Romero hints at MMO-style shooter as next game

John Romero knows the hazards of hyping things too much. So when he does mention a new project, don't expect too much info.


John Romero knows the hazards of hyping a game too much (Daikatana, anyone?). So, even though he is talking about his plans for a new game, he isn't saying too much. But what he is saying is enough to have us wanting more information.

"I'm definitely going to be making another shooter and it will be on PC first," Romero said in an interview with Eurogamer. "I don't want to talk about the details but I already know what it is. I've already kind of designed the thing and it's pretty cool--though of course, I am going to say that. I think it's a neat design, I haven't seen the design anywhere else."

Romero also hinted at a "MMO-ish" style of play, with a persistent world and data. He also wants to keep the pace fast and frenetic.

"I love twitch 180s, fast targeting, fast firing, fast movement," he said. "So anything that's not like that--like current shooters that are basically a track going through a level to the exit and everything is closed off--is not interesting to me. I like to explore my levels, y'know? So I'm not a fan of on-rail shooting or slow-moving cover systems. That's not to say that Gears [of War] isn't a great game but as a player I'm more interested in speed and fast movement."

No comment on whether his Loot Drop studio, which is already working on Ghost Recon Commander for Facebook, would do the project.

Contributing Editor
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From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 6, 2012 4:15 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Romero hints at MMO-style shooter as next game.

    John Romero knows the hazards of hyping things too much. So when he does mention a new project, don't expect too much info.

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      April 6, 2012 4:26 PM

      Is he gonna make us his BITCH?

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      April 6, 2012 4:27 PM


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      April 6, 2012 4:28 PM

      His comments about modern games seem to totally ignore the existence of Tribes Ascend.

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        April 6, 2012 5:06 PM

        because tribes is recent, pretty much irrelevant in the broader sense plus its still in beta. romero has been pretty consistent over the years long before tribes ascend was even at the horizon with saying he wants to develop fast paced shooters and mentioning how the industry has developed into another direction (console fps, slow movement etc).

        the mmo fps shit with consistent worlds was his initial pitch for quake one. quake 1996 uno.

        as much as i like tribes ascend its not the kind of game he is referring to and its hardly the only fast paced fps game if you look at the new serious sam or games like hard reset.

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          April 6, 2012 5:07 PM

          Tribes is far from irrelevant, and he is specifically talking about current game design trends. Also, I've played Serious Sam and Hard Reset and they might as well be games about snails fucking when compared to Tribes.

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            April 6, 2012 5:15 PM

            tribes is irrelevant exactly because he is talking about current game design, its a niche game for a niche audience while the rest of the industry still develops into a different direction and just like serious sam or hard reset its a fast paced fps game.
            not to mention that not everyone plays pathfinder and nobody gives a shit if tribes allows you to ski down a hill at 250km/h when you put a label on the pacing of a game.

            lets not overestimate the importance of a free to play niche fps here, i like the game, its oldschool and i put bf3 aside to play it but expecting it to be widely recognized as some kind of milestone is just ridiculous.

            just be happy that we have it and that there are few other projects like painkiller, hard reset etc over the last year that attend to that itch.

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              April 6, 2012 5:22 PM

              From everything I have seen, Tribes is hugely popular right now and far from just serving a small niche of players.

              Not to marginalize your viewpoint, but you either haven't played much Tribes, or you haven't played it very well. Even a heavy can go fast if you can ski (or diskjump) properly. And the speed isn't just about skiing, it is about fighting targets also moving fast, in midair, while you are doing the same. The combat is every bit as fast as -- and often faster than -- any of the oldschool shooter games.

              You are getting way too hung up on the fact that it is F2P. That is neither a bad thing for its quality, or something that is going to limit the game's appraisal in gaming history as you seem to be implying.

              Also, Painkiller is ancient and Hard Reset just isn't a good example imo. It's faster than a military shooter, but it's just a run-of-the-mill arcade fps with nice graphics.

