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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.

901 Comments
Posted by IAmNotBatman

@rustysanderke: Trolls are really getting low standards these days...

Posted by forkboy

@sanity said:

Great read, i think people treat Fish like shit because hes a easy target, hes going to lash out and its going to create a story. Its a shame, but the best thing he could do for himself is just ignore those people.

I remember a teacher in school telling me once that throwing a well placed brick at the right person could help make a career just as easy as building one yourself, and i think that's largely the case here.

It's so true. Look, you can say what you want about Phil Fish. He's vocal about his feelings. Some people think that makes him an asshole, I don't know. I liked him when he was on Giant Bomb, I like Fez, I personally won't call him an asshole for raising to bait because I've done it myself. Because as much as "just ignore them" is perfectly good advice, some people are a bit more impulsive than that & when someone calls them a tosser because they didn't answer a journalists question (& lets be clear here, getting upset because a developer doesn't want to comment on a rumour about a console is really dumb) or whatever then they will instinctively swat back. Having thick skin just to be available to interact with some of your customers shouldn't be necessary. Personally I think he should probably consider taking a break from Twitter, because that amount of vitriol & negativity aimed at anyone would drive them mad.

I like the internet, I've made really good friends on it, I've had good times. But there is something about it that encourages people to be constantly negative, just so they can get in first with a really "witty" putdown (& I've been there myself plenty of times. When I was younger I said some reprehensible shit online). See the dickhead who comes on here to moan that this article is apparently not enough about Phil Fish & too much about Patrick. It's pointless. Just don't be a dick guys, seriously. It's not fucking hard. I'm a cantankerous old misanthrope & I can just about manage not being an arse to people so long as they don't provoke me.

Posted by PurpleSpandex
Posted by reelife

Great article Patrick... G.A.P But yeah the internet is a nasty place and you're right that people need to focus more on all the good parts... Kinda hard when you read N'Gai Croal latest tweet though.

Edited by danlongman

@stepside @lp_green That comment was in total Jest, I have met way more assholes here than I have ever have in Quebec.

I am just bitter I can not get a decent poutine here in SK. ;)

Edited by Marcelloz

Phil will come back, and that Beer will harass him again, and Phil will respond again. And we all enjoy and laugh at both figures and of course know better. Best to ignore them both, we will never understand their motives. Leave them in peace, perhaps they will learn. If not, also ok. Live and let live.

Edited by Papacheeks

@sergio:

What do you think Gianbomb is? Or what are you doing then commenting in a comment section about an article a journalist wrote?

Posted by benu302000

Phil Fish is a troll.

So I don't take him seriously when he complains about another troll.

Posted by Yanngc33

Great read. Definitely a better take on the story than simply the "Phil Fish loses it, Fez 2 cancelled" side of it that most outlets seem to be approaching this from. I bet we will see Fez 2 one day, this'll probably just delay it a bit. Then again, the game never had a release date so this delay won't really mean anything once the game finally comes out in 2020.

Posted by zacharai

Thanks for making me feel good about being in the 99%, Patrick. :)

Posted by djou

I've never understood why Phil Fish has a public twitter account. Not everybody needs to have an online twitter persona. I'm with you Patrick, I think Fez II continues development in the dark, when he wants to work on it. This will be for the better. Besides trying to live up to the original, PF lets the public get under his skin way too much which is no way to do anything creative. Who cares what a bunch of anonymous yo-yos think (myself included)?

99% to 1% is a bit generous. Unfortunately in this situation Fish is such a lightning rod that he get the brunt of the 1% more than others. Its a shame because he seems like a cool guy. His twitter just ends up being a black hole of negativity. I've personally tweeted him fan mail about Fez and Polytron so I know its out there. I just wish he would focus on that than the minority of jerks trolling him.

Posted by alwaysbebombing

Leave it to Patrick to toss in his own melodramatic sympathy seeking nonsense.

Jerk.

