Phil Fish Cancels FEZ II After A Vicious Twitter Meltdown
It must have been a rather interesting Sunday for the followers of Phil Fish on Twitter. In what ended up being a matter of hours, the famed FEZ creator and co-developer experienced a complete meltdown over the social media portal, eventually culminating in the cancellation of FEZ II and his apparent departure from the gaming industry entirely.
So how did this all happen? Well, it’s no secret that Phil Fish gets a lot of hate. The FEZ developer came under fire last year for seemingly racist comments made about Japanese games and its developers, which did absolute wonders for his name across the world. What’s more, Phil Fish has always been known to be rather egotistical, often publically complaining about companies and people that do him wrong, and then not being able to handle the same criticism when thrown back at him.
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It’s a little bit like the whole “well, he started it scenario”, and Phil Fish struggles to find ways to deal with harsh, and sometimes unnecessary, criticism. In fact, this very trait of his is what sparked this entire meltdown, after Fish took to Twitter to reply to comments made by writer Marcus Beer, more commonly known as the “Annoyed Gamer” on GameTrailers. It all began with a three or so minute rant on the website’s “Invisible Walls” panel, where Beer attacked both Phil Fish and Johnathan Blow for refusing to release statements regarding Microsoft’s Indie policy changes, which will allow self-publishing on the Xbox One and Xbox 360, among other things.
Beer somewhat went over the line as well, going on to call Blow and Fish “self-styled kings of the indie genre,” as well as branding the pair as “Blowfish”. Beer then continued, saying the pair were “bitching and moaning” about a reasonable media request for their reaction to a significant industry development. Concluding the three minute segment, Beer basically stated that the two only sought publicity when it painted them in a favourable light, avoiding the same publicity when it didn’t serve their promotional needs. A view, might I add, I wholeheartedly agree with. When was the last time you heard Phil Fish praising something, rather than slandering it?
“Have you seen these wankers bitch and moan—Phil Fish in particular. Whiny? He’s a fucking asshole most of the time.”
This, of course, prompted a heated response from Fish over Twitter, with the developer demanding an on-camera apology. Fish also took this opportunity to clarify that he had yet to release a statement regarding the Xbox One because he had chosen to wait for more details from Microsoft.
As you can expect, things just snowballed into an even worse situation for both parties, with Fish eventually telling Beer to compare their lives and go kill himself. Because that’s a mature and logical response, isn’t it? Beer ended his involvement at this point, telling Fish that he’d be at PAX if he wanted to repeat that on camera. Fish then made his Twitter account private, blocking any new followers up until that point to see his posts.
Fish then continued. “I fucking hate this industry,” posted Fish, which is probably the result of all the abuse that has been hurled at him over the past few years, which he has often failed to address in an orderly and professional manner. A few hours later, Fish dropped a bomb shell that made him lose a lot of respect in a lot of people’s eyes.
“im done, FEZ II is canceled. goodbye.”
“and im getting out of games because i choose not to put up with this abuse anymore.”
This was followed by an official tweet from development house Polytron.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we announce that FEZ II has been cancelled and is no longer in development. We apologize for the disappointment”
Fish then took it upon himself to emphasise that this decision was not made purely on the events of yesterday, but instead as the last straw in a string of discretions against him. A short message on the Polytron website confirmed that FEZ II was no longer in development, and that Fish was seemingly done with games for good.
FEZ II is cancelled.
i am done.
i take the money and i run.
this is as much as i can stomach.
this is isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign.
Now, this seems like a bit of a harsh and childish response to something that game developers deal with on a daily basis. In fact, anyone in the business of expressing themselves through a particular medium is subject to the wrath of other people’s opinions and criticisms, regardless of whether they’re valid or not. It’s the risk you run for putting yourself out there, and game designers, triple A to indie, are no exception. I mean, just last week a Black Ops II developer received death threats for changes made to weapons in the online multiplayer. The gaming community is home to some really despicable people, and part of the game is learning how to deal with it.
That said, I’m in no way trying to condone some people’s remarks, but I’m also not going to try and depict Fish as an angelic creature. Just like everyone else, Fish was human, but one trait that the developer constantly made the world aware about was his lack of acknowledging his own mistakes. In fact, you can look at the release of FEZ as a good example. The game featured a nasty bug that prevented paying customers from playing. Instead of acknowledging the mistake and paying the agreed upon fee for a patch (you think Phil didn’t sign a contract at some point?), he chose to attack the company that he had dealt with to receive his big break in the industry.
See what I’m trying to say here? I’m not saying Beer was completely right in the way he expressed his views, but most of the criticisms thrown at Fish are rather valid. And how does Fish react? By cancelling his game and telling Beer to go kill himself.
Fish, if you really are gone from this industry, then I really don’t think many are going to miss you with an attitude like that. Our forums are full of people flinging around comments similar to yours. We seriously don’t need people with that type of culture developing meaningful experiences for us to play, comment on and then get criticized for.
In closing, I love Fez, it’s a brilliant game. I just really, really have no respect for Phil Fish. But please, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.