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                April 6, 2012 5:36 PM

                i don't have player stats but in germany which is pretty much the pc fps holyland there is barely any coverage in the magazines and even on the shack we have smallish group of players.

                also i was was being sarcastic about the 250km/h because you missed the whole point of the about a fps being fast paced, nobody gives a shit if tribes is "more" fast paced than serious sam. serious sam is still fast paced.

                and the free to play thing just means that the game could not survive on its own showing how irrelevant it is compared to big brand fps games like battlefield or the cod series.

                the only chance it had to find an audience was to become a free to play title. and even then a game like tf2 on steam will still dwarf it in every sense.

                painkiller is old but it was still an example of a title that swam against the flow of times, it still wasnt a milestone or change of the devolution of fps games.

                you seem to be almost comically hung up on defending tribes against any perceived negligence or criticism which is ridiculous.

                tribes is entertaining and its fastpaced. leave it at that it doesnt need a champion who whiteknights it in every thread.

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                  April 6, 2012 5:46 PM

                  Well then stop white knighting Hard Reset and then we can be JO buds.

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                    April 6, 2012 5:50 PM

                    depends, i don't care about hard reset buti will fucking kill/cut if you pull any kind of that shit above in context to quakeworld. them tribes players knew not to mess with us quake players cause they saw what we did to those ut infidels.

                    also no gayshtuff while we jo into the tornado.

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        April 6, 2012 5:37 PM

        Its a different kind of game than Quake. I love the hell out of Tribes Ascend...its my favorite multiplayer game right now I think...but a huge outdoor shooter with jetpacks and skiing is different than a claustrophic indoor shooter with powerful over the top weapons and bunnyhopping/strafejumping. Quake was always more reflex intensive where-as Tribes I know when I'm going to have to pull something off really quickly a little in its less reflex based but every bit as fast and intense but in a different way. I'm not articulating it very well I guess.

        What I'm trying to get at is that there's still room for something like a new Quake...I just don't know if an MMO approach is the way to go.

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          April 6, 2012 5:42 PM

          the thing about quake is that people still play quakeworld or quakelive and there are games like the new nexuiz that try to fill that niche.

          and i agree, a game of dm4 would make any tribes player cry. it stll makes me cry whenever i get owned 26235762347623 to -50 >:(

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            April 6, 2012 5:49 PM

            I also think a game of tribes would fuck with a hardcore Quake player...they're oddly very different and very similar. Its like comparing a flight sim to a racing sim...both take a hell of a lot of skill...but different kinds of skill.

            Right now I'd say that Tribes is probably the best competitive team based multiplayer game...but I wouldn't mind having more kinds of games out there and a neat new quake style FPS could be cool (I enjoyed Nexuiz and Warsow...hell I've been helping out with Generations Arena for a while and I'm toying with the idea of making my own open source DM game using royalty free assets and the XReal engine if I ever get the time set aside (I'm willing to spend a few grand to make it, but I just don't have the time to do it anymore)...but that likely will never happen, so I've decided for now to just try to get better lighting working in the Q3 engine for the Gen Arena guys (RL keeps getting in the way...I need more time) and to just enjoy the cool stuff that's out there like Tribes Ascend (and even newer more "modern" stuff like BF3 and CoDBLOPS when I find them enjoyable...variety is the spice of life as they say).

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              April 6, 2012 5:58 PM

              dunno, rl timing for air hits, "rocket jumping", regular tdm and ctf strategies etc translate pretty well into tribes. i still catch myself to bunnyhop on occasion.

              there are lots of thrings i struggle with though but i wouldnt say a quake dude would have a hard time to get into quakeworld. getting into quakeworld is fucking hard though, even if you come from quake3 or something similar.

              i still would play quake cpma over tribes if i wanted to solely play a competitive fps but tribes is certainly fun and i've would agree that its the best new available fps game.

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                April 6, 2012 6:02 PM

                i mean getting into tribes. herpiderp. also swear to god i read your post twice but that last paragraph is to much too comprehend for my tired brain.

                should you ever get to make that oldschool dm game i'll totally volunteer to playtest and complain like a total asshole about how much it isnt like quake.