Posted by Palaeomerus

Beer for all his lameness is essentially doing a version of Jim Sterling's Jimquisition with his Annoyed Gamer show only he has fewer visual aids and he tends to set his show up as answering questions from viewer mail. And like it or not, there is a market for personality driven, sarcastic "real talk" pot stirring and smack talk in the games press. Judging by what's happened to the likes of STFU&Play, Angry Joe, Darksyde Phil's VLOGs, Yahtzee Croshaw, and Spoony it might well be shrinking, but it is still there.

Posted by Gaff

@rmack said:

@mildmolasses said:
@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.

Have news stories ever been played straight on Giant Bomb though?

Posted by xxizzypop

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.

Not letting assholes speak for you is what is honestly getting me back into communities. I feel like for a little bit (here at least) all I was seeing was negative commentary, be it about Patrick or this or that. Just vile opinions about things being spewed everywhere and I got grossed out and bounced from ever glancing at comments and discussions.

But that's really the wrong way to go. Because if everyone does that it's a fairly self-perpetuating cycle of negativity while those not skewed that way just walk away and let everything seem gross.

Edited by MarkWahlberg

Just going by what's shown in this article, Fish's comments are unfortunate and crass, but nothing we've not seen before when someone gets upset. Beer's comments seem like what happens when someone is talking just to hear themselves talk, but also display a bizarre ignorance about how journalism - hell, how having a conversation - works. Also he sounds like a fucking terrible person.

So maybe everyone should just shut up and go read a book or something.

Posted by VincentVendetta

God I'm depressed.

Posted by TheManWithNoPlan

That's really too bad. I kind of liked Phil and was looking forward to Fez 2.

Posted by Ravenlight

Love Ryan Davis.

Love Phil Fish.

Love Giant Bomb.

Love Everyone.

/thread

Posted by jbuchan76

I'm an old man.. (get off my lawn) siding with Marcus Beer. I hate hipsters and their stupid hipster crap olla. Phil, is being a baby.. suck it up and get thicker skin.

Posted by KoolAid

Incredible article @patrickklepek. This is why Patrick is awesome at what he does.

Even though this article is two days after the event, we get this detailed and passionate piece that gives us the whole story. I especially like how Beer's entire statement is printed instead of just cherry picking the most offensive quotes out of context (Though, if anything, context made Beer sound worse in this case.)

I much prefer this than someone rushing the story out ASAP and maybe updating it.

Edited by BonOrbitz

The bottom line is that Beer's, Fish's, and 1% of the internet's mommas didn't teach them to show some respect.

Edited by theveej

Posted by Jrinswand

I heard Marcus Beer on some podcast recently - I think it was Weekend Confirmed - and he came across as one of the biggest assholes I had ever heard. He was so annoying, bitchy, and vile that I eventually had to turn off the podcast because I couldn't stand listening to him any longer.

It's a shame about with happened with Phil Fish. But really, the moral of the story is fuck Marcus Beer. The guy's an ass.

And @patrickklepek, you're always appreciated. ;)

Posted by groverat

@zatoichi_sanjuro: Beer wasn't responding to Fish's shitty behavior. Beer attacked Fish unprovoked.

Posted by PopGoestheGoomba

I like Phil. The poor effin guy's been hated on too much. It's sad, really. I think he has a lot more to offer the gaming industry.

Edited by Itwastuesday

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

He certainly doesn't subscribe to the concept of tact, though I'm sure he understands it. Is it the same thing as being mean? I'm not sure, but he certainly speaks his mind. You can always know, when you hear Phil Fish talk, that he's saying exactly what he means.

Posted by Kaigan

http://klepek.wordpress.com/

Try there instead.

Posted by mrcraggle

@duxa said:

@groverat said:

@nowsaypillow said:

He'll be back, and that's the real shame in all of this.

Phil Fish producing games that a ton of people love and that you aren't forced to play makes your life worse?

Seeing an asshole succeed makes the world a shittier place...

Yea, a guy making a video game makes the world a shittier place. That makes perfectly logical sense. Starvation, war... nah, Phil Fish, now he's the one.

