In an exclusive interview with Cultaholic, Justin Leeper, the Lead Narrative Designer for the highly anticipated video game AEW Fight Forever, shared his experience of collaborating with professional wrestler Kenny Omega.
Leeper's words painted a picture of Omega's influential involvement, an integration of fandom and expert knowledge in video games, on the project that elevates him beyond his acclaimed performance in the wrestling ring.
Omega's Active Creative Direction in AEW Fight Forever
According to Leeper, Omega, while not officially holding the title, filled the role of a Creative Director for AEW Fight Forever, a position that allowed him to lend his unique perspective and expertise.
He recalled, "Kenny was the one who gave editing passes and approvals to all of the scripts I wrote." This was not an uncommon occurrence, as it mirrored practices employed in WWE. However, Leeper pointed out a distinguishing factor in Omega’s approach; his hands-on and proactive involvement even before Leeper joined the project.
It was during their initial conversations that Leeper quickly realized Omega's deep understanding and passion for video games. He noted, "We talked about the kind of games we liked; Persona or Yakuza or all these other games.
He’s got a super wealth of knowledge of games. Of course, from across the pond as well, having spent a lot of time in Japan like I did." This compliment was not just a nod towards Omega's familiarity with global gaming but also an acknowledgment of his ability to leverage that knowledge in a creative capacity.
Leeper, who has long admired Omega as a performer, expressed a newfound level of respect for him after their collaboration. What stood out to him was Omega's humility and open-mindedness, traits Leeper deemed vital in a client.
He commended, "Omega knows when to defer, when to say, 'I don’t know how this works, so you tell me.' He’s willing to collaborate, to fulfill ideas in achievable ways." Finally, Leeper acknowledged Omega as a dream collaborator on the project, summarizing his experience in a gratifying manner.
"To get to know him in a business capacity," Leeper concluded, "was another level of respect." His insights reflect the multifaceted nature of Kenny Omega, not just as a world-renowned professional wrestler but also as a passionate gamer and a remarkable collaborator, contributing significantly to the development of AEW Fight Forever.