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                  April 6, 2012 6:46 PM

                  Yeah...being a programmer has fucked up my ability to type out coherent text. I start nesting parentheses and its all fucking over (I also fucked up and had a hanging parenthesis on the end there).

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              April 6, 2012 6:02 PM

              tribes was pretty easy. you get a lot more time to line shit up.

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                April 7, 2012 4:04 PM

                Its weird...because for me getting into Tribes was harder than Quake. I mean getting to a high level in Quake is tricky...but I had DOOM to get me good at the basics and Quake is the ultimate example of easy to learn hard to master...or a deep but accessible game (it has a lot of depth even though its simple).

                Tribes always through me for a loop with the jetpacks management and the projectile inheritance (THAT was something that I've only now started to come to grips with...that was the thing that always kept me from getting good at Tribes and I've only now with Ascend feel that I've got my head wrapped around it so that I can consistently do what I want). It is weird that both Quake and Tribes I feel like if I spend more time fussing with predicting my shots I am less likley to hit...but if I kinda feel my way through it and just snap shot without overthinking it I hit stuff more often...that maybe what throws me off more in gives me enough time to second guess where I should be shooting...whereas in Quake I'm not thinking about it; I'm just putting the next rocket where the guy's going to land). Quake is all about thinking very fast, reacting very fast to fluid situations, and its very much in the moment in terms of combat...the larger strategy stuff you're thinking ahead and sending a blind rocket where someone is going to be is all about thinking ahead too...Tribes is more a precision game where you're planning out what you're going to be doing on a physical level...where you're going to be, when you need to shoot and where that shot will land and when. Both are games of spatial relationships to an extent...but Tribes is more about spatial relationships with some emphasis on execution and skill and reflex, Quake is about reflex and execution and skill and all of it involves spatial relationships...but those don't seem to be the bigger part of the relationship.

                Tribes reminds me a lot of flight sims in a way (not surprising considering that was Dynamix's background)...when you start getting kills it feels like one hell of an accomplishment...and you have to have some reflexes...but at the same time if you're reacting in the moment to something and you haven't set things up for you are already fucked...its so damned different that I don't really like to say that one is better or more demanding than the other. You throw a top notch Quake player (like Lakerman level or something...I don't know who's good right now as I've not followed it in years and never too closely) who doesn't play flight sims and toss him into a dogfight with someone who's really into flight sims...and he's fucked. He'll be lucky to keep in the air depending on the plane you put him in...and you put a top level flight sim of the best (I really don't follow that scene) into a Quake 1v1 (assuming he's not a Quake player at all) with a decent Quake player and he's going to get his ass reamed.

                I do think that enough Quake skills would transfer over that a good Quake player could catch onto the fundamentals of Tribes pretty well and do well enough...but an amazing Quake player isn't going to immediately just become a high level Tribes player immediately.

                I think people tend to think that there's one set of skills that you measure everything by...hell I've heard Counter Strike players bash various games and sing CS's praises for its skill requirements...but the skill set CS empahsises is one I've never cared about. Tribes and Quake put empahsis on things I do care about (different things...but things that I enjoy doing and find rewarding)...same with fighting games, flight sims, space combat sims, Battlefield games, even CoD. I've generally found the gameplay of deathmatch to be more interesting than Rocket Arena or Clan Arena in the Quake games (probably another reason I was never fond of CS)...but I enjoy RA and CA for what they do and they've grown on me...but I do miss the elements and skill sets they eschew (though as a result they put emphasis on other things...and I respect that even though I generally prefer DM unless I'm playing with shackers in which case CA is perfectly fine (so is FFA or anything else...playing with shacker is just great in pretty much any game...shackers can make even CS tolerable to me).

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          April 6, 2012 5:43 PM

          Note that I'm not knocking Tribes, just saying its different and I imagine that Romero is thinking more along the lines of something like Quakeworld or DOOM2. Tribes never worked well for things like 1v1 DM (which QW was one of the best examples on DM4 and DM2 were fucking amazing)...I think that we really need both in an ideal world.

