Phil Fish's love/hate relationship with the gaming industry has come to an abrupt end this weekend. Fish, after a day-long argument that turned Twitter into a war-zone, canceled his only recently announced title Fez II, announced his immediate departure from "The Industry" and then made his Twitter account private. So ends the dramatic saga that has been Phil Fish's career in gaming... to be concluded?
The day began with Marcus Beer, the Annoyed Gamer's show on Game Trailers. Beer in his standard rant addressed both Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish, who he called "BlowFish" and their criticism of media with regards to rumors surrounding Xbox One indie self-publishing. He then off-handedly criticizes their games and states they continuously bitch and moan. Beer made it personal and said some very rude things.
Here's the full text of Beer's rant:
"But, of course, the press, wanting to get reactions, they went to a couple of indie developers. In this case, Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish, because those guys are the self-styled kings of the indie genre. They’ve been on Indie Game: The Movie, and they’ll turn up and quote for anything and everyone. And Ms. Fish and Blow, or BlowFish as I’m going to call the two them right, because while they may be moderately tasty, they’re also kind of lethal. [They] decided to go bananas and bitch and moan to Game Informer, in particular about “How dare you, how dare you ask us questions about this story! I’m sick of you guys wanting my opinion on this story!” Both of them, both bitching away. And I’ve just got a little message for the BlowFish. Gents, you are the guys who did Indie Games: The Movie, and some of you looked relatively normal in it, one of you looked like a total tosspot in it. You can’t have it both ways. You’re successful game designers, you’re indie game designers--hurrah, good for you, you ****ing hipsters. Let’s get something out of the way. If you are successful and you want people to promote your games, and you go to the press and give them quotes for anything that pertains to your shilling your next title, when the press, then, come to you and say “this is something that’s pertinent to the indie scene, let’s talk to BlowFish because BlowFish are successful and they are, you know, supposedly these pioneers” don’t get ****ing snicky about it, alright? Jesus, you should be grateful that these guys consider what you say something of use.. Me? I think the both of you are a pair of tosspots. You may make good games. Well, Blow makes...Blow makes a good game. Fez, I’m just not into at all. I’m just not into it. I respect people that do [enjoy it]. My own personal opinion, though? Having seen these wankers over and over again, bitch and moan--Phil Fish in particular, though.
Whiny? He’s a ****ing ***hole most of the time. I’m an ***hole, but that’s what I am, that’s what I do. I suck it up. But what I’m saying is that if you guys want the promotion the next time around on your Fez 2 or...what’s the follow-up to Braid, The Witless? Witless? Whoa! Yeah, c’mon. I would like to say to every outlet who got dismissed by BlowFish, **** ‘em. Next time they have something to shill, say “yeah, not so much interested.” It is a two-way street, it’s a symbiotic relationship. You guys are out there, you have to suck it up."
Those who have followed Phil Fish know where it went next. Phil Fish isn't one to let anything go by without a response, let alone a direct personal attack by a member of the media with a wide audience. Nevertheless, Phil Fish escalated the scenario almost immediately, telling Beer via Twitter, "compare your lifte to mine and then kill yourself," along with a quantity of other rather unsavory exclamations. (It should be noted that the "kill yourself" quote is taken from Futurama, but that's almost besides the point)
This is an image capture of the initial tweets that Phil Fish sent out after he had watched Beer's video:
From there things got out of hand. Phil Fish's comments were shipped out to thousands of followers on Twitter, some of which wanted nothing more than to ruin Fish's day. Fish, of course, replied to many of their rather disturbing or ignorant comments, often without poise or thought. Finally Fish decided he had had enough. Not just of Beer, not just of Twitter, but of the industry at large.
Phil Fish then stated Fez II was canceled via Twitter, which he later confirmed via email with various media outlets. His final tweet before he locked his Twitter account down?
"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. you win."
Despite what Phil Fish says, there are no winners in this situation. Gamers lose the opportunity to see and play would could have been an outstanding game in Fez II, Phil Fish loses his venue of self-expression, and even the haters lose because winning to them is just a perpetuation of their own flaws and twisted worldview. If anyone comes out ahead here, hopefully it's Phil Fish, who can hopefully relax and find some peace for a time.
That doesn't excuse Fish's constant negativity, but it's something I hope for the man who despite his words, quite clearly cares very much about gaming and development. The Kaufman doesn't lie, hopefully Phil Fish and Fez II will be back before too long.