The man who once promised to “make you his b*tch” (with Daikatana, a game so bad it couldn’t even make you its meter maid), has released his latest game, and it’s one of those painfully cute Facebook social games in the same vein as Farmville.
It’s called Ravenwood Fair, and Romero built it in just 2 months alongside eight employees of LOLapps, a company that exclusively makes Facebook games. (Other games in LOLapps portfolio include Garden Life and Critter Island. Combined, LOLapps boasts 150 million active users every month.) Romero is best remembered as being the co-creator of id Software’s first roster of first-person shooters like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake. If you see a disconnect here between the dark, Hellspawn-infested dungeons of those 3D shooters and the cabbage patch sensibilities of a social gaming app… you’re not alone.
But consider it from an business point of view: as a consultant for LOLapps, Romero was able to invest just two months of work in this Facebook app which, if it proves as successful as Farmville, could breed endless ongoing revenues for himself and LOLapps via the vast amount of casual users that play Facebook games — an amount which drastically outweighs the number of traditional MMO players in the world. Should Ravenwood Fair become a hit, Romero intends to continue updating it over time with additional levels and more of the game’s ongoing storyline. If the game doesn’t catch on, Romero’s not out very much time or investment. It’s an easy bet.
I’m curious to know what longtime gamers think. Is Romero onto something here? Should more “serious” game developers jump on the social gaming bandwagon? Or is Romero slumming in the doldrums, lowering his standards to make an easy buck?