          Both Tribes and the oldschool id games scratch two different but similar itches for me and I need both itches scratched dammit! Hell, I'm in heaven playing Tribes...but I definately wouldn't turn down a new Quakeworld style game so I could play that too.

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      April 6, 2012 4:29 PM

      How old is the "Romero is going to make you his bitch" thing and can we all just move on already?

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        April 6, 2012 5:02 PM

        It is his moment of ultimate hubris that led to his downfall. It is hilarity and warning all rolled into one.


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          April 6, 2012 5:22 PM

          His moment? It was the marketing department that came up with it.

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            April 6, 2012 5:29 PM

            Lol, his name was in the statement.

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              April 6, 2012 6:31 PM

              ^^^ THIS ^^^

              And don't think for a second that he was all "no don't put my name on that!" I'm sure he said "yeah I will!" when they brought it to him.

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                April 7, 2012 1:19 AM

                Not exactly. Watch his interview in mattchat.

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        April 6, 2012 5:45 PM

        The internet never forgets.

        I'm cool w/ Romero tho. One wacky Mike Wilson ad from last century is small potatoes.

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          April 6, 2012 5:51 PM

          I was getting ready to mention that it was Mike Wilson that ran that ad (I remember reading about the whole Gwar thing with rubber penises that he had going on at a press event in Masters of Doom...I really ought to re-read that damned good).

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            April 6, 2012 6:07 PM

            wait what? rubber penises? i read masters of doom and i don't remember that particular passage.

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              April 6, 2012 6:38 PM

              After a while all those rubber penises kind of run together.

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              April 6, 2012 6:56 PM

              "Halloween came one night early at Microsoft, on October 30, 1995. The party was in full swing. A Ferris wheel spun outside. A circus tent offered beer and barbecue. A three-story-tall makeshift volcano bubbled up red light. Over at the microphone, Jay Leno, master of ceremonies for the night, entertained the crowd. But the real action was happening underground, in the garage that had been converted into a haunted mansion. There, the deathmatch competition Mike Wilson had organized was under way.

              Twenty elite gamers had been flown in and were competing under a giant screen that showed the game. The two top contenders — a stealth Asian American teenager nicknamed Thresh and a Floridian beach bum nicknamed Merlock — twitched over their PCs as they fought. The crowd gathered around them, cheering and taunting. Thresh won the match and was besieged by fans and reporters. "Oh my God," Jay Wilbur said to himself, looking on in disbelief, "this is a sport."

              Alex St. John, dressed as Satan, was busy chasing Mike Wilson through the red lights and fog. He found him in a corner, sucking down beers with one gamer dressed as Jesus and another as the Pope; Mike and his wife came as the blood-soaked antiheroes of the movie Natural Born Killers, Alex told them that he had seen the id installation and he thought it was hilarious. But, he said, Microsoft's PR people were less than pleased. How were the press—or, for that matter, the Microsoft execs—going to react?

              As the media and execs started making their way through the mansion, the displays seemed innocent enough. Activision was promoting an adventure game called Pitfall Harry and had built a little jungle scene in which passers by could swing on a makeshift vine. In another room, a company called Zombie had a metal sphere that shot blue electric bolts through the air. But the id installation had a bit more in store: an eight-foot-tall vagina.

              Gwar, the scatological rock band that id had hired to produce the display, had pushed their renowned prurient theatrics to the edge. The vagina was lined with dozens of dildos to look like teeth. A bust of O. J. Simpson's decapitated head hung from the top. As the visitors walked through the vaginal mouth, two members of Gwar cloaked in fur and raw steak came leaping out of the shadows and pretended to attack them with rubber penises. The Microsoft executives were frozen. Then, to everyone's relief, they burst out laughing.

              Not everyone else, however, was getting the joke. Onstage, a band of Mike's friends called Society of the Damned was screeching through a dissonant set of industrial rock. No sooner had they launched into an abrasive track called "Gods of Fear" than the Microsoft PR people decided they'd had enough. Two security guards stormed the stage and demanded that the band members conclude their set. Alex saw the commotion and lumbered over, his face as red as his Satan costume. "These guys are the guests of id Software!" he barked. "The id Software ! The guys who made Doom! Any friends of id's are friends of Microsoft." But the guards weren't having it and unplugged the sound system."

