So here I am again, with another interview for all you fine folks! This time round I got the chance to talk to an important name in the Xbox side of the industry. Ryan McCaffrey has been a person of note in the industry since he left collage when he quickly found himself working for OXM, during his time there as an Editor he was also at the helm of the Official Xbox Magazines podcast “KOXM”. Since then he has moved on to join the crew of the IGN Xbox team where he once again set about renewing another podcast, known as “Podcast Unlocked”. So for those of you who are just curious about the man behind the voice, or those who simply want to know a bit more about their favourite online writer, read on!
So Ryan, how about we begin with one of your career high points, what was it like being an Editor at OXM?
That was a dream job for me, particularly coming right out of college. It was my first “real” job, and to get to work on the Xbox platform right as it was exploding alongside such a great team at OXM was a privilege.
You had a large fan base beneath your work at OXM, especially on the podcast KOXM, do you ever miss your old
I miss the people at OXM, absolutely. Fran, Corey, Alaina, and the two Daves are like family to me. We were – and they still are – an extremely tight-knit group, and I relish every chance I get to see them since I left to join IGN.
Speaking of podcasts, when you made the change to the mighty IGN team, you commandeered the “Podcast Unlocked” and gave it new life. Could you tell us anything about your experience with that?
It’s not a very sexy story, really. When I started at IGN, I asked if we had an Xbox podcast. They told me, “Yes, but nobody really owns it. So if you want to run with it, feel free!” So I did, because I absolutely love radio, and podcasting lets me scratch that itch.
As we already mentioned you made the jump to IGN very successfully, what is it like working with what is perhaps the most influential site in gaming?
The editorial team here is extremely vibrant. There’s a lot of great energy buzzing through the office at all times, which I love. Also awesome is that because the audience is so large and engaged, I get an immediate reaction from people in the IGN comments or on Twitter when I post a story. It’s a thrill for me, really.
So I manage the content of a couple of small sites and I must say at times I find it pretty difficult to keep so many balls in the air at once, what’s it like for you as the IGN Xbox Editor?
Same as you: lots of multitasking. Whether I’m feature planning, assigning reviews, setting up preview opportunities, or actually writing something (or, heaven forbid, actually playing a video game!), there’s a lot to manage on any given day.
Now, you recently tweeted that your Halo 4 review was the most widely read article you’ve ever written, where would you put this on your list of career high points?
It’s very high on the list. I’ve been very lucky to get to do a lot of cool things in my 10 years in this business – from traveling to new places to attending E3 every year to playing the Xbox 360 before most of the world got to – but the Halo 4 review was a big moment for me, personally.
Time for a question I’m sure you knew was coming at one point or another. What’s your favourite game ever, any generation, any console!
It’s impossible to answer this question. There simply isn’t ONE game. I can’t pick one. I’ve been gaming my whole life, and different games have meant different things to me over the years. I could maybe, maybe give a top-10 list.
I don’t know about my readers, but I’ve certainly dreamt of making a game, what about you? Any more plans for the future?
Honestly, no. I have endless respect for game developers who toil away on a project for years, but I am lucky to be in a position I love: getting to play everyone’s games rather than work on just one for 2-3 years.
Before we move on, I just have to ask. What ever happened to that Mr Vargus’s talking burrito?
He got digested and died an acidic, painful death. You don’t want to know what happened to him after that.
So, moving onto helping the kids. Much like yourself, I’ve been writing for a while, and one of my dreams is to work for IGN. So what hints and tips can you give to myself and the aspiring journalists who want to move up the ladder?
Just write. Publish your work somewhere, like on your myIGN blog. The better stuff does rise to the top, and we do take notice of that, I assure you.
Of course, a solid grasp on specific writing styles is required of most journalists, I’ve nearly always used the AP style. But most people want to inject their personality into their work using their sense of humour etc. What do you think is the happy medium between writing, and stylized writing?
That depends what site you’re writing for and what the goal of your story is. For instance, I tend to write a little lighter/funnier for previews and certain features than I do for reviews, where I am usually much more serious.
Starting from the bottom and working their way up is obviously off-putting to a great deal of people regardless of their career path. What would you say to inspire people to keep their goals in sight.
It helps to have luck on your side, but there’s no “easy way” to accomplish your career goals. If you’re serious about it, you’ll put in the work. If you don’t want to put in the work, then you’re not serious about it.
Well, I’ll let you get going now, like we spoke about before, you’re a busy man. So my last question to you, is there anything you would like to say to your oh so very loyal fans?
I’m extremely grateful to anyone out there – be it on IGN, Twitter, or anywhere else – who values my opinion about video games. If I have helped you spend $60 wisely (or maybe save $60!), then that means I’ve done my job. Thank you for your trust!
And with that, the interview comes to a close. Thanks to you all for taking your time to read this, don’t forget to share it amongst your friends and hey, why not hit that like button as well! Stay tuned for more interviews coming in from around the world!