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SMU Guildhall Student Game Releases Break Records, Create Online Buzz

Jan 15, 2019

SMU Guildhall's newest round of student games catches attention from Steam community and beyond

PLANO, TEXAS — January 15, 2019 — Continuing a six-year story of publishing success, SMU Guildhall recently released four new student-made games to Steam with overwhelmingly positive reviews and rapid fan adoption.

SMU Guildhall started publishing games to Steam in 2013 with Cohort 17’s game Kraven Manor. The game went viral after thousands of fans downloaded the game, and internet sensation PewDiePie featured the game on his YouTube channel. Since then, Kraven Manor has been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of gamers worldwide.

2017’s Mouse Playhouse also saw huge success as SMU Guildhall’s first student-made VR game. After its launch, the team caught the eye of Gearbox Software, who hired the full team of 16 graduates to work on the studio’s VR projects.

Also released in 2017, Dawn went on to be SMU Guildhall’s most downloaded title with over 40,000 downloads on Steam.  That record stood for two years.

Setting New Records

Gaining fast traction as the Guildhall’s breakout hit of 2019, FrostRunner ( passed Dawn’s lifetime record with over 70,000 downloads in its first two weeks on Steam and an ‘Overwhelmingly Positive’ rating. The game has caught fire amongst the speedrun community as they competitively try to overtake and stay on top of the leaderboard.

All four of the new titles released so far this year have garnered an increasing number of features by bloggers and streamers including play-throughs and reviews. Fans enjoy the lighthearted and family-friendly nature of La Rana (, in which you play as a frog spirit who seeks to restore power to the lost Rain Temple of Rana. In fast-paced cyberpunk action game Cyberdrome (, you use a high-tech sword to compete in arena combat against waves of drones. Lastly, Circuit Slinger ( is a fun rhythm-based VR game in which you work to shoot and purge corrupted code alongside heart-pounding EDM music.

As part of the SMU Guildhall program, students create professional-quality games in a studio environment in short 15-week development cycles on small, interdisciplinary teams. Working in conjunction with individual specialization-specific coursework and thesis research, the Guildhall’s Team Game Production curriculum aims to model and teach team-based game development as you would find in studios across the world.

“Even though we’re a school, we try to simulate a studio environment and treat the students as full developers,” said Mark Nausha, Deputy Director of the GameLab at SMU Guildhall. “All of the professors here are actually industry vets, so we bring that experience to push the quality bar higher and higher with each project.”

Setting the Bar

For 16 years straight, since SMU Guildhall’s genesis, the program’s student projects have repeatedly won awards, contests, and jobs for graduates. When SMU Guildhall began formally publishing its student games, the publication process was deeply integrated into the curriculum, which allowed for institutionalized high standards to be even further set—and met—for each new game’s final product.

“This latest round of games has exceeded every expectation I had,” said Steve Stringer, Executive Producer of Publishing for the GameLab at SMU Guildhall.  “When FrostRunner caught fire with the speedrunner community, especially, we couldn’t have been happier for the teams.”

The success of the SMU Guildhall program can be seen in its game successes as well as in its rankings. It’s long held a seat in the Top 10 rankings for game development programs across the world by the Princeton Review, sitting at Number 1 for the past two years. In addition to its Team Game Production curriculum, the Guildhall has been specifically commended for the high quality of its faculty of industry veterans and professionals and career services achievements.


About SMU Guildhall:

SMU Guildhall is the #1 Graduate Program for Game Design in the world. Many of the school’s founders are industry icons, and classes are taught by industry veterans. Since 2003, the program has graduated over 700 students, who now work at more than 250 video game studios around the world. SMU Guildhall offers both a Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development degree and a Professional Certificate of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development, with specializations in Art, Design, Production, and Programming.

Press Contact: Mark Nausha, Deputy Director for GameLab at SMU Guildhall, 949-697-5374
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More Details — New Releases:


SMU Guildhall capstone game Circuit Slinger

Circuit Slinger

Created by: MioMax

Circuit Slinger is a VR rhythm game in which players purge corrupted code to a beat. Grab a pair of guns and shoot your way through three virtual landscapes and six levels of heart-pounding, original EDM music!

Download & Play on Steam
*Requires VR headset




Created by: Team Entropy

Cyberdrome is a fast paced, first-person cyberpunk action game in which you use a high-tech sword and enhanced movement abilities to traverse dangerous environments and kill robots before they kill you. 

Download & Play on Steam


SMU Guildhall capstone game FrostRunner


Created by: Think Arcade

FrostRunner is a first-person platformer “speedrunning” game in which the player is tasked with rapidly completing platforming challenges, navigating 36 levels of arctic terrain before the timer runs out. 

Download & Play on Steam


SMU Guildhall capstone game La Rana

La Rana

Created by: Frog Paw Studios

In La Rana, you play as Soos, a frog spirit working to purify a cursed temple using the last drops of Rana’s power. Explore the vast ruins to discover secret chambers and recover the Temple of Rana’s lost power to restore rain to the world.

Download & Play on Steam