Gaming Idols: Top 50 We Ever Interviewed

Interviews have long been a strong passion for us at Kikizo. Today, in celebration of our relaunch into Video Games Daily, we name the 50 best interviewees of the site to date.

By Adam Doree, October 26, 2009

Keisuke Kikuchi
General Manager, Product Development Division, Tecmo

While one outspoken game creator was undeniably the face of the Team Ninja side of development at Tecmo for many years, the company does more than just Team Ninja. The man responsible for the bulk of it is Keisuke Kikuchi, a talented game creator with series such as Fatal Frame and Deception under his belt. Kikuchi-san is probably the only interviewee I came close to falling asleep in front of, not because he was boring or anything, but because I was utterly exhausted from E3 madness and hadn’t slept in days. His translator was also a no-show, leaving a very poor stand-in to attempt to do the honours. My camera guy was feeling pooped too. It was basically a disaster, and yet Kikuchi was polite and enthusiastic throughout. Can’t say I’d have expected the same from some of his then-colleagues! That particular session never got published in any form, but we’ve done two other interviews with him which show he’s got real spirit.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Oct 2005, Feb 2009

Shane Kim
Corporate VP, Strategy and Business Development, Xbox

The Xbox team has a lot of really likeable executives, and Shane Kim is one of our faves. Now in a strategy and business development role for the entire Xbox business, Shane might not confirm the next Xbox (that’s old news!) but always seems to give us something. Our most recent interview with him was no exception, as he blessed us with surprisingly open thoughts on a potential ‘Xbox handheld’.

Video Games Daily Interviews: July 2009, May 2008, July 2006

Jonathan Knight
Executive Producer, Visceral Games

I have to admit I’m not always super-prepared, and while I’m pretty good at winging it on some topics, I didn’t really know much about Dante’s Inferno before chatting to Jonathan Knight. No doubt jetlagged on a European press tour, my opener was standard fodder: “How is Dante’s Inferno going to stand out in the hack and slash genre?” It’s a lazy start. But not only does Knight thoroughly answer the same question he’d probably answered ten times on that day, but it goes on to set the tone for an enjoyable conversation-based interview.

Video Games Daily Interview: June 2009

Hideo Kojima
Creator of Metal Gear Solid series

Contrary to gossip from some quarters, I discovered in 2008 that Mr Kojima is still every bit as humble as the last time my previous site interviewed him way back in 2001. Having merely brushed shoulders with him at parties since then, it was a long time coming before finally being able to do a proper interview. And a mere eight months later, we got an audience with him again (though not me personally that time). Kojima’s the sort of guy who you’re guaranteed a good interview with provided you’ve done your homework. And provided you don’t ask him about MGS4 coming out for Xbox 360.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Aug 2008, April 2009

Mie Kumagai
President, SEGA AM3

Kumagai joined Sega back in 1993, and when the previous boss of her Hitmaker development studio, Hisao Oguchi, was promoted to president of the whole company, Kumagai became the new studio head and the first ever female president within Sega’s development structure. (Incidentally, Wikipedia copied that last sentence from us). Over the years, we’ve met quite literally every other big development name at Sega you could think of – but this was the first time we’d had the chance to interview ‘Miss Virtua Tennis’. She’s a pleasure to speak with, and without the rock-star front you might associate with some Sega personalities – she’s friendly, classy and polite.

Video Games Daily Interview: March 2007

Chris Lewis
VP, Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft EMEA

Lewis has been integral to the success of the Xbox brand in Europe since day one, and particularly the UK. Chris has a great attitude in interviews that is both serious and light-hearted at the same time. In a 2006 sit-down with him, Lewis surprisingly offered thoughts on the next Xbox – admitting that work is “happening right now” – but adding: “You’ll see more over time – certainly we’re not talking about the next version yet, so give us a chance to catch a breath, will you?”. He also made comments that are particularly intriguing in light of certain announcements earlier this year: “We want to give people the chance to continue to expand – either through accessories or storage, or the Live which continually evolves and broadens – 360 can evolve in its own right, and that’s an important step that we took beyond Xbox 1.” Natal, anyone?

