Speak Up 2009: The Seven People We Want to Hear More From at This Year's E3
1. Phil Harrison
Who He Is: Former PlayStation spokesperson; was also responsible for resurrecting the Atari brand from the dead; current status: unemployed.
Why He Needs to Talk More: Phil was a staple at every Sony press conference for the past several years. Then he fled the sinking ship known as the SS PS3 and jumped onboard another sinking ship known as the SS Atari. Atari enjoyed a minor renaissance, then ousted the man (reasons at press time were still vague). But the typically chatty, articulate, bare-pated, shiny-headed giant? He's been oddly mum. We miss you, Phil. Please put on one of your dapper Savile Row suits, and take the stage -- any stage -- at this year's E3.
2. Kyle Gabler
Who He Is: Half of 2D Boy, makers of the truly great World of Goo.
Why He Needs to Talk More: After his thoroughly entertaining appearances at DICE and GDC this year, Gabler should have his own cable access show called "Hi, I'm Kyle and I'm Going to Entertain You Fine People for a While." We'd watch.
3. Susan O'Connor
Who She Is: Contributing writer to BioShock and Gears of War; all-around champion for better writing in videogames.
Why She Needs to Talk More: Pairing great gameplay with great writing is, as Spock would say, only logical. Yet there are still a number of developers who feel that paying real writers to do real writing is a luxury they can't afford. Enter Susan O'Connor. Over the past few years, she has become symbolic of the new, higher standards in videogame writing. Susan: Close the laptop and open your mouth. We're all ears, lady.
4. Ryan Payton
Who He Is: Former journalist turned producer on Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots; currently working on the Halo franchise in some mysterious capacity.
Why He Needs to Talk More: Payton infiltrated the hermetically sealed Eastern world of Kojima Productions, and lived to tell the tale. He's Stateside again, in the Pacific Northwest, working on a Halo-related project. Having the humble, work-obsessed Payton working on Halo actually makes us genuinely curious about Halo again. Ryan: Step up to the metaphoric podium and give us the news, man.
5. N'Gai Croal
Who He Is: Former writer turned industry consultant.
Why He Needs to Talk More: Former Newsweek writer Croal is a journalist who has made the leap from the journalism side to the development side. While rumors abound that he's "traveling a lot," and that he has "a number of clients," the term "consultant" is far too vague and unsatisfying to describe his new role. We'd like to see one of our more articulate colleagues describe his new existence in greater detail. We miss you and your dreads, you big, loveable bastard.
6. John Carmack
Who He Is: Lead programmer and founder of id Software, creators of Doom, Quake and the upcoming Rage.
Why He Needs to Talk More: Carmack is a living legend -- he and his cohorts invented a little genre known as the first-person shooter, which you've probably heard of -- yet the man literally winces when the spotlight is turned on him. Smart, funny and shy to a fault, of the two Johns who founded the company (the hirsute, and now exiled, Romero was the other John), Carmack was always our favorite. Stand up and be counted, man.
7. Tim Schafer
Who He Is: Lead programmer and founder of Double Fine Productions.
Why He Needs to Talk More: Schafer is the only repeat offender to appear in last year's and this year's speak-up lists. Congratulations, Tim! Yes, Tim hosted the GDC Choice Awards this year, so you'd think that our Tim Tanks would still be topped off. They're not. Schafer has a knack for knowing when to shut up and go back to work (he's currently putting the final touches on Brütal Legend), which only makes us crave to hear even more from him. The one reliable place to get your Tim fix: Go to the official Double Fine site.