UC Santa Cruz hires John and Brenda Romero

Industry veterans will run new professional game development degree program at California university.

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The University of California at Santa Cruz announced today that it has hired Brenda and John Romero to head up a new program that leads to a master's degree in games and playable media at the school's Silicon Valley Center.

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Brenda Romero was appointed the school's first game designer in residence at the Center for Games and Playable Media in January 2013. She will now serve as program director, where she will oversee curriculum and instructors, teach and mentor students, and establish connections with industry companies.

As for John Romero, he will work as creative director for the master's program at UCSC, teaching courses, mentoring students, and helping "shape the overall creative vision for the program."

He worked on iconic franchises like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake and cofounded a number of game companies, including id Software, Gazillion Entertainment, and Loot Drop.

"We are very excited to have two highly accomplished veterans of the game industry coming on board to direct our new professional degree program," said professor and chair of the Computer Science Department Jim Whitehead. "They have been involved in the development of a huge number of games and game studios, and they have created some of the most influential games, both in mainstream culture and in the art world."

Brenda Romero previously served as the chair of the Savannah College of Art and Design's Interactive Design and Game Development department, while John Romero assisted in establishing the Digital Games Guildhall program at Southern Methodist University.

UCSC's master's in games and playable media is a 12-month degree focused on "combining technical and design innovation." During the course, students will work in teams to create games that are critiqued and mentored by John Romero.

"In creating games, I look for innovative ways to explore spaces and game mechanics, doing things other games have not done," John Romero said. "In working with UCSC, my goal is to push students toward innovation while working on my own new indie projects alongside them."

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