Giant Bomb News

876 Comments

So, Fez II

Some stuff happened over the weekend.

Fez II is no longer in active development, according to developer Polytron and its designer, Phil Fish. That’s the word from Fish, who dropped his mic this weekend.

“FEZ II is cancelled,” said Fish in a statement on Polytron’s website. "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.”

For the record, I don’t believe him, even though I’ve “confirmed” the news with Fish myself over email. I suspect we will, at some point, see (and play) the sequel to Fez, but this weekend’s events provide an opportunity for Fish to leave the spotlight and protect his sanity from the world and, well, himself. Fish speaks too passionately about games to leave them behind. That isn’t some subtle hint, either. It’s my gut feeling.

But how did we get here? It begins with the latest episode of Invisible Walls, a Game Trailers podcast, featuring a lengthy rant from Marcus Beer, a longtime member of the industry now commentating under the named “Annoyed Gamer.” The podcast was discussing the recent turn of events regarding Xbox One self-publishing, and how both Fish and Braid designer Jonathan Blow used Twitter to criticize the press for running towards both of them for quotes about what was, then, still a rumor coming from Game Informer about the news. A rumor with some legitimacy? Sure, and while it eventually proved true, Blow was upset reporters were asking for commentary without more information (for example, the revenue share ratio) and Fish lamented the press seeking a quote before everything was confirmed. Fish's divisive nature is easy traffic.

Cue Beer:

“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 fucking 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 fucking 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.

Other Commentator: He does come across as whiny.

Beer: Whiny? He’s a fucking asshole most of the time. I’m an asshole, 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, fuck ‘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.”

Game developers do not owe us anything, and I don’t owe them anything. It’s archaic to view the press-developer relationship as strictly symbiotic, and is indicative of an old view of the press-developer relationship. Do I often rely on developers to open up and allow me to tell their stories? Yes, but it’s an optional dance we do the tango to. No one is indebted to the other once that exchange has run its course, and that's the end of the road. If you're on a writer/journalist making this argument, that's really bad.

Anyway.

Fish caught wind of Beer’s comments, and exploded on Twitter.

("Compare your life to mine and then kill yourself" is a Futurama quote, but that's a bit besides the point.)

That’s just a taste. Beer eventually responded, and offered Fish an opportunity to discuss his commentary on camera, but Fish wasn’t interested. Over the next hour or so, Fish continued to vocally express his displeasure, speaking more broadly about his feelings about people slinging crap his way, and the toll it takes on psyche. It ended with Fez II’s abrupt cancellation, despite having been announced only recently.

I spent the weekend largely disconnected from the Internet. Like Fish, I’m a public figure, someone who puts themselves out there and deals with what comes back--the good and the bad. I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve grown a thick enough skin to deal with rape threats targeted at my wife simply because I’ve had the audacity to talk about sexism in video games. Nor am I proud of being able to withstand pot shots from anonymous jerks about my deceased father. These are not traits that will ever be mentioned in my resume.

We all handle criticism, especially the vitriolic kind, differently. I stopped responding to jerks, and ask people to come in my direction through email, private messages, or questions over Tumblr. Over time, it's produced excellent results, but not pulling the trigger and snarking back at a jerk is hard. Vocal game designer Hideki Kamiya tells people to fuck off. Fish responded by yelling, stirring the pot, and unironically latching himself to a photo of known troller (he probably would have hated that term) and comedian Andy Kaufman.

Some of his comments are indefensible, and some, I suspect, he wishes he could take back.

But I know the good of the Internet, too, and I wish Fish had, either, seen more of it or reminded himself of what it produces. I’ve had my moments with the Giant Bomb community, but so much has been tremendous.

I mean, look at this stuff.

When my father passed, the Giant Bomb community started a thread with well wishes about my work and anonymous comments about my father, a person none of them had ever met. I kept that thread bookmarked on my phone during the first week of my father’s passing, and would often head into the bathroom, page through the thread, not really reading anything, and cry. It was a showing of genuine compassion by a group of people who only knew me from what I put out there. When I needed them, they had my back.

And that's to say nothing of how we pulled together for during the passing of the irreplaceable Ryan Davis.

Whenever someone gets under my skin, I reach into my bag. Tucked into a pocket are a series of letters, private thoughts from people who have reached out over the years, thanking me for one thing or another that I've been involved in. Most of them bring a tear to my eye, and each reminds me why I'm still doing this.

