Loot Drop is an interesting studio that is testing the notion of whether an independent developer can create social games for a variety of publishing masters. It’s worth watching because Romero’s previous game, Ravenwood Fair, has more than 10 million monthly active users, and the company is going out of its way to hire rock star game makers who prize creative freedom above all else.
Redwood City, Calif.-based RockYou’s Jonathan Knight (pictured middle) and San Mateo, Calif.-based Loot Drop had previously announced a deal to publish Loot Drop’s first game. The companies are revealing today that the first game will be called Cloudforest Expedition, and it will be launched this summer. RockYou is funding and publishing that game.
Besides Brathwaite and Romero, Loot Drop’s co-founders include game veterans Tom Hall and Rob Sirotek, and the company recently added creative director Laralyn McWilliams. Romero and Hall were co-creators of Doom and have many games together. Brathwaite worked for many years at Sir-Tech Software, a game company started by Sirotek. Knight said RockYou was pleased with the progress on Cloudforest Expedition. That motivated RockYou to sign up a second unannounced title from Loot Drop.
Romero said that RockYou is supporting Loot Drop’s creative freedom. He said Cloudforest Expedition will be a story-driven adventure game. It invites users to become the next great explorer. It will use clearing, exploration and discovery play styles. Such games are big bets for RockYou, which is trying to compete more effectively with market leader Zynga by making high-quality social games.