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        April 7, 2012 1:17 AM

        15 years. Yep.

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        April 9, 2012 8:24 AM

        People are simplistic and cynical because it's the easiest way to go through life. I had my share of laughs about that advert and made fun of Romero for it but damn that was 1997. I am not the same person I was back then and neither is he. Funny how we can keep other people in a time capsule and forever judge them by a past event that we ourselves would be pissed off if everyone we knew treated us the same way. But we wouldn't be humans if we all weren't hypocrites.

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      April 6, 2012 4:39 PM


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      April 6, 2012 5:00 PM

      count down to kickstarter lot #4564562246

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        April 6, 2012 5:12 PM

        How long before EA/Bioware offer exclusive DLC to Kickstarter supporters

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      April 6, 2012 5:36 PM

      Good for him. Hope he redeems himself. He is a co-creator of one of the most badass games of all time. And I thought Daikatana's multiplayer was a blast.

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      April 6, 2012 5:49 PM

      What about a real MMO for 360? There isnt any. I guess their servers architecture or something along these lines is preventing this to happen.

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      April 6, 2012 5:55 PM


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      April 6, 2012 5:58 PM

      "I've already kind of designed the thing and it's pretty cool"

      Fucking lol.

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        April 6, 2012 6:11 PM

        he as been talking about that design idea since quake. quake was supposed to have portals,consistent worlds, rpg elements etc

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          April 7, 2012 2:38 AM

          Quake started as an RPG about "the most powerful being on the continent" or something. "No more 'whack whack here's some gold'"

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            April 7, 2012 9:06 AM

            As our follow-up to the Commander Keen trilogy, id software is working on "The Fight for Justice": a completely new approach to fantasy gaming. You start not as a weakling with no food--you start as Quake, the strongest, most dangerous person on the continent. You start off with a hammer of thunderbolts, a ring of regeneration, and a trans-dimensional artifact. Here the fun begins. You fight for justice, a secret organization devoted to vanquishing evil from the land! This is role-playing excitement.

            And you don't chunk around the screen. "The Fight for Justice" contains fully animated scrolling backgrounds. All the people you meet have their own lives, personalities, and objectives. A 256-color VGA version will be available.

            And the depth of play will be intense. No more "whack whack here's some gold." There will be interesting puzzles and decisions won't be "yes/no" but complex correlations of people and events.

            "The fight for justice" will be the finest PC game yet.

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              April 7, 2012 4:34 PM

              Quake had changed so many times its kinda crazy. It turned into a crazy Molyneaux-esque thing where it had all these amazing concepts that just weren't going to happen in the mid-90's. The thing is you had Romero the dreamer with these lofty ideas and you had Carmack who had very realistic somewhat conservative perspectives about what COULD be done at the time and they were yin and yang...and you had other personalities that made things work too.

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      April 6, 2012 6:04 PM

      that dude is still making games?

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      April 6, 2012 7:09 PM

      If this goes on kickstarter im going to punch someone in the fucking face

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      April 6, 2012 7:13 PM

      ADMIT IT: Would you support his kickstarter? I... would.

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        April 6, 2012 7:47 PM

        I would...hell even if he crashed and burned again...a C-Note toward that wouldn't be wasted IMHO (I would gain much amusement from the spectacle)...if he actually made something awesome; even better!

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      April 6, 2012 7:15 PM

      He should reinvent that old advertising campaign.

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      April 6, 2012 9:37 PM

      Remember when he married that 18 year old Romainian chick and the marriage lasted about 5 minutes?

      That guy.

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        April 6, 2012 9:44 PM

        Yeah like, her knees are pointy!!

        How can he demean himself to fornicating with a demon like her? Doesn't he believe
        in god? Right dude? hello? Do you take Jesus Christ as your lord and savior? Do you?

        Hello? is this a chat room?

