Harrisonâ??s first industry wage: £50

Harrisonâ??s first industry wage: £50

By Rob Crossley

December 2nd 2009 at 10:34AM

Former head of Sony Worldwide Studios recounts modest roots and big breaks

In 1984 Phil Harrison scribbled some graphics for an Oric game called Insect Insanity. He was paid £50.

Eight years later he got a call from Sony.

In an interview with Develop, the former head of Sony Worldwide Studios looks back at the beginnings of what is already a prodigious career for the Development Legend Award winner.

Two decades ago, Harrison was “blagging jobs, pushing myself forward”, working for various companies such as Probe, and System 3.

Harrison recalls: “At system 3 my main duties were ordering the pizzas, making tea and designing a game called Myth on the C64.”

The full feature reveals that Harrison scored his first job at Sony after an impromptu 15 minute meeting at Heathrow airport.

But perhaps Harrison’s biggest break can be found in a meeting with Ken Kutaragi in 1996, where the “father of PlayStation” asked him if he’d like to move to Tokyo.
 
“I remember it was a bit awkward, because I actually didn’t,” reveals Harrison.

“I like visiting Tokyo, but I didn’t want to live there, so I tried to be polite and maybe a bit vague, but was basically saying no. And he said, ‘Good, because I want you to go to San Francisco’. I was there four weeks later.”

The full feature recounts the later stages of Harrison’s career; from PS2 to PS3 to Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, to the Killzone and Motorstorm demos, to accusations of ‘Sony arrogance’, to why he left the firm in 2008.

Click here to read Develop’s interview with Phil Harrison.