NBI 2014: Conducting Interviews? Just Ask


With the Newbie Blogger Initiative fully underway, I want to talk about something that has been on my mind ever since I started MMO Fallout nearly five years ago. In the time that I have been running this show, I have had the fantastic opportunity to interview Derek Smart (multiple times), Mark Hill, Stephen Calender, and even Brian “Psychochild” Green himself, to name a few. That list doesn’t even come close to the number of developers that I have had the chance to talk to behind the scenes in a more informal manner. One of the biggest questions, one that I consider to be amongst the top most important for new writers, is how I manage to get these interviews. The answer is going to make you mad.

I asked. Seriously.

When I did my first interview back in 2010, I had a lot to be nervous about. Here I was, from an unknown website less than a year old, asking to take up some important person’s time to answer my petty questions. I certainly wasn’t important enough to demand answers, not that I am now five years later, but I hadn’t even considered directly emailing developers at this point. Eventually it took my dad asking the simple question that I still hold as one of my fundamental driving forces: What do you have to lose? What is the worst outcome that could come of asking for an interview? The person says no? They don’t respond? That’s it? What are you afraid of?

I realized that there wasn’t anything to be afraid of, and I sent the email. Around a week passed but I got a response back, not only did the developers know who I was, but expressed that they were fans of MMO Fallout and would be more than happy to do an interview. That is the lesson I want to impart on new bloggers: Ask and ye shall receive, or you won’t, but you won’t come out any worse off than when you started. You have to accept that, barring your sudden rise to stardom, you are going to receive nos or be ignored. A lot. When you ask, you either wind up one step ahead or where you started off.

Secondly, the best advice I can give is to not allow yourself to be intimidated or star-struck. These are very talented and professional people, yes, and some might even wear suits to work. But at the end of the day they are normal people who live lives just like you or me. The easiest method to reduce the intimidation factor is to watch a lot of behind the scenes videos or dev diaries, once you’re used to seeing desks covered in toys and developers goofing off and having a good time, the whole interview process becomes less like sitting in an office and more like a casual chat.

Oh and conduct an interview because you want to, not because you think it will get you hits. One of the factors that I get a lot of criticism for is that my interviews are often seen as unorganized because the questions don’t always follow a pattern. I request interviews because there is something very specific that I want to talk about with a person that I consider best qualified to answer, and that list of questions doesn’t always follow a traditional pattern. I personally prefer this method, and the people I interview find the style to be relaxed, more like a casual chat than a rigid interview.

Feel free to contact me at if you have any comments or questions, or drop a comment in the link below.

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