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          April 6, 2012 9:49 PM

          That would be Stevie Case, not his last ex wife

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            April 7, 2012 8:55 AM

            Killcreek was/is pretty hot.

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            April 7, 2012 11:27 AM

            "Romero met his first wife, Kelly Mitchell, in 1987 while he worked at the register of a Burger King restaurant in Rocklin, California, and they had two children (Michael Alfonso and Steven Patrick Romero).[2] He met his second wife, Elizabeth Ann McCall, in 1990 while she worked at Softdisk[2] in Shreveport, Louisiana, and they had a daughter (Lillia Antoinette Romero).[2] Romero was then involved with Stevie Case, a gamer who achieved early notoriety for beating him in a Quake deathmatch, from 1998 until their breakup in May 2003.[19] In January 2004, Romero married Raluca Alexandra Pleşca in her hometown of Bucharest, Romania.[2] The two later separated in early 2010. Romero is currently in a relationship (engaged) with game developer Brenda Brathwaite,[20] and they founded social game development company Loot Drop in November 2010.[13]"

            Yeah not sure what you speak of buddy, unless its that time he made you his bitch for 5minutes

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        April 7, 2012 9:19 AM

        He and Brenda Brathwaite are now engaged and seem really, really happy together.

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      April 6, 2012 9:40 PM

      Hell yes sounds like my kind of game!!!!!

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      April 6, 2012 9:59 PM

      "Girls couldn't play an MMO if you shot rockets up their cunts."

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      April 7, 2012 8:11 AM

      Get that guy's face outta my face.

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      April 7, 2012 2:38 PM

      This looks like John Travolta with hipster glasses and long hair. Anyone else see it?

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      April 7, 2012 2:40 PM

      Anyways, I like his style of shooters, what he describes is exactly what I like.

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        April 7, 2012 4:19 PM

        Yup...the MMO side of it does concern me...I mean he's always wanted to make a game like that since Quake (collecting heads and dropping them in a pool of water as sacrifice to some dark Elder God to get passage somewhere else...portals to other servers...a persistant world with other people in it)...and I think he's learned a lot since Quake (oddly enough his regrets about Quake seem to be the same things I didn't like about it...and he feels the same way I do about the weapons...that DOOM was closer to nailing a good balance between tiered and completely balanced weapons).

        I'd like to see him take the HiRez approach (what they've done with Tribes Ascend even though they plan on doing a Tribes MMO (Universe I think))...I'd love to see him start off with a more basic DM game...get the fundamentals down and all the physics and gameplay elements fleshed out and tested that way...basically make a multiplayer Quake/DOOM style shooter (not sure what the best model would be...perhaps a simple low price for entry and sell it on Steam...maybe 5 or 10 bucks and have 5 to 8 maps in it...just make sure they're really good maps...hell throw in a few classics like Q1DM4 and Q1DM3). Hell he could do a kickstarter and get that thing funded initially if he needed. After that is all done, he's built up reputation and you'd have a lot less joking whenever his name came up and a lot less people likley to dismiss him without giving it a look. Hirez managed to get over initial skepticism wrt them handling Tribes...a lot of people figured it was going to be T:V all over again (I enjoyed T:V...but more as its own thing and not as a Tribes game...if it had been called something else I think it would have been less reviled by Tribes fans)...but word of mouth has spread that its a good game and enough like Tribes to make many happy (yeah its not perfect and some folks who still prefer the old stuff won't be satisfied even if they made Tribes1 or Tribes2 with better graphics...and thats fine...when you make something new you aren't replacing the old stuff and people will still play have to get over that and make what you want in the spirit of what you're following up...and they seem to be improving it all the time).

        Once he's managed to create a great old school multiplayer FPS game and has put a lot of the doubts to rest then he should take that and run with it and make the crazy MMO game of his dreams.

        Going MMO from the start seems risky unless its less an MMO and more a weird sort of hybrid...a full fledged MMO takes a LOT of resources and investment and its hard to pull off...and MMOs tend to fail more often than not. If he pulls whatever he's doing off I'd be glad to see it...the guy is passionate and I really want him to do well...he's a guy who loves games.

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