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Phil Fish : Leaves Gaming, Trolls Rejoice

Phil Fish, the creator of the critically acclaimed Fez, has left the games industry. Fez 2, the follow up title in the series, has also been cancelled, although Polytron still say they will keep going as there ‘is still much porting to do!’.

Now, the reason Fish has given for his stunning decision, is that he couldn’t take any more abuse, abuse that has been aimed at him for several years, but which culminated in an astonishing attack on Fish and Braid creator Jonathon Blow by Marcus Beer, the infamous ‘Annoyed Gamer’, in a Gametrailers show.

Beer launched an incredible tirade of abuse, accusing Fish of being a ‘tosspot’, a ‘fucking hipster’, and much, much more. Now you would think that Fish had done something terrible to Beer, either something deeply personal to him, or completely outlandish to the wider industry that must have sparked this reaction from the ‘Annoyed Gamer’?

Nope, it was because the indie developers were slow in commenting on Microsoft’s decision to allow indie developers to self publish on Xbox One. Yes, you got that right, Beer attacked them because they didn’t respond to a press question right away.Fez Screen

What has the videogame press turned into? When they feel so aggrieved that a games creator would dare¬†not comment on a story that they wanted a comment on, that they would not do as they were told. After all, as Beer says, developers and the games media have a symbiotic relationship, and devs can’t have it both ways.

Horseshit. If Fish only wants to talk about the things he wants to talk about, that is entirely up to him, he is not beholden to anyone. If the press don’t like it, then they can be childish and not cover his games. The press are there to publish news, comment and reviews, and if certain elements of the press wish to start behaving like tabloids, and ‘punishing’ people for not speaking to them, or for not saying exactly what the press want them to say, then the videogames industry is going down a very dangerous path.

The big publishers, like EA and Activision may not give a shit if some wally on a made up ‘talkshow’ gives them abuse- they know that only a tiny percentage of actual purchasers of games watch these things, but to a one or two man team that have put their heart and soul into a game? It hurts when someone abuses you.

Beer and the horde of Twitter users who have stuck the knife into Fish may say that, if he can’t take the heat, he shouldn’t make games, but the ability of someone to create a game should be based on their, well, ability. Not how well they respond to Twitter abuse and some bloke who really, desperately wants to be a shock jock, but just isn’t good enough.

The scary thing is, it is issues like this that will stop new blood coming into the industry. It won’t stop someone like¬†Cliff Bleszinski, all balls and bravado, but it may just stop the next Phil Fish from entering into the indie space, deciding instead to disappear into one of the larger companies or not entering into the industry at all.

Someone gave a Twitter troll a microphone and a platform, and we lost a developer because of it. For shame.

For what it is worth, I don’t even like Fez.

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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.

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  1. Never played Fez but you can’t knock its success. Couldn’t agree more with the article. The close relationship between fans and developers with the media as the sandwich in the middle is a double-edged sword. Outbursts like this do little to promote the medium as mature – quite the opposite.

  2. I fully agree. Great article!

  3. I think this runs deeper than you have covered in this article. Phil Fish is well known for trolling forums and saying ridiculous things in the media. Fair enough AnnoyedGammer could have just kept his nose out of it, but that’s his opinion and GameTrailers allowed him to voice it. I am extremely surprised GT allowed that barrage of abuse to air on their show. The reason is ridiculous though.

    The world of gaming is most certainly turning into the world of Eastenders.

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