Tian wanted the word “sky” because as the saying goes, the sky’s the limit. However, every type of sky was taken – crystal sky, blue sky, electric sky, and even sky sky. As Tian was scrambling for an available adjective on a cloudless afternoon, an inspired Josh peeked out from behind his laptop and shouted “NAKED” before returning to his programming. The rest was history.
The Early Years
Even though we had no money, we were very fortunate to find others that shared our vision and passion. After an art team was assembled, Naked Sky became a traveling circus for the next few months since we couldn’t afford an office. We held design meetings in various locations throughout Los Angeles – a local Park, a neighborhood Starbucks, the Union Station, and finally ended up in the home studio of our lead artist at the time. That factory-converted studio became our home base for the next two years, while we worked on our early prototypes.
The Big Break
On Christmas Eve 2004, Tian received a message on his home phone that would change the fate of Naked Sky forever. It was a call from Intel asking if we could put together a physics-driven game demo that would showcase their to-be-announced dual-core processor at the 2005 Intel Developer Forum and Game Developers Conference. It was a golden opportunity, but at the same time it was also extremely risky due to the tight deadline. We took the chance and created from scratch, in eight weeks, a product we called RoboBlitz Tech Demo (aka. RoboHordes). It was an Unreal Engine 3-based, single-level game that featured entirely physics-driven game play. We pushed the physics to run at 200 frames per second and used up all the hardware threads on the processor. Intel began bundling the free demo with shipments of its dual-core processor worldwide in June of 2005.
The Little Robot that Could
Thanks to the Intel tech demo, Microsoft gave us the greenlight to become an Xbox 360 developer and approved our first project, RoboBlitz, for the Live Arcade. We decided this would not be the same game as the tech demo. To deliver a robust and engaging commercial product, we ripped out and re-implemented almost all the code, art, and design. It was a self-funded title (through private investment) that had a total development time of 11 months. It was the first Unreal Engine 3 game released on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade and the PC. With our RoboBlitz funding, we were finally able to end our nomadic work style and settled down with our first office in beautiful downtown L.A.
RoboBlitz became a critical success, receiving numerous accolades, including:
- Finalist for the 2007 Independent Games Festival Competition in the ‘Grand Prize’ and ‘Excellence In Visual Art’ categories
- Named “Best Digital Download” Game of the Year in the “2006 Year in Review” issue of Play magazine (February, p.69)
- Top 10 Recommended Games for Children and Teens in 2006 by MediaWise (also as featured on NBC News – Nov 29th, 2006)
- Because of RoboBlitz, Naked Sky Entertainment was nominated in the New Studio category for the 2007 Game Developers Choice Awards.
We currently have over a dozen passionate, capable, dedicated, and hard-working team members. Our main strengths lie in technology building, game design, and art production. For other areas such as localization, sound effects and music, we have working relationships with many specialists around the world. With more next-gen projects on the horizon, we plan for a steady growth in the coming years. Our mission is simple: we make games that are fun, innovative, and socially responsible. Please check back from time to time for updates.