99% of the Internet has been nothing but nice to me, even when it’s a backhanded compliment. It’s easy to focus on that 1%. That 1% is vile, hateful, spiteful, jealous, mean, and would likely be as venomous in a public place as they are with a badge of anonymity. Many are probably teenagers who will grow up and learn to regret their ignorant actions, but some of them aren’t, and those are the people who scare me the most. But I can’t spend my day worrying about the 1%. I wake up every day trying to make the other 99% happy.

I hope I’m doing an okay job of that.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
901 Comments
Edited by fargofallout

I can't even fathom trying to deal with the vitriol that the internet generates, especially if you're someone that speaks without thinking (not saying Phil Fish is that, because I don't know him, but he strikes me as such).

This really bums me out for two reasons: first, I thought Fez was a brilliant game, and I want Phil Fish to make more games. Like Patrick, I suspect he'll come back, but I have no basis for thinking so. Second, Phil seems to want the same thing I want: a site where it's just games being discussed, and most of the other stuff is ignored. I found Giant Bomb because I was looking for a better podcast, and I ended up saying because the site doesn't publish shit like "Top 10 Zelda Bosses" or have a member whose persona is an "annoyed gamer." Phil likes Giant Bomb - look at his Twitter feed and you'll see him talk about the site occasionally. While I can pretty much ignore everything else - I don't go to IGN or GameInformer, for instance, because I don't like those sites - his name is brought up routinely in stories on those sites, and when they're talking shit about him, he sometimes feels the need to defend himself. Maybe he doesn't do it in the most political way, but if it was just accepted as fact by a large swath of the internet that you're an asshole, would you be political about it? How many people that claim he's an asshole actually know him? All I have to go on is his Twitter feed and his occasional quotes in stories, and judging by that, he isn't an asshole. Just someone who is sarcastic and the target of a lot of abuse.

Posted by Pr1mus

If only that sad, sad thread on the forums had started by actually depicting the whole thing like this... Phil is an asshole but that's just his personality and in fact has nothing to do with his job of creating games.

Marcus is a professional asshole who's only contribution to the world is bile like this.

I can ignore the asshole and childish comments and really anything that relates to the personality of Phil Fish and still respect the work he creates.

But it's impossible to do so with Marcus Beer because the garbage he spews constantly is his work and not just an aside.

Posted by Brenderous

@deegee said:

@rmack said:

Nice article about yourself, Patrick. Could you write one about Phil now?

This is exactly my response when I read this.

Hey you two: grow up.

Posted by skelington_

@deegee said:

@rmack said:

Nice article about yourself, Patrick. Could you write one about Phil now?

This is exactly my response when I read this.

Yeah, the nerve of someone on this personality driven site trying to provide personal insight into what it's like being on the receiving end internet hate and the difficulties of coping with it.

There's that 1% again!

Posted by louiedog

I'm sick of internet personalities like Marcus Beer who act like their inability to be decent people is somehow something we're supposed to find charming. I guess to some it is, because there's an audience for this, but it's really tiring to me. How many people over the age of 22 like that?

There's this giant segment of the Internet that just wants to be angry all the time. They're angry, they want you to be angry, and everything makes them angrier. It's the imaginations filling in the horrors of what the Xbox One might be. It's that tumblr of people lashing out about the Call of Duty sniper rifle balancing. It's the people who started calling Anita Sarkeesian names which caused so much exposure that she got way too much money for her kickstarter which in turn made them even angrier. Just stop it already. Get off the Internet for a week, do something worthwhile, and get some perspective.

Posted by cloudymusic

"I’m an asshole, but that’s what I am, that’s what I do."

This is the worst part of the whole thing. If you take pride in being an asshole (or, worse, make it the basis of your professional career), you're part of the problem. You lose any right to comment on the behavior of others.

Edited by daves_phat

@patrickklepek great writeup, personally I really appreciate the inclusion of your views on a subject, rather than some dry write up of the facts. it is the opinions and personalty of the great staff that keep my coming to Giant Bomb, over other sources for this info. keep it up!

Posted by kylekrane

Why does he remind me of Lars Von Trier?

Posted by NekuCTR

I can almost hear Jonathan Blow face palming from here. Phil has been a real embarrassment on the indi game scene for so long, and if he really feels the need to cry about what the press says about him it's really time to go. Sure it's a shame that Fez is over, but the witness will be out soon and in time we will forget all about Fez. We will move on. Fish will continue to wallow in his delusional "battle" for all eternity. End of story.

