Friday, February 24, 2012

KGB Interview: Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb

Chris recently had a chance to interview the newest addition to the team over at Patrick Klepek. Bringing a focus on news and features, Patrick has written some great stories in his short career. We ask him about his past, his future, and how he fits in at Giant Bomb.

Q: First off, can you give us a brief overview of who you are, and what you do at Giant Bomb?

I'm the news editor over at Giant Bomb, which means my primary day-to-day job is overseeing content that falls into the news tab at Giant Bomb, but I'm also heavily involved in other aspects of the site, whether it's appearing in podcasts or videos. When I first joined Giant Bomb, the plan was to have the news section expand pretty rapidly, but that never ended up happening, as I gained more of an interest in having a small amount of actual "news" appear in the section, buoyed by a regular set of features.

Q: Listening to your first appearance on the Bombcast after being hired, it's clear that video games have been a big part of your life for a long time, when did you realize that you wanted to do this for a living?

Accident, really. I was writing about video games pretty casually since I was 14-years-old, but in high school, an English teacher suggested there was a way to make money by writing about stuff: journalism. When I realized it was possible to make money talking about a thing I love, it was easy to stick with it.

A typical day in the life.

 Q: When Giant Bomb initially approached you about possibly joining their team, was it an immediate “YES!”? Did you have any hesitation towards joining an independent site like theirs?

There was a point where it became clear EGM wasn't going to work out, and around that time, I reached out to the guys at Giant Bomb to pitch them on the idea of having me as their news editor. Giant Bomb, as a site, had dipped its toes into news before, but they were so busy doing other stuff, it made sense to have someone come in and handle that. News is what I've made into my personal specialty, not only did it line up with a desire to move from Los Angeles back to San Francisco, but Giant Bomb's approach to creating content, one that emphasizes creating content you believe win, was important to me. It was an easy yes.

Q: One of your most infamous news stories was the breaking of the Infinity Ward firings. Did you know how crazy that situation was as it was happening?

Crazy, because it took over the entire G4 network for a 24-hour period. It's easily the biggest story I've been apart of, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right sources to really dig into that story for a full week. Stories like that are why I got into games journalism in the first place. You don't have stories like that every day, probably not even once per year, but you spend your whole time chasing them down, and so long as you get one, you think you can get another.

Q: How do you see the future of games journalism changing?

Becoming more personable. It's less about the outlet these days, it's more about the person. For example, when Stephen Totilo left MTV to work at Kotaku, even if they were, for whatever reason, not fans of Kotaku, they probably started poking around over there because of Stephen. If Stephen leaves Kotaku, they'd follow him somewhere else. Developing yourself into a trustable brand is incredibly important these days. It's not about follower count on Twitter, but it is about engagement with your audience. Part of my job is to be a consumer advocate, and learning to be a good consumer advocate means talking to those people.

Q: A lot of journalists are asked about how they got their job, is it really any different than pursuing any other type of career path?

Everyone has their own story about how it happened, and most will tell you a mixture of luck and talent. I'm not about to guarantee you'll get a job, even if you're talented and work hard, but if you at least do the latter, you have a chance of developing the former, and if you keep at it, you'll eventually get a shot. Whether you're able to take advantage of that shot it up to you.

Q: Can you remember (or talk about) any particularly big faux pas you’ve made in your career?

When breaking a story, be very careful. For example, when I broke that David Jaffe was leaving Sony to form Eat Sleep Play, I said he had already quit Sony. Jaffe never outright disputed my reporting about him leaving Sony to form his own studio, but he was able to say he'd just picked up a check from Sony, which many took as a way to dispute my reporting. I wasn't clear enough in my own story, however, and that allowed Jaffe to deflect from the actual news.

Q: What story are you most proud of, besides the IW situation?

I really enjoyed my story about Noah Solis, the 8-year-old fighting game wunderkind.

Q: Are there any video game industry icons you would like to, and have yet to, meet? Do you still get fanboyish when meeting people who you’ve looked up to?

I'd probably get nervous if, like, JJ Abrams came up to me, but that doesn't really happen with video game folks. I would love to have the chance to personally interview Shigeru Miyamoto or Ken Levine, and I'm sure those opportunities will come up.

Q: And finally, your favorite game of all time?

Gah. Mega Man 2 or Deus Ex. Take your pick.

Follow Patrick on Twitter: @Patrickklepek

Read Patrick's news stories at Giant Bomb.

Christopher Linendoll is jealous of Patrick's hair. He can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.


  1. A good, if slightly dull, writer. But not really his fault as most non-sensationalist gaming news is boring by nature.

    Also, the whole 'hot scoopz' moniker is a little played out too. Especially so considering the rate at which he actually breaks news.

    1. I find Pat's articles to be among the most insightful and well-written in the industry. He provides a unique perspective you don't get at other sites.

      And I don't think people actually call him "Hot Scoopz". That's, like, a thing.

  2. Thanks for that stunning insight, Anonymous.

    Patrick was a great addition to GB and ensured that I would visit the site more than just once every two weeks.

    1. I agree. Pat has filled a much-needed role at GB, that complements all the videos and reviews rather well.