Goodbye, Kotaku UK!

By Keza MacDonald on at

When we launched Kotaku UK at Future Publishing, back in April 2014, I had to come up with a kind of mission statement. Our American colleagues had “the gamer’s guide” but, having spent weeks reading and researching everything that Kotaku did in preparation for launching a UK version, I felt like that didn’t really capture the funny, informative, occasionally anarchic mix of articles that made the site stand out. Kotaku is somewhere people come when they want something that isn’t a review or a preview – something Google can’t deliver them in a couple of clicks.

In the end I came up with “see games differently”. I felt like that phrase captured what this multivarious site was about: whether you’re reading a Destiny review from the perspective of fictitious characters, a big investigation into the troubled development of a game, or a post about a bizarre football sim made by somebody who knows nothing about football, you’re reading Kotaku because you want something different. Our remit is wide, covering news, opinion, game culture and humour, but the thing that all Kotaku’s coverage has in common is that it’s interesting. We turn to players for a cool story at least as often as we turn to developers and publishers. We’re not afraid to report on things that matter, even when it gets us in trouble or costs us access. We put the time into making sure our features and reporting are high-quality, well-edited, and true. And importantly: we’re enduringly enthusiastic. I love games, which is why I take them seriously.

It’s my last day at Kotaku UK today, and looking back over the last three and a half years, I reckon we’ve succeeded in offering something different. We’ve published a vast range of voices on all sorts of games, and more than a few esoteric topics.We’ve won a couple of awards for our journalism, which I’m immensely proud of. As the founding Editor it has been a pleasure to shape what Kotaku UK’s editorial stands for, and to work with such talented writers lending us their words. Our news editors Leon Hurley, Julian Benson and now Laura Kate Dale have defined the site just as much with their entertaining and thought-provoking coverage of the video game world. I’ve enormously enjoyed reading the impressive and always unpredictable work that comes in from our US colleagues every single day. I couldn’t be happier to be leaving Kotaku UK in the hands of acting editor Rich Stanton, whose deeply informed criticism of video games has graced the site since this Bloodborne lore-dive in 2015 – one of our most-read articles ever.

I can honestly say I read something I love on Kotaku almost every single day, which has made it a joy to work for. I’ve also had the opportunity to tell some extraordinary stories. Some of my favourite things I’ve written or edited over the years: our investigation into the state of Star Citizen, led ably by Julian Benson; this tragic but heartwarming tale of a 17-year-old cancer victim memorialised in Dying Light; this absolutely crazy Metal Gear Solid head transplant conspiracy; finally realising my childhood dream of going to the Pokemon World Championships; the infuriating story of how Fable Legends took down Lionhead; this investigation into PlayStation Home, Sony’s most successful disaster; these two reflective pieces on the biggest changes of the past decade in video games, and on why I play them at all.

I’ll miss Kotaku enormously, though I know it’ll do brilliantly without me. Before I go, I wanted to say thank you so much for reading, whether you’ve been here for years or found us more recently. This is absolutely the best job I’ve ever had.

Keza is joining The Guardian as Games Editor this week, and hopes her words will still appear on Kotaku from time to time. You can keep up with her on Twitter.