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Hamza CTZ Aziz's blog

This shark is heading off into the open ocean
10:51 AM on 01.06.2015
Some new things
4:29 PM on 10.06.2014
Just sharing some thoughts
8:35 PM on 07.31.2014
E3 2014: From the perspective of a Shark
10:47 AM on 06.09.2014
What's going on behind the scenes
5:42 PM on 05.17.2014
On Twitch
6:54 PM on 05.03.2014





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After nearly nine amazing, wonderful, and crazy years, my time at Destructoid has come to an end. I fell in love with this place ever since I first laid eyes on it, finding myself entranced by the gonzo writing style Niero produced in secret while working at his then day job. I will always love this website, all of the people I've had the pleasure of working with, and most of all the insane community that formed around us. We all had a hand in building something unique here. Something I'm confident in saying that changed the status quo when it came to how the games industry would be covered.  

It's a bit surreal having to write these words. A goodbye of sorts even though I'll still be around, checking in on the site, and seeing where things go from here. I'm excited for the track the site is heading on. With a renewed focus on doing the type of content that made Destructoid so special back in the early days. I'm confident the current team under the leaderships of Jordan Devore, Steven Hansen, Andy Dixon, and especially with Jonathan Holmes as Editor-in-Chief, can get us there. Hah, I wrote us. Once a Dtoider, always a Dtoider.
 
I started at Destructoid not because I wanted to be a great gaems journalismst, become part of this big industry, or anything fancy like that. None of us from the early days had that delusion. I was just lost and pretty depressed in life at the time, trying to figure out my future. Dtoid looked like a fun thing to be a part of when I discovered it and straight up, I lucked out big time getting involved with all this.
 
Long story short, Niero invited me on board out of the blue, and I found a new home that I felt I belonged to. It was an incredible feeling having an avenue to talk about something I loved when I was at home or needed to pass the time during my then day job. Never did I imagine this would turn into a full time gig, let alone end up in charge of this place eight years later.
 
I've grown up a lot thanks to my time here. Where once I could count the number of friends I had on one hand, I can now get overwhelmed simply thinking about the friends I have ALL OVER THE WORLD. Where once I was a depressed sad boy, I now want to spread joy to all those that I can. Where once I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I now know exactly who I am, and what I'm good at. 
 
Dtoid offered me a chance to grow and experiment in ways most jobs would never allow. I got to find myself ... believe in myself. I'm not perfect. I don't claim to have all the answers. And there were plenty of missteps along the journey. That's all part of growing up, to being human. 
 
My leaving is nothing against Destructoid. It's just personally, I feel it's time I see what else is out there. I'm dying. Like, dying in a "I'm human" sense, not because I have cancer or anything ... well I don't think I have cancer. Oh god this is a terrible joke. Point is, I'm mortal and I want to make the most of my existence with this thing called life.  
 
I have a plan for the future and need to grow from here to achieve it, simple as that. Parting ways has been an idea I've been wrestling with for a long while now. It was actually right before E3 2014 that I finally committed to the thought, determined to make the big trade show my last on the media side. I love the games industry, I still want to be a part of it, and wherever I end up next will let me continue to do that, hopefully. I wasn't in a rush to just split though. I took my time so I could leave the site in a state that -- on the backend of things at least -- it wouldn't know I'm even gone. 
 
I'm choking. I'm choking on air and feel tears swelling around my eyes now. It's out of happiness. Thinking about how once upon a time we were the scrappy underdogs that Nintendo wouldn't even give the time of day to whereas now we see Destructoid quotes appear on Nintendo games pretty regularly. That still blows my mind to this day. 
 
