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UC Santa Cruz hires Brenda, John Romero to run gaming program

Loot Drop designers named program director, creative director for school's new master's degree track

The University of California Santa Cruz is launching a new 12-month master's degree program in games and playable media, and it has brought on Brenda and John Romero to oversee the endeavor. Brenda today was named program director of the new track at the Basking School of Engineering, while John will be the creative director.

The couple are best known for their individual work on games like Doom, Wizardry, and Jagged Alliance, but have spent the last three years at the indie startup studio Loot Drop, which they co-founded in November 2010. Both also have previous experience in an academic setting. In January, Brenda became UC Santa Cruz's first game designer in residence, and previously served as chair of the game development department at the Savannah College of Art and Design. As for John, he helped Southern Methodist University start up its Digital Games Guildhall program.

The pair won't be the only experienced developers involved with the new program. UC Santa Cruz has also lined up an all-star advisory board for the program, including Will Wright (SimCity), Harvey Smith (Dishonored), Derek Yu (Spelunky), Robin Hunicke (Journey), Ben Prunty (FTL), Vander Caballero (Papo & Yo), and Brian Schwab (Starcraft II).

The school will accept applications for the 2014-2015 academic year from October 1 through March 1, 2014. The program will only be offered starting in the fall quarter.

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Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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