Video Games Daily Interview: Oct 2006

Doug Lombardi
VP of Marketing, Valve Corporation

Always a pleasure to meet with, Doug Lombardi – like most things about the unspeakably awesome games developer that is Valve – is refreshingly straightforward. He’s not afraid to talk honestly about industry relationships where other company representatives would soil themselves right there in the interview chair. Lombardi – who has possibly the most infectious laugh of anyone we’ve ever met in the games biz – is the perfect front man for a company as unique as Valve, with his in-depth knowledge and multi-faceted role in many areas of the vibrant developer.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Oct 2008, Apr 2007

Kenji Matsubara
President and CEO of Tecmo Koei Holdings

Matsubara, president of the recently merged Tecmo and Koei, struck me as a confident games executive with a plan. He came from the Koei side of the fence rather than from the Tecmo side, which is probably a good thing considering the pre-merger turbulence that had been occurring within Tecmo management. Matsubara is frank on his views about the games industry, and open in his praise for what competitors (east and west) are doing right. The idea to approach Tecmo about a merger was down to Matsubara, and the swiftness with which it went through suggests that he’s someone who knows what needs to be done and doesn’t waste time in doing it. A calm, no-fuss interviewee!

Video Games Daily Interview: July 2009

Tetsuya Mizuguchi
Founder, Q Entertainment

Miz is an obvious one, really. As one of my original ‘admired Sega creators’, Tetsuya Mizuguchi is still regarded by many as the coolest guy in business. He makes games that real gamers admire and obsess about – games like Sega Rally, Space Channel 5, Rez and Lumines. I’ve met Mizuguchi – who’s fluent in English – on several occasions over the years, and as anyone else who’s ever spent time with him can attest, he’s a very easy guy to get along with. We’re looking forward to seeing what Mizuguchi does next, because we know he’s working on big things.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Dec 2005, Oct 2005, Apr 2004, Feb 2003

Peter Molyneux
Founder, Lionhead Studios

The first time we met Peter was at Lionhead HQ on a media day with various media invited – and not much time available for each publication to grill him. At the end of the day, we had the audacity to ask him for more of his time, as everyone else was going home. Without a second thought and without consulting a PR, he gave us at least an hour in his board room, just because he’s that nice. I’ve pretty much lost count of the various interviews we’ve published with Molyneux since then, but there’s more than one good reason why we keep going back. Molyneux has interesting views on pretty much every aspect of the industry, and his considerable eloquence always makes for captivating interviews. Persistence in asking Molyneux about topics that matter usually gets results; the designer was dropping hints to us about Milo and Kate – the project that eventually wound up being Natal’s flagship ‘reveal’ title at E3 2009 – in our interviews with him for years before it was unveiled.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Oct 2008, Sep 2008, Aug 2007, Oct 2006, June 2006, Aug 2004, Aug 2004 (2) and Natal Meeting

9 Responses to “Gaming Idols: Top 50 We Ever Interviewed”

  1. xino says:

    Damn..Hayashi did not make the list

  2. HeatPhoenix says:

    Did you guys just never interview Miyamoto or something?

  3. Adam Doree says:

    Miyamoto – not in recent years, although in our interview archive ( you can find an acient video interview cut together from a roundtable, as well as a follow-up roundtable. I didn’t think it would be fair to include those as they’re a different kind of interview. If we’d done a 1-1 with him lately obviously he’d be on the list!

    I’m sure he’s devastated though obviously.

    Hayashi wasn’t on the list because our interviews with him were not done by me, and these are just my personal choice/opinion.

  4. Pokemon says:

    the image of Julian Gerighty is not cool. maybe it is better if you add more proper image.

  5. DR Jam says:

    I thought Jade (Ubi, AC), and Ono (Capcom, SF4) would make the cut. But honestly, that’s a really good list. And it’s perfectly understandable if some of the biggest industry haven’t made the list. At least it’s good motivation, as if you needed more incentives, to other icons to open up: Ed Boo, Will Wright, the guy from Epic Mickey, etc…

    Also it’s about the most fun interviewees so, maybe not every visionary makes for a fun interview.

  6. Doree says:

    Yeah… Jade I haven’t met, Ono I didn’t get a chance to meet until literally just last week at the 3DS launch… even though others have previously interviewed him for the site.

    I am happy to replace the Julian image with another if someone sends one in.

    You know who I’d most like to add to the list? Hiroshi Yamauchi. But that’s not going to happen. ;)

  7. bellashanna says:

    Hi: julian
    It’s me . shana. write back soon!

  8. bellashanna says: it’s me. shana

  9. bellashanna says:

    Julian Gerighty. It’s me


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