More importantly, I'm thinking about all the people that have become my friends through this journey, and through the friendship have helped shape who I am, whether they truly know it or not. Colette, Dyson, the Burches, YTMVK, Carnage, Leigh, Husky, Chester, Samit, Becca, Hollie, Maddock, Linde, Mxy, Joanna, Ali D, Conor, Max, Bill, Steven, Brett, Fronz, .tiff, DMV, Dale, Dixon, Jordan, Jake Harder, Jake D, Venom, Curtis, George, Genevieve, ARC, Lizzie, Carol, Chris, Meagan, Sebastian, Razak, Renelly, Chad, Alex V, King Friday, Joe Ark Sun, Dope, Fabien, Kovic, Shaun, Oshry, R3Y, Mikey, Brandon, Ray, Laura, Tara, Julio, Armando, Miguel, Hardin, Dustin, Justin, Yamilia, Jacq, Tim, Beccy, Stan, Nick, Lisa, Aubrey, Salisbury, Harrison, Regina, Jenn, Neal, Neil, Shannon, Jared, Jose, Cutie Honey, Jesse, Larsen, Sam, Bryan, Drew, Nathan, Rami, Nigel, Steph, Drake, Michelle, Bob, Karen, Casey, Eric, Ali, Neuman, Andy Eddy, David, King3Vbo, Jennie, Tina, Brian P, J, other J, Rubens, Togail, Stella, Caitlin, Faith, Taylor, Kristen, Stone, Alissa, Goebel, Long, Varian, Kye, Koh, Jessalyn, Dakota, Shannon, Danny, Rachel, Ben, Andrew, Kranzl, Tony, Kohler, Steve, Carboni, John Lee, Jermaine, Eric, Guitar Atomik, Carlos, Zac, Kyle, Darren, Danny, Edith, AngelsDontBurn, ArrestedDeveloper, S-Kill, Ben, BahamutZero, BigPopGamer, blehman, BlindsideDork, Casey, CannibalCalvin, Zimmerman, deiga-the-semivaliant, Adam, DJDuffy, Sterling, Nicholson, Professor Pew, mid3vol, Mel, Marcus, Amarisse, MrSadistic, GRIMECRAFT, Neonie, Qalamari, Rio, Jayson, Chanh, Sharpless, Snaileb, Powers, AJ, Jason, powerglove, Gamegoblin, Volcanon, and of course, Niero. Plus so so so many more names that I feel like a giant asshole for not being able to recall them. I'm just so thankful for all of you.
 
I guess my point in this word vomit of a goodbye is that life is a journey. You don't get there alone. I want to experience more, explore more, and enjoy life more. I'm going forward towards the next chapter of my journey, scared and excited at what the future holds. Thank you. For everything.
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Hamza CTZ Aziz
4:29 PM on 10.06.2014

Oh wow this is the first time I'm writing in our new C Blog editor. Hey look at how much easier it is now! Do you all like it? Any issues? 

Anyway, just wanted to share some new things on what's up behind-the-scenes. Right now you've probably noticed a new face on the front page. Wrenchfarm is all official and stuff now, look at his first post talking about the surprise hit, Shadow of Mordor

We've also leveled up Occams from mod status, and he's going to be right alongside Bill and Beccy on all things community. We brought on Occams as Andy Dixon is getting a new role/responsiblity going forward, and he'll be sharing the specifics on that soon.  

On the video front, the Twitch channel is back and running. It's not going to be like anything it was before back when Carnage, Venom, Pico, Foom, etc were running the show. That being more of a TV structured thing. It's going to be way more free form, and it's open to everyone that's on staff this time around. So maybe Andy will stream in his pink robe, or Brit will play JRPGs. We have no exact formual for it yet, intentially. We did want to at least get things going again. 

As for other video stuff on our YouTube, you may have noticed it's been all over the place. We're just experiementing, seeing what really works and takes. 

Other things are happening, though I don't want to talk about it until we're actually in the middle of it. Though maybe you've noticed what I'm alluding to already before I even wrote up this blog. HMMMMM. 

Whoa I just noticed the word counter to the right of this blog editor. Neat. 

