Night School Studio

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Night School Studio, LLC
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryVideo games
FoundedJune 6, 2014; 10 years ago (2014-06-06)
Founder
  • Sean Krankel
  • Adam Hines
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Products
ParentNetflix (2021–present)
Websitenightschoolstudio.com

Night School Studio, LLC is an American video game developer and publisher founded on June 6, 2014 by Sean Krankel and Adam Hines, and is based in Glendale, California.

After the founding of the company, the team started development on their debut, Oxenfree. After setting up a casting call on Backstage, the team moved to the development of the game. The first footage of the game was released on May 18, 2015, and the release was set for January 2016. Soon after, the game received positive reviews and a film adaptation is in plans with Skybound Entertainment.

Along with Telltale Games, Night School Studio also co-developed the "Text Adventure" mode for Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n (called Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.ipa on iOS and Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n.apk on Android). Night School Studio was acquired by Netflix in September 2021 as part of the streaming service's venture into video games.

History[edit]

Night School Studio was founded on October 1, 2014 by Sean Krankel and his cousin Adam Hines, both respectively former Telltale Games and Disney Interactive Studios developers.[1] After setting up the company, the team then decided to develop a new game. Soon after, a casting call was issued by the company on Backstage which then expired on November 21, 2014.[2]

On March 1, 2015, the team posted a video titled "OXENFREE Official Trailer #1" onto their YouTube account.[3] The group then announced Oxenfree on March 5, in which the plot revolved around a group of teenagers exploring a decommissioned island surrounded by ghosts.[4] The studio, according to Krankel, had a very tight budget and could only make a single game.[5] Gameplay footage was then released on 18 May.[6] On October 23, the second teaser was released, as well as the game's release slated for January 2016.[7][8] On October 27, in an interview with Koalition, when asked about the talking mechanic, Krankel said:

If talking is the core mechanic of the game, how can we streamline the talking process? First, we can stop taking player control away and forcing the player into a cut scene. Next, we can put the dialogue choices as close to the player character as possible, so their dialogue choices really feel like an extension of their avatar. Those two design goals really drove a lot of our creative choices; everything from camera placement to the art direction to the pacing of the game.[9]

On January 14, 2016, the launch trailer was released.[10] A day after, the game was released for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Xbox One. Within the same day, Skybound Entertainment announced a partnership with Night School Studio, in which a web series entitled The Story of Oxenfree was then released, detailing development on the game,[11] as well a film adaptation and merchandise.[12] On April 27 the company then announced that PlayStation 4 version would be released, with an extended mode called Game+,[13] and was included in all versions after release.[14] It was then released on 31 May, with a Linux version released on June 1. The game received positive reviews from critics, and was selected for Indiecade, which will be hosted from October 14–16 in San Francisco.[15]

During August 2016, Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n, a mobile game based on the television series Mr. Robot, was developed by Night School Studio,[16] the company's mobile debut, and published by Telltale. Following release, a "Text" mode, being co-developed by Telltale,[17] was also included within the game as well.

Around this time, Telltale had acquired the rights to make a game based on the television show Stranger Things. While Telltale was planning its own adventure game, they contacted Night School to develop a companion game, a first-person narrative title that would serve as a lead-in to their game. Night School brought in four more staff to help with this game. However, over the course of 2017 and 2018, Telltale had several internal issues, leading to difficulties in communication between the Telltale and Night School teams, and failure of Telltale to pay for completed milestones. In October 2018, Telltale announced its surprise closure, leaving Night School's game in limbo. According to a source speaking to The Verge, Night School would have also suffered financial hardships if they had not been concurrently working on Afterparty as well.[18]

Night School Studio was acquired by Netflix in September 2021, as part of Netflix's venture into video game offerings. The acquisition did not affect the studio's work on Oxenfree II.[19]

Games developed[edit]

Year Title Genre(s) Platform(s)
2016 Oxenfree Graphic adventure Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
Mr. Robot:1.51exfiltrati0n Adventure iOS, Android
2019 Afterparty Graphic adventure Microsoft Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
2020 Next Stop Nowhere Adventure iOS, macOS
2023 Oxenfree II: Lost Signals Graphic adventure Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martens, Todd (January 4, 2016). "Why 'Oxenfree' may just be the first must-play game of 2016". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via tronc.
  2. ^ "'Oxenfree' Casting Call". Backstage. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  3. ^ Robinson, Nick (May 18, 2015). "First gameplay from Oxenfree, 2015's coolest-looking adventure game". Polygon. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  4. ^ Co, Alex (March 3, 2015). "Ex-Telltale Devs Announce Supernatural Thriller "Oxenfree"". PlayStationLifeStyle. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Martens, Todd (January 4, 2016). "Why 'Oxenfree' may just be the first must-play game of 2016". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via tronc.
  6. ^ Robinson, Nick (May 18, 2015). "First gameplay from Oxenfree, 2015's coolest-looking adventure game". Polygon. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  7. ^ Sirani, Jordan (October 24, 2015). "Oxenfree Release Window Revealed". IGN. Retrieved January 16, 2016.
  8. ^ "OXENFREE Official Teaser #2". YouTube. October 23, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  9. ^ Singletary, Charles (October 27, 2015). "Oxenfree: Fear in Frequency". The Koalition. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "OXENFREE: LAUNCH TRAILER". YouTube. January 14, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  11. ^ Huntington, Brian (January 15, 2016). "[UPDATE] OXENFREE is Out NOW! Our Newest Partnership!". Skybound Entertainment. Archived from the original on May 16, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Pinchefsky, Carol (January 12, 2016). "Robert Kirkman's studio to turn indie game Oxenfree into a movie". Blastr. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via Syfy.
  13. ^ Krankel, Sean (April 27, 2016). "Oxenfree Possesses PS4 on May 31 with a Host of New Features". PlayStation. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  14. ^ Ehrhardt, Michelle (April 27, 2016). "Teen ghost story Oxenfree to get new endings in upcoming Director's Cut". Kill Screen. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "OXENFREE". Indiecade. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  16. ^ Robertson, Abi (August 18, 2016). "The Mr. Robot mobile game feels like a miniature conspiracy ARG". The Verge. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via Vox Media.
  17. ^ Martindale, Jon (August 17, 2016). "Mr Robot gets 'Text' Adventure with NightSchool and Telltale". Digital Trends. Retrieved September 7, 2016.
  18. ^ Farokhmanesh, Megan (April 23, 2019). "A secret Stranger Things game died before it was even announced". The Verge. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  19. ^ Takahashi, Dean (September 28, 2021). "Netflix acquires its first game studio in deal with Oxenfree creator Night School Studio". Venture Beat. Retrieved September 28, 2021.

External links[edit]