1Up Interviews Kojima Productions' Ryan Payton

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.

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