A first person POV-Romero Games and its community

Galway and video games may seem like an unlikely combination. But one studio has been quietly making waves on the international gaming scene, with their Community Manager building their social profile in the background.

Romero Games on Abbeygate Street has focused on creating first-person shooter games under co-founders and owners John and Brenda Romero since 2015, with years of experience in the industry.

Maezza Romero, a Community Manager at Romero Games and John’s stepdaughter, said the idea to set up the company in Galway was filled with a love for Ireland.

A gap in the market

Brenda first came to Ireland on a Fulbright Scholarship, and alongside John, the couple quickly fell in love with the country.

“My mom is Irish, so her culture is very much based here,” says Maezza.

“She grew up in upstate New York, filled with Irish-Americans…when she came out here [to Ireland] that summer, she decided we should move out here.”

“We moved out to Galway, and they established Romero Games because there was a lack of game companies in the West. They thought, ‘ok, we want to move the kids out here…we might as well start our business here.’

The company, which recently celebrated its seventh anniversary, has been working away in Galway ever since.

Maezza has also been a key component in the company’s social profile. Starting in Quality Assurance(QA) testing for their title Empire of Sin, her move to community management happened gradually.

Empire of Sin was released in 2020 and is set in 1920s Prohibition-Era Chicago.

“There were developer streams for the game, and they asked if someone from QA could do them because they would have the time. And I told them; I don’t mind being on camera; that’s fine!”

Maezza stated she liked the role because she could easily answer questions about errors in the game.

“I eventually moved away from QA sometime last year and completely focused on being a Community Manager,” she said.

Creating an inclusive online space 

Maezza has also built up social media channels over time, as well as a server on Discord, an instant messaging social platform.

At the time of writing, six thousand people who enjoy the work of Romero Games interact on Discord under a moderator team, which Maezza feels is “a safe space where nobody feels put out.”

“I feel like many gaming communities can be toxic, particularly those associated with shooters,” she says.

“They tend not to be safe spaces for a lot of people…in creating the Discord, we’ve put our foot down in what we accept.

“To have a whole community of people who agree with that standpoint; it’s a nice feeling to know that Romero Games stands for those things.”

For women in the gaming industry, things are becoming much more inclusive in terms of career opportunities, according to Maezza.

“There’s this survey that my mom cites, where the largest group of people playing games are older women playing mobile games.”

Indeed, the cited survey published by the Entertainment Software Association in 2016, ‘Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, ‘ shows women make up  40% of frequent game purchases, with the average gamer age being 38.

“That’s something people wouldn’t often expect…even the image people associate with video games tends to be very masculine,” says Maezza.

“It’s gotten a lot better, even though there are areas that need to be expanded on, particularly speaking as a woman of colour in games.”

A busy 2023

So what’s coming up for Romero Games in 2023?

A brand new title in collaboration with a major publisher for a start. The company is also looking to expand its team.

John’s memoir, ‘DOOM Guy: My Life in First Person, ‘ also comes out next July.

“We’re working on a lot of really cool things, and we’re excited to start development and get new people on our team,” said Maezza.

With the momentum that Romero Games has built, it looks set to keep expanding and establishing itself further in the future.

 

 

 

 

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