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

Kyle Peschel
Senior Producer, Sierra Entertainment

We’re not sure how the corporate changes involving Sierra have affected Kyle, but when as we met him in 2007, we didn’t realise how entertaining the 25 minutes with him would be. He mentioned that he was on his 76th demo of TimeShift of that E3 – but you wouldn’t know it from his enthusiasm. That Peschel had managed to stay so boisterous about his game is a testament to his character, because TimeShift had seen more turbulence that most other games that year. He also swears more than any other person I’ve ever interviewed, which contrary to what our parents told us, is big and clever.

Video Games Daily Interview: Aug 2007

Randy Pitchford
Founder and CEO, Gearbox Studios

So we know hundreds of the industry’s highest profile people, right, but we don’t profess to know everyone and everything. Which is why I felt a little silly when, after walking into a room of other journalists and one Randy Pitchford in the middle of a demonstration, I waited for a convenient moment to ask him name, title and company. While one fellow journalist smirked and couldn’t believe a games journalist wouldn’t know who Pitchford is, Pitchford himself was only too happy to answer and make light of the situation, before going on to convince me why his title was shaping up so nicely.

Video Games Daily Interview: Aug 2008

Mark Rein
Vice President, Epic Games

When Epic Games boss Mark Rein talks, people listen. And that means a hell of a lot of listening, because this man could talk as an Olympic sport. But we don’t mind, because he has a lot of important stuff to say. It adds and takes away pressure on the part of the interviewer in equal measure, because while Rein’s comprehensive answers contain detailed views and analysis, it can be tough to steer the discussion to where you really want it to go! If you get five questions into a half-hour interview with Rein, you’re doing pretty well.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Nov 2007, June 2007

Hironobu Sakaguchi
President, Mistwalker

The legendary Hironobu Sakaguchi started his career at Square in 1986 as director of planning and development. He created the Final Fantasy series in 1987 and continued to work on every title until Final Fantasy X in 2001. In 1995 he ascended to president of Square USA. By 2004, he’d announced his new development studio, Mistwalker, where he went on to make Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey – which was around the time I eventually met him. With a resume as glittering as Sakaguchi’s, you may think he’d be full of it, but his manner is humble and modest.

Video Games Daily Interview: Aug 2005

Chris Stamper
Co-Founder of Rare

Were it not for the fact that I bumped into an upbeat Chris for the first time at Spaceworld 2000, it would have been fair to assume that his smile when I sat down with him in 2002 was purely down to the $375 million Microsoft had just handed over to him and brother Tim (who was also present for the interview, along with Microsoft’s Game Studios boss at the time, Ed Fries). The Stampers have since departed Rare altogether, but at the time of the interview, there was a lot of excitement around the announcement of the acquisition the day beforehand. This kind of genuine buzz is rarely evident in a games related interview, and as far as I’m aware it’s still the record amount ever paid for a video game developer. As far as I’m aware, this is the only interview with the Stampers anywhere on the internet.

Video Games Daily Interview: Feb 2003 (conducted Sep 2002)

Yu Suzuki
Creative Officer, SEGA

Yu Suzuki has earned his elite reputation at the very pinnacle of game creation. One of gaming’s most iconic figures, Suzuki practically invented arcades as we know them, and his career at Sega has spanned some 26 years. In 2006, we met with Yu Suzuki for a much needed, up-to-date and frankly very rare interview, focussing on the man himself, his career to date, and his future goals. It remains the only interview to have been published with him in any western media in the last five years. I didn’t do this one myself, but have done interviews with him in the past on this and my previous site. He was always my number one gaming idol above your Nakas and your Miyamotos, and it was not a disappointment when I eventually got to start meeting him (the same cannot be said of all once-idolised creators). If there’s one gaming icon you could describe as the ‘friendly grandpa’ of the games industry, it’s Yu Suzuki, and I wish things could go back to the way they used to be for him at Sega.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Feb 2006, Feb 2003

Chris Taylor
CEO, Gas Powered Games

Proof that a good interviewee is a good interviewee – even if I’m not a clued up on your games in the slightest – is Chris Taylor. I’d been warned beforehand that Chris was a bit zany, and it’s true (in a good way). The interview with this charismatic exec was some time ago now, but he’s the kind of guy I’d be happy to go back to – even as the last person who’d ever call myself a fan of RTS games.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Oct 2005, Aug 2004

