EG Expo 2009 aftermath interview

How did it go, and where from here?

The Eurogamer Expo is officially over. We'd like to thank everyone who came along, every developer and publisher who contributed their time, games and career advice to attendees, and all the people who made it possible to have two such enjoyable shows in one week. You can bet it's an exercise we'll repeat.

Before we completely wrap up our coverage for the year, I thought we should have one last word with Eurogamer's managing director Rupert Loman, who has spent so much of the last two years making these events work, and get his thoughts on what went down, and what we can expect for the future.

Eurogamer: Alright boss. How's the head?

Rupert Loman: I'm having a duvet day today, and by the sound of it most of the other guys are also taking it easy after seven long and tiring days. We popped open some champagne when we got home last night and sat around telling Expo stories.

Eurogamer: The Eurogamer Expo 2009 is now over. We did Leeds and London this year over four days. Are you satisfied with how it went?

Rupert Loman: Absolutely. We've had fantastic feedback. The venues both looked amazing and were a real step up from last year. We delivered a lot of great games and sessions. There's always things we can improve, but I think we got the vast majority right.

Eurogamer: What's your favourite memory of the whole event, apart from my sessions on Tuesday and Saturday obviously?

Rupert Loman: It's hard to pick out a single moment. It was just a whole week of banter, laughter, hard work and small moments that made us feel very proud to have put on an event for the community. Waking up and putting on the telly on Tuesday in my hotel room and seeing the show (and lots of Eurogamer logos) on GMTV was quite nice!

Eurogamer: A lot of people have asked me if we'll go back to Leeds next year. I've said yes, so we have to go. We're going back, aren't we?

Rupert Loman: We will sit down later this week and work out what we want to do next year. I'd like to do Leeds again if we can, but there's lots of factors that will come into consideration.

Eurogamer: We had tons of games across the two venues. Any favourites from your perspective?

Rupert Loman: I only played a couple of games all week! Joe Danger, in the indie arcade, was very cool. It could be as successful as Trials HD was. Heavy Rain looks great. The presentations of Brink and Splinter Cell Conviction were both excellent.

Eurogamer: Is it true that a nine-year-old child beat you at FIFA 10?

Rupert Loman: Rumours of this have been greatly exaggerated. It was nil-nil, and I think he was actually seven or eight years old. (By the way, this was on the EA Hub outside of the venue - you had to be 15 to attend the Expo!)

Eurogamer: Lots of developers came along too. You're usually busy at the coalface while I fly around the world meeting these people, so it must have been quite exciting. Who did you get to meet and what were they like?

Rupert Loman: I briefly met David Cage and Chet Faliszek who had come over to the UK for the event who both put on very popular sessions. Both were cool! Plus it was great to see top UK developers wandering around the show playing games and (hopefully) enjoying themselves - Miles Jacobson [Sports Interactive], Paul Wedgwood [Splash Damage], Nick Baynes [Black Rock], David Amor [Relentless] etc.

Eurogamer: It wasn't all good, of course. Probably. I mean, it was for me, because I just walked around being mobbed by lingerie models and that. But are there things you'd do differently in hindsight? And if people have feedback, how should they submit that?

Rupert Loman: We're sending out a survey to everyone who bought a ticket very shortly which will allow them to tell us what they thought of the show. This will in turn directly impact what we do with next year's show. And of course there's already a couple of things we know about that we will improve on next year.

Eurogamer: One question we got a couple of times was "where is Modern Warfare 2?" Let's clear this up once and for all: which miserable idiot wouldn't let us have it? Who do we heckle?

Rupert Loman: We did try to get Modern Warfare 2 at the show but Activision chose not to bring it. However, it actually worked out quite well. Most Modern Warfare fans know what to expect with Modern Warfare 2, so it not being at the show allowed hardcore Call of Duty fans to get hands-on with lots of other great products they otherwise might not have tried - and we saw lots of people getting won over by the likes of Brink, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Left 4 Dead 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Heavy Rain, God of War III, Lost Planet 2 and so on.

Eurogamer: I don't know about you, but I thought Leeds was a wonderful city. However, some of the devs - particularly for the GI.biz Career Fair - preferred to stay in London. Do you think they'll be more inclined to venture North next year now they've seen how successful it was?

Rupert Loman: We were made very welcome by the people (and pubs) of Leeds. Our partners Game Republic helped us bring the show to the city and I know they want to do it again next year. It was disappointing that some of the sessions we had in London weren't possible in Leeds but if we do more than one city again next year, we'll try harder to share things between them.

Eurogamer: Incidentally, is there any truth to the rumour you sited the Leeds Expo at the Royal Armouries because there's a Pizza Express next door and you're addicted to dough balls?

Rupert Loman: The Pizza Express dough balls (with garlic butter) are something special, but that's not the reason we went to the Royal Armouries. Honest. Incidentally, they ran out of food (as did two branches of Subway in London and a Tesco Express) because of the Expo.

Eurogamer: Speaking of planning, let's talk Eurogamer Expo 2010. What's the deal? More people? Bigger venues? New locations? Spill!

Rupert Loman: No idea! There was great feedback about the London venue so I think we might do it again at Old Billingsgate next year. But in terms of how big, and which other cities, that's something we'll work on over the next couple of months. We'll announce details as early in 2010 as possible, and thanks to everyone who's already contacted us to buy tickets for next year! That was a nice surprise.

Eurogamer: Finally, as the visible faces of Eurogamer, people like Johnny, Ellie and myself get nice comments about the Expo, even though the team working on it is huge and we're the least of it. Let's name and praise the people who made it all go off without a hitch/too many fire alarms. Who are the unsung heroes of the Expo?

Rupert Loman: It was all down to David Lilley and Tom Champion, plus Stevie Hassard from our events company. They worked incredibly hard at the show and also for the months leading up to it. So many things had to be thought about and issues had to be dealt with - their dedication and ability to stay cool under pressure meant it went off without any major hitches.

Eurogamer: You left one name off that list, of course: Rupert Loman, Official King of the Eurogamer Expo. I know you've put your back into this for the best part of two years, and the results are there for everyone to see. Congratulations boss!

Rupert Loman: Thank you!

Eurogamer: Now go and practice FIFA 10. I'm still embarrassed.

Rupert Loman: Let's have a game tomorrow!

They chilled on Sunday.

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