Oh, I will at least tease we're going to be talking about a site redesign next month. I'll ask for your suggestions/ideas shortly before discussions happen. 

As always, ask me anything. 









Hi!†

So there's never a dull moment when you work in the wonderful world of video games. For instance, I just got finished with a move! That Dtoid HQ we had in SF is more or less done. For now at least. Why? Well San Francisco is getting more and more stupidly expensive. So we bailed! Thankfully the way we operate we don't need a central HQ to work so everything is functioning as normal.†

The "studio" we had has been moved over to Max's place, where he and Bill have been making some great content for our video efforts. They're still trying to settle in with the new setup, and we're aiming to start up our Twitch channel again potentially near the end of this month. The idea for how we approach Twitch this time around will be a once a week live show of whatever new game(s) were released that week. It'll be Max and Bill as the hosts, and we'll likely have random guests from our staff to industry people jumping in.†

Podtoid should start up again sometime shortly after Twitch is going too. It's always been rough making a podcast happen with multiple people in different time zones, so for this next version it's going to be the team we have in San Francisco in one room recording. And on video too! Hardline will continue as normal by the way, just expect less of me in it.†

As for the front page in general, we're working on a plan to hopefully help shift gears a little. Part of that plan means giving our veteran writers more time to work on deeper and richer content like original features and more reviews again while we bring in some new blood to focus more on the news/PR stuff so the veterans don't have to worry about that cycle as much. I think we'll be doing an open call for new writers, but we already have some people in mind so we'll see.†

Otherwise, I'm deep in the middle of organizing everything related to PAX. It looks like we'll have two events to throw with some great partners. And we're going to have a panel! It's not going to be a purely Destructoid focused panel this time around though. More of an entertainment panel with some other industry game pals. More details on that once PAX tells us the day/time it's happening.†

Lastly I saw Guardians of the Galaxy two damn weeks ago and for whatever dumb reason we've been under embargo until the movie opens tomorrow. Been dying to talk about it!

Oh yeah, go ahead and ask me anything.








Iím writing this on my flight down to Los Angeles for E3 right now. Iím excited. Itís nice knowing that events like this can still make me excited eight years into this career. Though itís an even mix of excitement between seeing new games, and seeing all the wonderful friends Iíve been fortunate enough to make that are located all over the world.†

This is going to be the first E3 that where weíre sending our smallest team ever. Dale North, Brett Makedonski, Darren Nakamura, Steven Hansen, Max Scoville, Bill Zoeker, and myself are all the people we have flying in. We also have Michael and Mike from Flixist for our video production needs to support Max and Bill as they do their video thing, and theyíre already based out of LA.†

I remember our first few E3s we would have EVERYONE out. People would also say we were an army, and it was kind of nice walking around with such a large crew. Those were wilder times for sure, and weíve changed a lot since then. The game industry has changed even more since our start as a company, and thatís partly why weíre not really worried that we have a smaller team at the show.†

Take a look at the E3 show floor plans today and compare them to just 10 years ago. Itís a bewildering difference. Thatís not to say everyone wonít be hustling and busting ass 12 hours a day. But weíre being smarter than ever about what we're going to cover. We have a good idea of what needs new previews and interviews over doing something where simply posting a new updated trailer would work. A new, for example, Armored Warfare trailer? Sure weíll post that. Write another preview for it? Haha no. Weíve picked our battles wisely.†

Weíre only a minor part of the E3 coverage equation though. Itís the home team that will be really putting in the most work, especially on Monday and Tuesday. Jordan, Andy, Chris, Brittany, Kyle, Jonathan Holmes, Patrick, Abel, Alessandro, and others will all be crucial in getting content from the press conferences on the site, and then navigating through the sea of assets that will be flooding our inboxes come noon on Tuesday, the second the E3 doors open. I canít thank them enough.†