Mike Wilson
Industry Veteran

I went into my 2008 interview with Mike Wilson not particularly convinced about the whole ‘Gamecock’ thing, but came away impressed with Mike himself. For one thing, I’d completely underestimated the experience and ability of the Gamecock management. For another, my cynicism towards the actual purpose of the publisher was quite quickly stamped out. It seemed obvious to me that Mike Wilson, the company’s front man whose career dates back to Doom and leads to the creation of companies like Gathering of Developers, is not some sort of idiot joker but someone with a sound business head on. More importantly he seemed to be a businessman with a conscience and some admirable, unorthodox ideas. He curses, he talks openly about industry politics, he’s kind of a PR person’s nightmare – my kind of exec, then.

Video Games Daily Interview: Oct 2008

Kazunori Yamauchi
President, Polyphony Digital

We first met with Gran Turismo series creator Kazunori Yamauchi in 2003, when he was deep in development on the unrivalled driving sim that was GT4 for the PS2, and then again the following year when he was nearing the end of GT4′s development. A humble and elegant guy, Kazunori puts as much precision and attention to detail into his answers as he does into his racing sims. The resources (and budget) afforded to him to recreate the unique handling of thousands of vehicles and translate them into a simulation has probably never been matched, not even by the critically acclaimed Forza MotorSport series. Kazunori has never been one to rest on his laurels, and by the time our more recent interviews with him in 2007 and 2008 rolled by, it’s clear that he’s as hardworking and pleasant to interview as ever.

Video Games Daily Interviews: Mar 2008, Oct 2007, June 2004, June 2003

David Yarnton
General Manager, Nintendo UK

There aren’t many UK-specific executives on our list to be honest, but here’s one of the most popular you could name. Yarnton has been with Nintendo for 14 years, first joining Nintendo Australia in March 1995. Joining Nintendo UK as General Manager in October 2003, Yarnton has guided the division into the era of Wii – and he knows a thing or two about launching Nintendo hardware by now. Born in England, he moved to Australia in 1961, and has also represented South Australia in both Hockey and Rugby Union! We know from working closely with Nintendo UK over the years that basically the whole company and all of NUK’s associated agencies love David – and from our video interview with him that marked the UK Wii launch, it’s not hard to tell why.

Video Games Daily Interview: Sep 2006

Special mentions must also go to the following industry stars:

Jesse Abney (EA), Cliff Bleszinski (Epic), Brian Bright (Neversoft), David Cage (Quantic Dream), Michel Cassius (ex Microsoft EMEA), Grant Collier (ex Infinity Ward), Katsuya Eguchi (NCL), Harvey Elliot (EA), Katsuhiro Harada (Namco), Steven Ter Heide (Guerrilla), Amy Henning (Naughty Dog), Pete Hines (Bethesda), Kentaro Hisai (Jupiter), Paul Hollywood (Evolution), Hiroyuki Ichiyanagi (Namco), David Jaffe (Sony), Dylan Jobe (Incognito), Akitoshi Kawazu (Square Enix), Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Capcom), Sangyoun Lee (Phantagram), Mike Lopez (Radical), Steve Lycett (Sumo Digital), Steve Nix (id Software), Frank O’Connor (Bungie), Frank Pearce (Blizzard), Jason Rubin (ex Naughty Dog), Ryan Schneider (Insomniac), Glen Schofield (EA Redwood Shores), Cameron Suey (LucasArts), Denny Thorley (Day 1), Karl-Magnus Troedsson (DICE), Kudo Tsunoda (Microsoft), Akari Uchida (Konami), Ben Ward (Bizarre Creations), Paul Wedgewood (Splash Damage), Julian Widdows (Swordfish), Akira Yamaoka (Konami),

Please bear in mind that if you’ve seen someone in our archive and are wondering why they’re not here, it may be because I didn’t interview them personally, or I did but it couldn’t be called a direct one-on-one (i.e. it was a roundtable discussion or similar), or because it wasn’t actually in person (i.e. it was done via email, phone or video conference), or maybe I just forgot. Sorry about that.

Please come back to Video Games Daily for more great interviews for many years to come!

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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