Posted by AnjinM

If Giant Bomb has taught us anything, it's that video games should be fun. We can be critical without being terrible. It's sad that the culture of the internet is more interested in tearing down instead of building up.

Edited by Palaeomerus

If it's any consolation, this is a less powerful "gaming news" storm than some others I could name. Denis Dyack tried to shout down GAF, sued Epic games for letting him use their engine, and cheaped out on Activision and Marvel throwing him some license work, which didn't end well for him.

And as much as I dislike him now, Phil Fish has never haunted an alt group that was created to mock his antics FOR A DECADE or punched out a coke machine. I'm not going to say the devil's name though, lest he come or a visit.

Posted by TheHBK

Both are assholes, but Beer doesn't seem to blow up when people hate on him, as many do. But this is just another chapter to the self centered Fish story. Dude hating on MS and their policies. Has nothing to say about it when MS pulls the patch fee. Can't even say acknowledge that things are getting better. But he can rip on big publishers all he wants and think he is completely right, but then someone calls him out on a reaction. Hey, maybe it wasn't confirmed yet, but a reaction to the rumor is all that is wanted. You could respond "That WOULD be great" Thats it. But no, something like self publishing takes away something you can be vocal about be bring more attention to yourself. And then to take it his far. Really? You want to be out in public and criticize but be immune to it yourself. You are just a punk.

Posted by TinyGallon

Beer is saying "Messrs" not "Ms." (in that lengthy quote)

I hate *grammar correcting* but that really stuck out

Posted by RustySanderke

@rustysanderke: Trolls are really getting low standards these days...

I don't really understand where your coming from with this. I can't imagine what it's like to lose your father. I'm just saying I find it in poor taste to post such a personal matter as News on GiantBomb. Please stop viewing every non-flowery comments as an insult.

Posted by machinerebel

I saw a post by Fish on Neogaf circa 2007 where he talks about being bipolar. It's with that info that I can't believe people have resorted to calling him an "asshole manchild" like I've seen elsewhere. Yes, with treatment bipolar disorder can be controlled, but treatment doesn't "cure" you and you have to be on top of taking your meds. I'm not mad at Phil Fish and I don't think he's an asshole. I try to not think such things of people who have chemical imbalances. But whatever, mental illness is a trigger in society that activates people's ignorance. We aren't "allowed" to be mentally ill because only "asshole manchildren" are allowed to be sick. Apparently.

Posted by benu302000

Patrick, a crucial difference between the content that Phish gets heat for, and the content that you get heat for is the tone. I actually agree with alot of things Phil says, but he puts so much negative energy out with his sentiments that I can't help but be repulsed by him. Your work, on the other-hand, I've always found to be carefully considered and even-handed, even when your own point of view on a topic.

It's really hard for me to feel sorry for Phil. And if he really, truly is cancelling Fez 2 because he discovered an asshole on the internet, then he was never really interested in making Fez 2 to begin with.

Edited by oldenglishC

You can't just go around throwing out the "T" word and not expect some sort of public backlash. Not understanding the decades of hate that the word represents, shows a total lack of empathy on Beers' part.

But seriously, what the fuck kind of insult is "tosspot"? Stop using made-up words and go be annoyed somewhere else, Marcus Beers.

Posted by triviaman09

That Beer "Annoyed Gamer" dude is obviously an asshole, but he's not wrong that Fish and Blow shouldn't be surprised or indignant in their role as unofficial spokespeople for independent games. They don't owe anything to the games press to be sure, but they could have either said "no thank you" to a request for comment, or used their positions to steer the conversation in a way that highlights issues that they are concerned about or that the media ignores.

Instead, they chose to be indignant and, in Fish's case, cancel a game? What kind of an insane reaction is that? Being level-headed and professional, while not always easy, always gets you farther than losing your temper and going on a Twitter rampage.

Posted by Orgophlax

If this was filed as an editorial instead of news none of you would be complaining about it being "about Patrick." Anyone complaining about that lacks reading comprehension skills.

