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Why Ryan Payton quitting sucks

Through my various conversations with UK Konami representatives, I’m guessing that Ryan Payton’s Associate Producer role at Kojima Productions was a little adjustable. From what I could tell, he seemed to liaise with PRs and marketing people, but he also managed to get his fingers in a lot of other pies, like voice-acting and influencing the game’s eventually Westernised control scheme.

kojima-productions.jpgWith Ryan Payton gone, will anyone take responsibility for MGS4‘s integral podcast?

He left Kojima Productions last week, though, due to personal issues. For fans of Metal Gear Solid and Kojima Productions in general, him leaving could be a bit of a blow. Since late 2005, Payton has been producing the Kojima Productions podcast on a near-weekly basis (aside from a massive, inexplicable break that came in late 2006), therefore giving the world a PR-heavy, yet brilliantly detailed insight into the goings-on at the developer. Prior to the KP podcast, there was nothing that brought gamers as close to this world-renowned studio, so his leaving cuts off a vital interactive link between them and the fans.

At an MGS4 review event in April, I was told by a UK Konami PR that Payton had actually begged Hideo Kojima for a job. Clearly, his passion for Metal Gear Solid was extensive. In the KP podcast, he covered every last bit of the game’s production, from interviewing the game’s logo artists, LOGAN, to an entertaining chat with David Hayter, the voice of Solid Snake.

I, personally, loved the podcast. There was a feeling that it was bit too much of a propaganda piece, but it gave us a pretty decent spotlight on Japanese gaming culture and the weekly goings-on at KP. Generally, the contributors featured were really interesting, and keen to talk about their work. For long-time Metal Gear fans, it was an entirely successful stopgap between the release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence and Guns Of The Patriots.

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Without the KP Podcast, waiting for MGS4 would’ve been incredibly dull.

There’s no indication, at the moment, that anything of similar worth will take its place. Worse still, the supposedly downloadable ‘Integral Podcast’ is yet to make an appearance on MGS4‘s Extras menu, after the one that shipped with the game promised subsequent entries. Now that Payton’s gone, it seems less likely that they’ll be recorded than ever.

So, that’s why I’m a little saddened by the news. The KP Podcast made the wait for Metal Gear Solid 4 a little easier, and gave us an often fascinating look at the way KP games were created.

Bye, etc.