Posted by GrandHarrier

Remember, friends, this is the guy who is famous for this. He doesn't understand the concept of tact. He is just mean.

Posted by Hardtarget

My problem with this is that this article, like Ben Kuchera's on the PA report this morning, are trying to link what happened this weekend with internet trolls and hatred at large and it's just not the same thing.

Horrible internet people who send hate messages to public figures who do nothing wrong is a real issue and should be talked about but in this particular situation Phil Fish is the one stirring the pot, he is bringing this type of thing on himself, on purpose, because he can't help himself. Being Quebecois is not some sort of excuse to be a asshole cart blanche, people say mean things about him and to him because he starts off the conversation with asshole remarks, those are his openers.

Sucks he cancelled Fez 2 but he's reaping what he sowed at this point.

Posted by Pie

Bit different when it's people in the industry (not sure what you'd call them apart from parasites) hurling abuse at you.

Online
Posted by DrDarkStryfe

I have been saying this all weekend, but Marcus Beer should be fired. It is highly unacceptable for a person to use a platform as large as GameTrailers to spew such vitrol in such language, only to turn around and say that is his "shtick."

Fish should not get a pass for the type of language that he uses, but he gets railed on incredibly for his views on the industry. We have learned over the last couple years that the loudest voices in this hobby hate change, and will do everything they can to fight that change.

Posted by spidoman

There was one particular tweet to Phil Fish accusing him of threatening his ex-girlfriend which I think may have played a part in his exit as well. When people start really disgusting rumors like that, that can really get out of hand, and ruin your real life, I don't fault anyone for saying enough is enough, and leaving the "community."

Posted by SeraphSlaughter

Quit gettin' mad about video games.

Posted by fox01313

As an artist, you just have to get enough of a thick hide against criticism, make what you want & tell the people who don't like it that they're welcome to not like it once they've tried/seen the final piece. Specific items of games or art or literature or movies or music isn't for everyone thankfully, some will like it & others won't which is just how things are in the universe.

Edited by TwoSe7enFive

I for one am happy there is diversity in gaming but when it comes at the cost of dealing with these "personalities" I'm out. I have no sympathy for him as it's 90 percent self inflicted. I remember being very puzzled when Braid came out and saw great success then Blow said he was upset because people didn't "get it". Maybe stop being pretentious "attention whores"? Just a thought.

Posted by MeatSim

Well this certainly was a crazy series of events.

Posted by Foggen

The Kaufman icon alone makes me doubt the veracity of Fish's announcement. That said...

It has always been clear that Phil Fish is a douchebag, but as with many creative people he can get away with a lot of douchebaggery so long as he's producing something of value to prove his worth. Two days ago he stopped doing that, so unless he's lying there's no remaining reason to listen to his bullshit.

Edited by TwoLines
Posted by steelerzfan101

Marcus Beer was kind of retarded with his remarks about Fish and Blow but I don't think Fish should have made the statement of saying he was done working on Fez II. That's not the best way to handle this at all.

And Patrick, your doing good!

Posted by Elwoodan

More like Annoying Gamer, amirite?

But seriously, this all started when people jumped all over Fish for an offhand remark which he immediately apologized for, sure his response may not have been the most PR friendly, but it hardly makes him some kind of raging racist.

Also, think for a moment how you would react if a well-known site (say the Penny Arcade Report) wrote an unnecessary and unfair article about how your an asshole.

Edited by 49th

I actually feel quite sorry for Phil Fish, he seems passionate about making the game he wants to make but receives constant abuse due to comments he made months ago.

I don't even understand how what he said was so abrasive towards people. Who gives a shit if he doesn't like PC or Japanese games? I like both of those but then that is my own opinion and Phil has his own opinion. I just imagine the type of people that get mad about this stuff are disgusting basement dwellers. It's just bizarre.

It's a shame about Fez 2. I liked the first Fez, it was a fine game and it would have been interesting to see how it could be iterated on.

Posted by deadmoscow

I spend most of my time on the internet hesitant to even send nice thoughts to industry people and journalists, let alone threaten murder and rape. Who the fuck are these people?

Posted by me3639

I agree with you we will play Fez 2.

Second, i like Marcus, but wow he is way off in his comments. I feel as when i hear Jeff make his crude comments on games i cringe and feel bad for those who spent thousands of hours trying to create somthing out of nothing for my entertainment. All i can say is anyone can be a writer, not everyone can make a game.