Posted by cheishxc

Its a shame that Fish felt he had to walk away from something he loves because of the hate on the internet. He's obviously said some awful things but nothing nearly as awful as some of the comments on polytrons website when this got announced. I hope Phil takes his time off to seek out some sort of counseling to help with his anger issues. I wish him well.

Posted by FalcomAdol

I thought Phil wasn't even the programmer or designer on Fez II, he was off doing some other thing...

Posted by primalmaster

Beers could have given his opinion without mentioning people by name and then insulting them, and Fish needs to stop responding to these things or at the very least respond in a calm manner. As far as I saw Blow handled it with a lot more dignity.

Posted by Zatoichi_Sanjuro

@groverat: Beer was responding to Fish's shitty behaviour. Both Fish and Blow were asked to comment on a story for GI, instead of just saying 'no comment' they went public and bitched about being asked for a simple comment. That is shitty, unnecessary behaviour, and that is what Beer was responding to.

Edited by hollitz

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.

That's a wonderful sentiment Patrick. I'm glad to know that kind thoughts make a difference.

Posted by wchue

no fez for vita =( bummer man

'no games for YOU!'

Edited by Sinnott147

@patrickklepek Hey you missed a quotation mark on "pioneers" in the quote from Beer.

Interesting article, it's about time someone called out the 'disgruntled gamer' type of web commentator. Not surprised it was Fish either, kinda wish he could catch a break on shit like this though.

Posted by Hardtarget

@mdnthrvst said:

@hardtarget said:

@mdnthrvst said:

@hardtarget said:

@mdnthrvst: whether he deserves it or not is not the issue, the issue is that on any given day he's an asshole and because of this that's why people lash out at him. The guy hasn't learned anything after years of this going on, he just posted this in April for god's sakes http://steamcommunity.com/app/224760/discussions/0/828936719094418300/#p1

There's a reason people are assholes to him whether they should be or not and if he can't figure this out then it's going to just keep on happening forever.

>whether he deserves it or not is not the issue

Disgusting viewpoints like these sometimes make me think that full, real-identity transparency is the only way to change anything online. Maybe eighteen-year-old boys won't tell people they're going to rape and murder them if it actually had any consequence.

There are a lot of famous assholes! Baseball coaches, actors, R&B singers - they don't deserve to be taunted by thousands of anonymous OTHER assholes wildly out of proportion to any offense they could ever inflict themselves.

I don't think you're getting what I'm saying...

I didn't miss your point, I ignored your point. Telling someone to change their fundamental personality to maybe get tens of thousands of teenage boys to stop screaming at them (which wouldn't work anyway, since Fish's reputation is set in stone by now) is a ludicrous request, especially if Phil truly is bipolar, which I don't know, but is easy to imagine.

There are a lot of fucking troubled artists throughout history. A lot of assholes, prone to rude or distasteful statements.

If Twitter had been around for all of the past five hundred years, I'd bet my life that most of their work would never have happened. It's the worst.

But that's not what happened this weekend. What happened instead what a journalist pundit trying to make news. That's m point, this is a really bad allegory for the internet at large type of stories since that's not what actually happened here.

Posted by Baillie

@duxa said:

Good riddance Phil Fish, you will not be missed by anyone I know. Between my friends and I we gave you several hundred $$ for FEZ...

I'm going to take that with a grain of salt.

Posted by BigFatFlyingBloke

Good article Patrick, pretty much sums up my feelings on Phil Fish and his latest spat.

Posted by Sneeze

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.

Wow, that's pretty scary to read.
But I think this is great article, and really proves what it takes to be "out there" in the public - showing the world what you got. While I doubt these people will cease to exists, you can only hope they'll get drowned out by the positivity of the masses.

There will always be someone out there that hates what you do, but there's a good chance even more will love it, at least when you pour your soul in to it.

So @patrickklepek, you're doing a great job.
(The same goes for every other member of the staff!)