Ska Studios

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ska Studios LLC
Limited liability company
IndustryVideo games
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington,
Key people
James Silva
Michelle Juett Silva[1]
Number of employees

Ska Studios is an independent game development studio founded by James Silva in 2007 after winning a contract to publish The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai to Xbox Live Arcade. Ska Studios has released four Metacritic-aggregated console games since then, more than any similarly sized studio.[2] Ska Studios currently consists of James Silva and Michelle Juett Silva.[3]

The studio is well known in indie gaming for its art style, which is described as cartoonish, grim, and gory,[4] and its games' tight controls.[5] Many of the studio's games are strongly inspired by modern action titles, such as Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Dark Souls.[6]


Four characters stand at the center of a bar, fighting off zombies and ninjas coming towards them from both sides. One of the characters has grabbed a zombie and is on the way down from a pile-driver move.
In Charlie Murder, players play as members of a garage punk rock band that is fighting a demonic army during the apocalypse.
Year Title Platform Developers Metacritic Score
2009 ZP2K9[7] XBLIG James Silva
2009 The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai[8] XBLA James Silva 75
2009 I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1[9] XBLIG James Silva
2010 ZP2KX[10] XBLIG James Silva, Dustin Burg
2011 The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile XBLA/PC James Silva, Dustin Burg 81
2012 Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne)[11] WP7 James Silva
2013 Charlie Murder XBLA/PC James Silva, Michelle Juett Silva 78
2014 TIME VIKING!!!!!ANDSPACERAPTOR[12] XBLIG James Silva, Michelle Juett Silva
2016 Salt and Sanctuary PS4/PC/PS VITA/Switch/XB1 James Silva, Michelle Juett Silva 85


James Silva began making games as a hobby in 2001, starting with Zombie Smashers X, a River City Ransom style beat-em'-up game, but the title was financially unsuccessful, selling fewer than 100 units. James went on to develop more similarly unsuccessful titles, including Blood Zero, Zombie Smashers X2, and Survival Crisis Z, but didn't achieve viable commercial success until 8 years later, with 2009's The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai.[13]

James met Michelle (then Michelle Juett) at PAX in 2009, and the couple soon entered a relationship. In 2011, James publicly proposed to Michelle at PAX, using a custom scene James inserted into the playable demo of Charlie Murder.[14] The couple married in 2012, and has worked together on Charlie Murder, TIME VIKING!!!!!ANDSPACERAPTOR, and Salt and Sanctuary. In 2014, they participated in a PAX panel of married developer couples entitled "Until Game Over Do Us Part: Live and Love as a Game Dev Couple."[15]


All of Ska Studios' currently released games are built using the XNA framework or its open-source cross platform counterpart, MonoGame. When Xbox One launched with no XNA support, Ska Studios made the switch to PlayStation 4, with Salt and Sanctuary being the studio's first title to launch on a non-Microsoft console. Regarding the change, James said:

"The engineering side of it was an issue. All of our code is .NET/XNA, and, even though XNA support has ended, .NET games can use open source wrappers like MonoGame and FNA to carry the torch. But Xbox One has no .NET support. PS4 does, with titles like Towerfall: Ascension and Transistor using MonoGame in one form or another to deploy to PS4."[16]

James and Michelle currently are responsible for nearly all of their games' content. Michelle and James collaborate on art and design work, while James does all of the programming, map design, animation, and music. Michelle is also responsible for marketing, community management, and merchandise.[17]


  1. ^ Ska Studios About Page
  2. ^ "Ska Studios". Metacritic. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  3. ^ "Polygon • Charlie Murder: The love story? Precious few..." Polygon. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  4. ^ "Review: Salt and Sanctuary by Ska Studios". IndieHangover. 2016-04-19. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  5. ^ "'Salt and Sanctuary': A Worthwhile, 2D 'Souls' Successor - Quad Nine". Quad Nine. 2016-04-05. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  6. ^ "james silva". don't die. 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "ZP2KX: Zombies & Pterodactyls!". Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  11. ^ "Z0MB1ES (on teh ph0ne) – Windows Games on Microsoft Store". Microsoft Store. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  12. ^ "Ska Studios releases TIME VIKING!!!!!ANDSPACERAPTOR". GameSpot. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  13. ^ "Future ICONS: Meet Ska Studios' indie gaming power couple". Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  14. ^ "Penny Arcade - News - Demographic Mismatch, Part Two". Penny Arcade. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  15. ^ "Ska Studios » PAX Prime 2014 Info". Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  16. ^ "Ska Studios shifts to Sony after 6 years on Xbox". Engadget. Retrieved 2016-04-26.
  17. ^ "James Silva talks Salt & Sanctuary - The Wayfaring Dreamer". The Wayfaring Dreamer. 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2016-04-26.

External links[edit]