Edited by Quarters

Regardless of the dumbness of the situation, excellent article, Patrick. Still producing quality content like a mother, even apart from the main group.

Posted by MightyMayorMike

I didn't know who Marcus Beer was before this and, now that I've seen what he's about, I'm happy to just as quickly forget him.

Posted by bakkelun

@deegee said:

@rmack said:

Nice article about yourself, Patrick. Could you write one about Phil now?

This is exactly my response when I read this.

haha, mine too.

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

One asshole complaining about another guy acting like an asshole

Posted by kalnet101

That was a nice piece Patrick. Love what you wrote at the end of the article. Never really thought of that.

Posted by Rmack

@deegee said:

@rmack said:

Nice article about yourself, Patrick. Could you write one about Phil now?

This is exactly my response when I read this.

Yeah, the nerve of someone on this personality driven site trying to provide personal insight into what it's like being on the receiving end internet hate and the difficulties of coping with it.

I deleted my comment after reading about Patrick's father. Didn't want to come off as too much of a dick or an "annoyed gamer." Still, I kinda wish news stories played it straight, and "Worth Reading" is more of Patrick's, well...blog, I guess.

Posted by Deadlydog

Fish's twitter account looks like that of a whiny teenager. I'm not saying what Annoyed Gamer said was right (It was not.) But my god Phil you need to grow the fuck up and stop having little temper tantrums. You're not a child anymore and you need to act like a responsible adult.

Posted by LucidDreams117

Maybe because I don't care too much for Fez, but when I first read about this, I shook my head in disbelief and disappointment. Not because of what Beer said. Because of the cancellation of a game all due too some smack talk a hater on the INTERENT said. Grow the fuck up, Fish. This is the way the world works. Sad, but it's true. You threw a temper tantrum because someone, on the INTERNET said some shit about you. You're not the first and guess what, you won't be the last. If everyone, not just in the gaming Industry, actually listened to haters and let it affect them to this extreme, nothing would get done. Not to mention, this isn't he first time I've read bad comments being made about this guy. Jesus Christ, this was incredible to read over the weekend. What a stupid move. First he says Beer should kill himself, them deprives all Fez fans of a sequel because of what one guy said, once again, on the INTERNET!

Posted by KovicMAN

I do not understand why people hate so much phil fish .... until you see his twitter.
that guy is a giant asshole who can not even be wrong in this case, but does not give the right to treat anyone the way he treats. just because you made ​​an awesome game, you do not have a pass to become a new pop icon and super human that everyone has to praise and love.

Goodbye, and I hope you do not come back.

Posted by JoshyLee

I like how if someone criticizes Fish, they're an angry, disturbed, Internet troll. But Fish telling people to kill themselves is acceptable because he made an okay game. You can't tell people to choke on your dick and act like your feelings are hurt when people call you a twat.

Posted by Gordo789

Marcus Beer behaved like a complete twat. I don't even particularly like Phil Fish, but nothing he said was wrong here.

Thanks for the article Patrick.

Posted by mrfluke

@patrickklepek i just want to say thank you very much for making this article very balanced and not overly dwelling on the negative, sincerely very happy to see that.

as ive seen others that have come out of this news and start proclaiming the internet is the goddamm worst (which i firmly believe is not true)

and yes not to sound like a suck up,

but i at least think your doing a good job of catering to the 99%, as while i do disagree with your opinons every now and then (its ok to disagree right?),

i dont let it detract from the good that you do.

Posted by Parsnip

So long and thanks for all the fez.

Posted by Whiteycar

My problem with this is that the gaming community acts as if this is something they cannot control. Start being self selective, don't let assholes speak for you.

Don't let people who's only contribution to the scene is to bring negativity in the scene itself.

Have better comment moderation, if you wouldn't say it in a crowded elevator don't say it online.

I will never identify as a Gamer because people who are the 1% make this hobby seem childish.

Edited by mdnthrvst

@hardtarget: No, it's absolutely the same thing.

One person saying some things you don't like doesn't mean he deserves forty thousand people telling him he is a worthless, talentless piece of shit who should kill himself to save them the trouble, for years on end. No one deserves that. If you don't like Phil Fish, don't pay attention to him, don't buy his game. That's not what the Internet is doing. The Internet is torturing that dude because "he was mean to Japanese game developers" (which isn't true, for the record.) "He's mean" is not a justifiable defense for burning him in effigy.

