John Romero ready to invade social gaming, leave hardcore past behind

Newly formed studio, Loot Drop, poised to dominate Facebook market

John Romero is no stranger to forming new studios. From iD Software to Ion Storm, Monkeystone Games to Slipgate Ironworks, Romero has been a force of a great innovation and creation within the industry, leaving a number of reputable (if not long-dead) start-up ventures in his wake. Now, for his next trick, Romero has decided to leave the hardcore gaming scene for good and transform his newest development studio, Loot Drop, into the next big thing in social gaming.

“We have satisfied hardcore gamers for decades. Now it’s time for the rest of the world,” declared Romero in this week's interview with VentureBeat. “Our opportunity is to teach the rest of the world how to play games.”

Above: From the deepest, darkest depths of hell comes - wait...wrong game

That “rest of the world” is the online Facebook world currently populated by more than 600 million users who areflocking to social gameslike FarmVille, Cafe World and Mafia Wars. It's also a world in which Romero hasalready had somesuccessthrough last year's release of his pet project, Ravenwood Fair; a FarmVille-esque social game which has attracted over 11 million players to date.

Having recently secured financial backing from the casual gaming publisherRockYou,Romero noted he now intends raise the bar in social game developmentby coming at it as a game designer first and a business man second. To that end, he has filled Loot Drop's ranks with other mainstream video game veterans andpast colleaguesincludingTom Hall, Ion Storm's co-founder and co-designer of Doom;Brenda Brathwaite, a long time video game developer; and Rob Sirotek, Loot Drop's CEO and former owner of Sir-Tech Software.

In her recent speech at GDC, Brathwaite reiterated Loot Drop's ambitions to evolve the industry, proclaiming, "We are absolutely not the ones making what some of you call 'evil games.' We are the first wave - the marines storming the beach to take our culture and our medium back. As you look upon these games you will see on the very same horizon a great space of possibility. I hope that you will someday be the occupying force."

Loot Drop's first game is expected to arrive shortly. Meanwhile, the complete interview and (short) history of Loot Drop can bereadinVentureBeat'sfull interview.


Mar 4, 2011

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