Today's episode of The New Eurogamer Podcast is bitter-sweet. Sweet in the sense it's about someone at the very heart of Eurogamer - someone who has worked here for a colossal 14 years, shaping the website and leading it - but bitter because they are now leaving. Sniff. They are, of course, Oli Welsh.
Oli wrote about his decision to move on in an Editor's blog post, which you've probably read. He explained he wanted a new challenge after so long, which is a great attitude to have. And it's a big decision he speaks much more about in this episode of the Podcast. Understandably, it's right at the front of his mind (and the episode).
I remember when Oli joined Eurogamer. He was brought on in the role of MMO Editor, which had been dreamt up by then editor Tom Bramwell, and then owner Rupert Loman, in an effort to bag someone of obvious talent. If you've read Oli's work, you'll know why. He's annoyingly eloquent and thoughtful. It's as though he has a special critic's typewriter he uses to bang out weighty reviews. I often think of him as the feared critic Anton Ego in Ratatouille - that documentary about a rat that can cook - but I'll never tell him that.
The decision to hire him turned out to be an inspired one, because when Tom Bramwell left Eurogamer in 2014, it was Oli Welsh who stepped into his dauntingly large shoes. And since then, he and Wesley Yin-Poole, who was his deputy for many years, led Eurogamer through thick and thin, helping establish so many of the things I, and probably you, take for granted on the site today.
It's frankly a surprise that after so long working together I knew so little about him. Would you nosily enquire about Anton Ego's life? No I don't think so. But it's something I set out to remedy in this episode, so join me as we chart a path through Oli's childhood, a time of writing mock film reviews (goodness me, he started early!), through his years at Edge Magazine and then on to becoming Eurogamer editor, and all the ups and downs and roundabouts that has entailed. Join me too in wishing Oli a very fond farewell and a hearty 'good luck!' for the future - something else we talk about in this episode.
Incidentally, here are a couple of the pieces I mention in the piece:
- Someone Should Make a Game about Light Switches (the article that is the key to understanding Oli, according to Christian Donlan)
- Oli's wonderful, if controversial, Metal Gear Solid 4 review
- And Oli's Fez review (one of his favourites)
Episode six of The New Eurogamer Podcast is now available to all, and you can find it here or on all major podcast platforms (and if you can't find it somewhere, please let me know). Here are some handy links:Eurogamer supporters get the Podcast first because without them, it would never have returned.
As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts, either in the comments here on in the Eurogamer Discord, but do note that I'm having a break for Christmas to recharge my Berteries. I'll be back in the New Year and I have some great guests lined up for 2022. See you then!