If his only options are to become the most jaded fucking cynic in the world, ignore social media altogether (which is impossible), or leave, I sure as fuck would leave. I don't think you understand what it's like to have TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE spewing hatred at you for years on end. Nothing he could say, not all the "fuck yous" and Futurama quotes, could EVER justify the treatment he has received.

It's just a matter of scale; tens of thousands of people decided "Phil Fish is an asshole" and used that as an enduring justification to treat him like a criminal for years, all because he looks kinda like a hipster and he doesn't pander to emotionally imbalanced fourteen-year-olds.

Frankly, we don't deserve Fez 2.

Posted by IAmNotBatman

@deegee said:

@rmack said:

Nice article about yourself, Patrick. Could you write one about Phil now?

This is exactly my response when I read this.

Yeah, the nerve of someone on this personality driven site trying to provide personal insight into what it's like being on the receiving end internet hate and the difficulties of coping with it.

Posted by thainatos

Great write-up, Patrick.

Posted by danlongman

@krakn3dfx: I don't know if he has been diagnosed with bipolar or not but as someone who is bipolar it would make a lot of sense, I have acted in some horrible ways before diagnosis and medication. and even while taking my meds, and everything else that goes with it, I have to really watch myself as to how I act and what I say.

Its a horrible disorder and I feel sorry for anyone who has to go through it.

Posted by JMan240

I'd like to point out that this actually started with Fish attacking Polygon over their quoting of Kevin Dent. That prompted a response from Beer, who in my opinion is a tasteless and tactless example of a nonconstructive critic, which then apparently became the straw that broke the camels back. Unfortunately, this is a premier example of a person who treated everyone else like they have thick skin, and yet does not possess the trait himself. I've never had a problem with the things that have been attributed to Fish, but I can't sympathize with this being the thing that finally drives him away when he speaks so very loudly and with such vitriol regarding his topics of choice. Beer is a strange person to let get under your skin though.

He's openly embracing of the fact that he's a dick to everyone. I also feel he supports his points poorly and uses few constructive elements in any of his criticism. He attacks people, that's what he does. Take his segment on the issue of Dragon's Crown. It was an attack on people who took issue with the portrayal of the female characters in that game. An attack on their character, an attack on their publications, and an attack on their opinions. All he said in that segment was that they were focusing on the wrong thing, that they were pushing agendas, and that he wasn't sexist. He spent half the video covering his ass without even attempting to present an alternative to what he though was wrong. That's not criticism, that's whining. He's not a person anyone should let get under their skin. There's no reason or excuse for Beer acting like he does, the only logical explanation for it is that he does it for attention. Which, honestly, is an even worse agenda to have than the ones he attacked. It's twice as harmful and a million times more unpleasant. None of his "criticism" need to be presented in that format and none of them are more effective for it.

Posted by Hassun

It was curious to see this unfold. I've never really had a problem with Phil Fish or Jonathan Blow and when I saw Phil on Giant Bomb I noticed he seemed very different from his posts on Twitter.

I think Phil just isn't too good with words and often says things that come out wrong. The person I saw on Giant Bomb is the Phil Fish I'd like to remember and I hope he comes back one day in the future.

It's sad to see people just getting attacked like that, on the internet or otherwise and I'm glad people got off your back as well @patrickklepek. You might not be proud of your thick skin but I have to say I am jealous of the years of experience (belying your age) that created it at least.

Keep on dudering.

Posted by mrfluke

Phil has mentioned on Neogaf that he's bipolar. Assuming that's true, he's going to be prone to severe mood swings,

this explains ALOT if that is true.

Posted by TheHT
  1. Throw shit.
  2. Extend invitation to discuss said shit with shit-covered individual on camera.
  3. Content!
Edited by RecSpec

Great article, it's hard to tell what other people are thinking at times, the best we can do is just look at it from our point of view and see what we would have/would not have done.

Posted by Entriech

Announcing Fez II is cancelled is really just a smart move for him. His games are produced by a small team, and it'd be easy for him to lay low. Without a pending game, and with a public display of leaving the public eye, he'll be afforded the seclusion he needs to keep creating. And when Fez II is eventually revealed, the only people who will really complain about it wouldn't have cared about it existing anyways.

I think there's some parallels here with Derek Smart's legacy as well. Maybe withdrawing this quickly was the best way to resolve things for now.