I've been trying for a long time to get people to stop thinking that creating Hulk Hogan's reality show is the coolest item on my resume.
I think I've found a way.
Early last month, I accepted an offer from Nick Denton, head of our parent company, Gawker Media, to become Kotaku's editor-in-chief. That kicks in now, as I take over the top spot from outgoing editorial director Joel Johnson, reporting directly to Nick.
This change puts me in the humbling position of steering what I've long felt is the best website about video games in the world. It also puts me, as all good reporters and editors must be, in the service of a passionate readership who deserve to be informed about what they want to know about video games, about what people don't want them to know about video games and maybe even about what they themselves didn't know they were looking for.
Kotaku is at its best when we serve our readers and lead the field. We strive to inform you, challenge you and, yes, entertain you. We will continue to do that in ways you expect and in ways that will surprise you.
This moment of change also provokes some sad goodbyes, both to Joel, who's been running Kotaku since early 2011, and to the man with whom Kotaku was synonymous for many years, former editor-in-chief Brian Crecente. Over the last year, Joel has greatly improved the look of the site and broadened its array of voices, aspiring to make Kotaku more beautiful and more intellectually surprising. Brian, who ran Kotaku for more than a half-decade before Joel, used 2011 as a time both to help continue to guide the site and as a season to reassert himself as one of the premiere reporters on the beat. Before that, his stewardship of Kotaku did nothing less than define the pace and prominence of the video game news and opinion blog. He didn't start Kotaku, but he's probably the reason you've heard of it.
Joel will take his talent for feature and review development to Jalopnik as its new editor-at-large. In his new role, he'll use his love of motoring to help them continue to build the next generation of auto enthusiasts from the gadget and gaming communities. Brian exits Kotaku today.
Joel and Brian's departures will give the rest of the talented Kotaku team an even greater chance to shine. I believe a Kotaku roster that includes Brian Ashcraft, Michael Fahey, Luke Plunkett, Owen Good, Kirk Hamilton and Evan Narcisse is the envy of our competitors. Together, these writers can report, review and/or rant with the best of them. Our columnists — Leigh Alexander, Lisa Foiles and Tim Rogers — are among the finest writers (and videographers) about video games in the field. I look forward to our team growing further in the coming months with the addition of more fantastic talents.
Change can make anyone nervous, and I will not hide the fact that Kotaku will spend the next several weeks in transition. My vision for Kotaku in 2012 is not the Kotaku you will see in January, though sprouts of it will emerge. And what will the Kotaku of 2012 be?
We will strive harder than ever in 2012 to ensure Kotaku is the best place anyone can go to in order to find out about what's happening in and around the world of video games. You can continue to expect news and criticism from Kotaku — stories not just about video games but about the people who play them, make them or trash-talk them. Expect a Kotaku that will be as interesting to look at as it is to read. Expect a Kotaku that is a cultural authority about video games, one that will translate this thing we love for those who don't play games while telling even the most fervent gamer about some obscure, awesome game they've never heard of.
For those who don't know me, I've been deputy editor here since 2009. In the past year, I've profiled industry greats, as well as a man who was trying to bring his fiancee back to virtual life. I covered the Supreme Court's landmark decision protecting video games as free speech, and I explained to the world what Zelda is. Like our own Owen Good, I have a Master's Degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism ('99).
As I explore what to change and what to keep going as is, I am, as always, interested in your feedback. You can reach me at [email protected] or on twitter at twitter.com/stephentotilo. If you see me around, as so many of you have at PAX and other big shows, please say hello.
Happy New Year, and thank you — from the bottom of my heart — to all who made it possible.
P.S. Ok. I co-created Hogan Knows Best. It wasn't all my idea, thank god.