So, Fez II

Posted by patrickklepek (5581 posts) -

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.

#1 Posted by andrewf87462 (561 posts) -

It's a shame about Fez.

#2 Posted by arch4non (443 posts) -

If you're gonna try "trolling" your haters on the internet, you're gonna have a bad time.

#3 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

Never liked Phil Fish. He won't be missed.

#4 Posted by Konrad (11 posts) -

That twitter stream should have been the Unprofessional Friday.

#5 Edited by Undeadpool (4958 posts) -

Wow...someone with the handle and "persona" of Annoyed Gamer (very original!) has the unmitigated BALLS/total lack of self-awareness to criticize others as "hipsters." Also love the "Fish is an asshole. I mean I am too, but I OWN IT" comment. This guy sounds like a BLAST at parties...

And for the record, I think both Fish and Blow can come off as unbelievably pretentious and self-important, but for this jag to think they "owe" him because they didn't want to be interviewed when they had nothing to talk about...whew.

#7 Edited by Burningwave (3 posts) -

What a mess.

#8 Edited by Sgtpierceface (631 posts) -

I love Phil and hopes he comes back to the Fez at some point.

Great article Patrick. I hope Phil sees this and will maybe try to see the Internet in a different light. Also, I'm glad you waited a bit till you posted the story. It's good sometimes to let a story die down a bit before reporting on it.

#9 Posted by danlongman (108 posts) -

I was actually hoping Giant Bomb wouldn't report on this. After seeing the shitty reporting done on this, this weekend.

I do feel sorry for Phil, He is outspoken (but he is a Québécois so here in Canada we are used to them acting like him ;) ) and he did say some regretful things. But I understand his frustration and as someone else who wears his heart on his sleeve I get it.

I hope he does come back and like you Patrick I feel he will. I hope a break helps him recharge and get his head in a better place.

Beers is a dick IMHO. (Phil is as well, but he is a likable dick to me)

I am glad you posted this @patrickklepek best write up I have seen on the whole affair. Very fair and well written. <3

#10 Posted by chaosnovaxz (106 posts) -

I love it when people get so salty and spout responses about how unaffected they are by another's comments, responses which clearly show that they are, indeed, deeply affected.

Still shitty though.

#11 Posted by mattman734 (84 posts) -

I never follow message boards or twitter, so all of my opinion of Phil Fish is from Indie Game: The Movie. That being said he was bay far the favorite part of that movie, everything he said came off as totally reasonable for a guy making a huge game by himself. He made a great game, 99.99% of the people attacking him will never have the intellectual capability or work ethic to do so. I never got why anyone wouldn't like him.

#12 Edited by TheLegendOfMart (254 posts) -

I like how you didn't quote the first five minutes of that podcast where Beer is calling them t*ssers, w*nkers, etc... just because Blow and Fish didn't want to give quotes to a story of a story of a rumour.

Beer even goes as far as threatening to ask the industry to boycott Blow and Fish just because they won't jump to his beckon call.

I think Fish is a Grade A Pillock but Beer is clearly the one in the wrong here.

#13 Posted by BasketSnake (1234 posts) -

Ten years from now someone will find what's left of this game somewhere, mod it and turn it into a legendary Fez 1.5

#14 Edited by mbr2 (567 posts) -

Marcus Beer is the Glenn Beck of games journalism.

#15 Edited by PrintedCrayon (176 posts) -

Fish doesn't owe these moronic people anything. I know sometimes he brings the abuse upon himself, but even so the amount of abuse coming his way was really undeserved and spiteful.

People on the Internet need to chill out - the fact someone can get so worked up over a video game is sort of terrifying.

Also - touching words @patrickklepek. I can't believe anyone would have the audacity to disrespect someone by taking potshots at a family member who recently passed. That's just inexcusable foul behaviour. I'm sorry anyone ever did that.

#16 Edited by cannonballBAM (605 posts) -

@patrickklepek

Love Ryan Davis.

Love Phil Fish.

Love Giant Bomb.

Love Everyone.

#17 Posted by NowSayPillow (183 posts) -

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

#18 Edited by Slaps2 (301 posts) -

As constructive as this is to say, my money says that fish is the childlike jerk. What he said was ten times nastier and vitriolic than anything Beer has ever said on Gametrailers. He humiliated a Japanese game designer and fan of Fish's to the poor guys face and later got mad when he received a tiny bit of, perhaps misplaced, criticism. Fish blew things way out of proportion and is either throwing an attention seeking temper-tantrum or is doing an absolute disservice to his fans and to his own vision (FEZ) that he once called "my identity".