As for me, Iím probably the most stressed out of everyone since Iím responsible for all the awards we do. I do them for every show I go to, and E3 always ends up being the hardest to predict. We have 12 categories this year, with a max of ten possible nominations for each. I have to narrow our lists down, then hand out the nomination cards to all the booths. Itís a process that takes up all of Tuesday, and parts of Wednesday and Thursday.†

Thereís some games we KNOW that will get nominations beforehand and theyíre already set. Largely because weíve seen them at past events/meetings already. Like The Witcher 3. Yeah thatís getting a Best of Show and Best RPG nominations already, thatís set. Thatís not to say it will win though. Thereís so many unknowns that it makes it hard to predict. I have a list of 14 potential games that are under the Game of the Show nominations or so right now just based on guess work/predictions. A list that has to be narrowed down to 10.†

Really the biggest hurdle is from Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. At this point I know what everyone has to show, even the unannounced stuff, I just canít talk about it until the game companies make it public (or shit ends up leaking). Itís the big three that have the biggest cards to deal. What will help ultimately is by Dale, Brett, Darren, Steven, Max, and myself seeing the unknowns in person and then debating it with anyone as needed to figure out the final parts of our nomination process.†

Iím stressing. But itís a good stress. Iím excited. I hope you stick with us for all our E3 coverage. Like always, feel free to ask me anything. Though it's E3 right now so I'll be really late in getting back to you all. Probably this weekend.








I'm going to focus on E3, as really our inboxes are just flooded with all things E3. Dale and I are splitting duties, he's focused on getting all the appointments in order while I manage and prep the team we have heading down to E3. Fact: We have the smallest team ever heading to E3 this year. It's funny, the first few E3s we went to we pretty much had our entire team out there. We were known for always bringing a crazy amount of folks to shows. These days, we go lean, largely because we've grown to realize you don't need an entire army at these shows. A majority of the work that gets done at E3 is by the home team, which Jordan is leading.

Dale is actually busting some serious ass, because on top of having to coordinate our appointment schedule that's growing and growing like crazy, he was also at the Pre-E3 Judges Show. Wait, Pre-E3 Judges Show? What's that?! For the last several years now, a handful of game companies will converge at a location (typically Santa Monica) to do a showcase of all the stuff they'll have on demo at E3 for a select group of press. We're seeing the content early because these companies know how hectic E3 itself can be, and want a chance to make sure the judges get proper time to experience the new product. After E3, judges then vote on the various categories for the Game Critics Awards.†



I didn't attend this year so I don't know what new outlet was added, but every year you can knock some outlets off of the list. From last year to this year's show, there's no more OXM, Penny Arcade Report, or Revision 3.

In more personal stuff, I was just playing the new Wolfenstein. I can't talk about it until our review goes up Monday night, but if you read my preview about it a while back, well, my feelings haven't changed that's for sure. Also been playing Transistor, another one I can't talk about until later on in the week (embargo!).

Anyway, that's been most of my Saturday thus far. You all want to do another AMA with me? I can try and rope in some of the other writers if you leave them a specific question too. :)







Hamza CTZ Aziz
6:54 PM on 05.03.2014

Why we're shutting down our Twitch efforts as you've known it? Because we couldn't afford it any longer. Since day one, the amount of money we put into Twitch has always been more than we've ever gotten out of it. This was never about making money, with Twitch or anything else at the site, but at some point we needed to be breaking even at the very least, and we just didn't see it happening any time soon despite our best efforts. And because of it we just couldn't afford to pay Phil and Spencer anymore, and what we even could wasn't much in the first place, just ask them.

We really didn't want to let Phil and Spencer go, and if things are able to change in a significant way where making a daily show makes sense at all in the future we'd love to have them back. I know they'll keep streaming though, and follow them on Twitter to see what their own channel will be about. Also buy their shirt: http://teespring.com/PizzaKids

The Twitch channel isn't going dark permanently, and it'll come back down the line, just not as a daily thing anymore.