Kojima Productions' Ryan Payton How An American Gaming Journo Joined Japan's Gaming God.
This interview was conducted one week prior to worldwide release of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
1UP: When did you first get your foot in the industry's door?
Ryan Payton, associate producer, Metal Gear Solid 4: When I was at university, I joined a program run by the Japanese government called JET [Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme]. After I graduated, I had a couple of months before I was going to be shipped off to some unknown location in Japan. At that time, I was already writing for the school newspaper, and being a fan of XBN Magazine, I contacted them directly and asked if they needed a Japanese correspondent.
1UP: How old were you at that time?
RP: I was 22. An XBN editor named Greg Orlando wrote me back and said that he was interested. I sent him a number of articles -- videogame reviews for my school newspaper -- and he seemed to like my style. My first assignment was to write about where Xbox was in Japan.
Xbox wasn't successful there, but the magazine work was a great opportunity because it allowed me to meet people in the industry, travel around Japan, and get close to gamers. The Xbox community in Japan was small -- Microsoft only moved 500,000 hardware units there -- so any time I'd go to a press event, I'd meet the same people. We'd talk about what makes Western games different from Japanese games, what they like about Western videogames. I started writing for Wired, Japan Times, and other Ziff Davis and Future publications.