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Westphal Game Design Alums Make Forbes 30 Under 30

Forbes 30 Under 30 Games

November 15, 2018

Westphal College of Media Arts & Design alumni Greg Lobanov (Digital Media ’14) and Dan Fornace (Digital Media ’11) are listed among Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Leading a Technological and Artistic Revolution—the magazine’s “annual list chronicling the brashest entrepreneurs across the United States and Canada”—in the Games category. This year, Forbes looked to 20 industries, choosing from thousands of qualified nominees to honor the boldest young risk-takers in the business community.

Lobanov was one of the first members of Drexel’s Entrepreneurial Game Studio—the University’s experimental game development incubator and publisher housed in the ExCITe Center. He also became the first Westphal student to pursue an Entrepreneurial Co-op, collaborated with the Close School of Entrepreneurship and Steinbright Career Development Center to “hire himself” to start a company as part of his required six-month internship experience. Lobanov spoke to Philly in 2013 about the success of his self-driven co-op, which saw the release of his puzzle game Perfection within a month of starting. This year, Lobanov launched Wandersong for PC and Nintendo Switch. He describes the game as “a musical adventure where you use singing to save the world.” While navigating puzzles, adventure, and a roster of amusing characters, players use song to interact with the world of the game. Forbes notes that Wandersong was funded on Kickstarter for $20,000 and has experienced positive reception upon release, even becoming a PAX 10 selection in 2017. Learn more about Lobanov on his website.

Fornace released Super Smash Land—a free fangame inspired by Super Smash Bros—while studying in Westphal’s Digital Media Department. To date, Super Smash Land boasts more than 500,000 downloads. Fornace began working as a game designer at Microsoft Studios after graduation, working as a Design Consultant on such games as Trials Evolution and Mark of the Ninja, then as Lead Designer on the Microsoft Studios side of Killer Instinct: Season 1. In 2014, Fornace left Microsoft Studios to develop Rivals of Aether, an independent game and spiritual successor to Super Smash Land. Available on Xbox One and PC as of 2017, Rivals of Aether has sold more than 500,000 units to date, and continues to attract a competitive tournament scene. Learn more about Fornace on his website.