I've been up since 4:30am and now, seven hours later, I'm sat in a dimly lit room in the centre of Dublin surrounded by publicists and executives. It's a small room positioned beneath a local theatre, where coloured spotlights gently illuminate my seating area, and whose celebrity ambience is as far from the typical industry interview setup as I am from home.
Sitting across from me is WWE Superstar Mark Henry, the world's strongest man flown in to help promote WWE '13. I introduce myself, holding out my hand expecting it to be the last time I feel any sensation in my fingers. This man - this 405lb human tank - after all, is an Olympic weightlifter, World Heavyweight Champion and (allegedly) a self-professed sex addict. Anything, quite frankly, could happen. But instead of a bone-crushing grip, I'm greeted with a smile and a light, gentlemanly handshake...
'I actually have some ideas for creating a game myself. It would be wrestling meets war.'
David Scammell, VideoGamer.com: I was a bit nervous about shaking your hand.
Mark Henry, WWE Superstar: I don't squeeze. I get offended when people squeeze. But okay, let's do it again. You wanna squeeze?
Q: Er, I kinda do.
MH: You don't wanna do that!
Q: [laughs] Okay...! You've been a professional wrestler for almost two decades now. What does it take to get to your level? Is it a matter of willpower or pure physical strength?
MH: It's more a focus in having the ability to wait your turn, listen and not talk so much.
Q: Say someone like myself plays WWE '13 and thinks they have what it takes to get into the WWE. Would you say I stood a chance?
MH: I would think that you had lost your mind and you might need to be committed.
Q: In WWE '13, you can choose to play as Mark Henry as he is today or Mark Henry from 1998. Which one would you choose to play as?
MH: I'd be me today. I was pointing out that a young 26-year old Mark Henry didn't have knee pads on, and just because I wanted to be able to move more fluidly and not think about the protection that you were going to need, which I've really adopted now. I've been wearing knee braces since 2000, 2001.
Q: [Laughs] Do you play the WWE games yourself?
MH: I do.
Q: Are there any titles in the series that you've particularly enjoyed?
MH: This one [WWE '13] is looking like it could be my favourite. The main thing is the movement and the clarity. There are some things that have been changed in this one that in years past, it just didn't make sense. I like the camera change last year, I thought that was awesome. This year they just expanded on that and it's just ridiculous. It's revolutionary.
Q: If you could cameo in any video game besides a WWE game, what would it be?
MH: Well, it's funny you say that. I actually have some ideas for creating a game myself. Hopefully I can sit down for five minutes with the guys today and let them know. I think it would be really, really crazy.
Q: You want to do your own game with THQ?
Q: Would that be a wrestling game, or...
MH: Yeah. It would be wrestling meets war.
MH: Like, the RAW is war.
Q: That sounds pretty cool. I guess the WWE games may have changed slightly mechanically, but there's nothing like that that's totally refreshed them.
MH: Well, I mean, did you see the Wrestlefest? It's like the old school wrestling game. You know, when Yokozuna used to throw the salt and Doink the Clown used to do all the antics, and you'd see all this stuff. But you get updates and maybe every month there's three or four different wrestlers and a new ring that you could get. So there's some stuff that's kind of refreshing.
Q: And there's a variety of modes in WWE' 13. Special Referee is coming back for this year's game. Is there a mode you particularly like to play or do you keep it simple with normal rules?
MH: I pretty much keep it simple. I play the game the way it's meant [to be played]. I don't need cheats and stuff like that. I don't knock them. There's a place for them, people like them, but you know.
Q: But you enjoy playing the game. That's the main thing.
MH: Yeah, as long as you enjoy it and you can look at it and laugh as yourself. Have you played it?
Q: I played it briefly just before we sat down.
MH: You see the difference in the body types and the size and the way the ring moves. The ropes move better, the referees kind of stay out of the way and there's no going through each other.
Q: Right, yeah.
MH: This is the crowd. The people are shaped differently. They have a three-dimensional element to them. You see a lot of things that you didn't see last year, and that's just one year. I mean, you look at a five-year-old game to this game and this looks like television.
Q: Do you think it's quite there yet, or do you think there's more they could do?
MH: There's always room to improve on everything. But right now this is new technology. You see people, the way the tables and going through the barricades. I guess using the word revolutionary is kind of a tag but it fits, because there is new stuff that hasn't done. It is revolutionary.
WWE '13 launches on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii on November 2.