Interviewing the man behind the man in the top hat
Battery Acid got to interview the creator of the famous Professor Layton Twitter once thought to be an ad campaign for the North American release of the upcoming Level-5 game, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box.
Battery Acid: Could you give a brief explanation of who you are?
Roger DiLuigi: I’m Roger DiLuigi, Contributing Editor at GamingVice.net and an ardent Nintendo fanboy for as long as I can remember.
Battery Acid: So what connection did you have to the Professor Layton Twitter?
Roger DiLuigi: I’m the guy who started TopHatProfessor (The Layton Twitter) and the one who is currently updating the page in-character.
Battery Acid: Why did you do it?
Roger DiLuigi: I’ve actually gotten this question asked to me quite a few times over the past couple days. Long story short, I was going through my E3 press kits and saw that Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box was scheduled for a release in August.
This sort of shocked me since Nintendo didn’t even make a passing mention of the sequel coming to America in their press conference despite the fact that the original game did quite well.
That said, I was a huge fan of the original game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and I figured that if Nintendo wasn’t going to take the initiative to make sure that the upcoming game was going to get the attention and hype it deserved before release, I would make sure that it happened to the best of my abilities.
Battery Acid: So was this all pre-planned or did you just wing it?
Roger DiLuigi: This was not pre-planned, not even in the slightest. I just thought that the Twitter would be a fun side project during the summer.
I figured that if I could get even 500 people to follow the page that would be enough for me. I didn’t expect the couple thousand followers that I have today.
Battery Acid: So is this a one time thing or do you plan on continuing to help out games that deserve some advertisement?
Roger DiLuigi: (laughs) This is most certainly a one-time thing. Had it not been for the fact that the Layton sequel didn’t even garner a mention at the E3 conference, I never would’ve done this in the first place.
That said, I’m really glad I did because it’s been a really fun experience and some of the positive reactions I’m hearing on different podcasts and blogs about the Twitter page have gotten me hopeful for the success of this sequel.
Battery Acid: So how long with this Twitter campaign go on? Until summer’s over?
Roger DiLuigi: Until the release of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box in North America on August 24th. After that, if people still want me to tweet a few riddles every now and then or help out and serve as a sort-of interactive strategy guide for the game post-release, I might be down with the idea.
Battery Acid: So how did you get in contact with Will Thompson?
Roger DiLuigi: Will and I actually met at E3. I had just gotten back from the Nintendo Press Conference and went into the press room in the convention center to do a little write-up about the conference before I actually went on the show floor. He was sitting at the same press room table as I was. We exchanged business cards, followed each other on Twitter, and had a brief conversation about what we thought of the Metroid: Other M announcement. honestly though, I think our mutual love of Nintendo is what kept us in contact. (laughs)
Roger DiLuigi: No, actually. I had zero intention of having any other Layton characters on Twitter. He just happened to find out that I was the one behind TopHatProfessor very early on and mentioned in a direct message that he had an idea. Next thing I knew, Luke had his own Twitter page and commented on how wonderful Flora’s cooking was.
(laughs) It was at that point that I knew we had something cool on our hands or, at the very least, something others could enjoy and become engrossed in.
Battery Acid: So what about the other characters on Twitter? Do you know them?
Roger DiLuigi: No, I don’t know. I still to this day have no idea who the guys playing Don Paolo and Inspector Chemley are. I was the one behind the Flora Twitter though during the “Layton is kidnapped” mini-story arc we made.
There also seems to be someone Twittering as “Random Bridge Guy” from Professor Layton and the Curious Village and while it made me laugh I have no idea who that is.
Battery Acid: Ah. So has Nintendo contacted you?
Roger DiLuigi: As of now, I still haven’t received a response from them. I e-mailed and called my three Golin Harris/Nintendo PR representatives about the Twitter immediately after it launched and I have also contacted Nintendo of America but I have yet to receive a response.
This is despite the fact that they have answered other people’s e-mails regarding the Twitter (laughs).
Battery Acid: That is pretty funny. So why did you reveal yourself all of a sudden?
Roger DiLuigi: Here we go. This seems to be the question that everyone wants to know the answer to. (laughs)
Battery Acid: (laughs)
Roger DiLuigi: I originally had no intention of ever revealing myself. I was trying to keep my identity a secret and was planning on keeping it that way throughout the entire process. In fact, in a move that actually got me banned from the forum, I posted a thread on the internet gaming message board NeoGAF about “a cool Layton Twitter that people should check out” since I thought I would never reveal myself.
And, since I wasn’t making any money from this venture, I figured that no harm could be done. GAF, on the other hand took it the wrong way. (laughs) Honestly though, this was worth getting banned for.
As for why I all of a sudden revealed myself, here’s your answer. Basically I was getting a little nervous since I had not received any sort of response from Nintendo that I might not have been allowed to do this Twitter.
Looking back on it, I realized this was idiotic of me since fanboys make character themed websites of Mario, Zelda, and Pokemon characters everyday. That said though, I wanted to be safe, just in case. So, I decided I had to close the Layton Twitter. It was at this point that I decided to finally answer the question that I had been bombarded with ever since I first started TopHatProfessor: “Who are you?”
I figured “What harm could it do to tell all the followers who I am. They’re never going to take the time to care about who I was.”
And, just so I could avoid any sort of links to my other works, I took out my homepage links and even the links to my personal Twitter that i started about a week after TopHatProfessor had it been up and running.
I figured “What harm could it do to tell all the followers who I am? They’re never going to take the time to try and find about who I was.” Some people however, realized that I was Wii Will Rock u on GAf and my banning came soon enough.
Battery Acid: Are you a fan of Level 5’s work?
Roger DiLuigi: Absolutely. Not only is Layton one of my favorite handheld franchises but Jeanne d’Arc for PSP was one of the reasons I purchased that system in the first place. Not to mention, the stuff that Level 5 is working on in Japan such as the Studio Ghibli animated DS RPG called “The Another World” looks great.
The company does a brilliant job of meshing story, character and gameplay together into beautiful and cohesive experiences.
Battery Acid: So do you have any titles you’re looking forward to this year?
Roger DiLuigi: Aside from Layton and the Diabolical Box, I’m also very interested in Scribblenauts and Zelda: Spirit Tracks. I played both of those demos on the show floor at E3 this year and I walked away very impressed. New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Uncharted 2 and Wii Sports Resort (which releases in a week or so) all look top-notch too.
Oh and Muramasa: The Demon Blade and Tastunoko vs. Capcom.
Those should occupy my gaming needs for the rest of the year. (laughs)
Battery Acid: So do you have any final comments or anyone you’d like to call out?
Roger DiLuigi: I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who has been following TopHatProfessor and saying such nice things about the Twitter experience on their various podcasts and blogs.
It has been an honor for me to do this and really, the Layton series really deserves all the attention it can get.
So there you go guys. I’m very thankful that I was allowed to interview the guy since he’s had other interview proposals and what he’s doing shows how much of a fan he is of the game. Maybe you should try doing something like this Nintendo…
You can go ahead and follow TopHatProfessor on Twitter here. Be sure to be quick when answering those trivia questions!