#19 Posted by Alyssia (337 posts) -

That intro video is really cool. Need to catch up on season 4

#21 Posted by Dragon4234 (135 posts) -

Thanks for the article, Patrick. Man why people gotta hate?

#22 Posted by kubazse (15 posts) -

this is a curious situation. I disliked Phil till I saw him during the GDC streams on GB this year and thought he is a sound guy. I think that Marcus Beer is sound (although can go on a unhealthy rant now and again). Phil should have been a bit more savvy here and just ignore or stop after one tweet. He acted as if he does not know how this industry works.

#23 Posted by itspizza (441 posts) -

Wow, never knew "indie" developers were such raging assholes.

#24 Posted by depecheload (496 posts) -

@rmack said:

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

Hey.

Go away.

#25 Posted by Poppduder (460 posts) -

I for one welcome a good futurama quote

#26 Edited by Akyho (1677 posts) -

@patrickklepek Phil never seems capable of winning, he is the butt of so many peoples jokes and they make sure he knows they made it. To many people he is seen as "what an asshole" and continue to only describe fish as "asshole" with such comments as "I thought of buying Fez.. Then realised I was going to give that asshole Phil Fish money and almost puked!" this must be the worst to hear for him, sure go into great detail of what sick acts that may be done to him. However when is work is considered worthy of a purchase and yet its him who turns people away. That must hurt.

They treat him like he has broken the law that funding him is funding something bad, even if they would enjoy the his games.

You Patrick have mods and community members to defend you on top of your own thickened skin, Phil is largely alone in what is common abuse. He is only in the public light for when people want to hear "Indie" stuff or when they hate him.

#27 Posted by Stonyman65 (2764 posts) -

They both kinda seem like assholes to me. Marcus Beer more so that Fish, but they seem to be pretty good at being whiney bitches.

Also, nice making the article about you at the end Patrick....

#28 Posted by Hurricrane (130 posts) -

Always thought he was an annoying asshat who made a cool game and now thought he was too amazing for the world.

Bye Fish. Don't come back.

#29 Edited by MachoFantastico (4790 posts) -

Nice post Patrick, interesting angle to the whole mess. Beer comes across as a total dick in this, but to me Phil Fish just can't take the criticism, it's clear he doesn't have thick skin. It seems he can dish it out, but can't take it at the same time. I understand his rant to a point, he's right to at least be upset but Futurama quote or not, telling someone to go kill themselves is a big no-no in my book and makes Fish look even worse.

Phil Fish should take a break from the internet, for his sake and our own.

#30 Posted by Andtheworld (32 posts) -

I'm personally not a fan of Phil, but man, this drama is just really silly. Just because you had a shouting match on Twitter doesn't mean you should run away crying because some idiots are mean to you. That and Phil is already notorious for inviting such a reaction from them.

#31 Posted by JoeyRavn (4994 posts) -

You can say whatever you want about Phil Fish and you'll probably be right. But, IMO, if you are an "Annoyed Gamer" who throws the first stone, knowing to whom you're throwing it, you'd better be ready for an incoming shitstorm. And don't try to play it cool afterwards. Neither Fish nor Beer are guiltless in this matter, but Beer knew what he was getting himself into.

This is what the "I'm smarter and snarkier than you" "culture" that the Internet seems so keen about has wrought. Instead of trying to enjoy the things that unite us (in this case, video games), we are constantly holding pissing contests to see who's the most intelligent of the bunch. There's no winners here. And we won't have FEZ II, for fuck's sake.

@rmack said:

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

Case in point. You could have made a nicer post, but you went with the snarky option. Why?

#32 Edited by rmanthorp (4007 posts) -

@cannonballbam said:

@patrickklepek

Love Ryan Davis.

Love Phil Fish.

Love Giant Bomb.

Love Everyone.

WORD SON.

LOVE SCOOPS.

LOVE GAMES MEDIA.

LOVE GAMES.

LETS ALL BE FRIEND AND PLEASE CAN I PLAY FEZ II PLEASE PHILLIP.

Moderator Online
#33 Posted by BigJeffrey (5076 posts) -

He should change his name and work on another game, when in public he should wear facepaint or a mask w/ a sock in his hand.

Online
#35 Posted by MildMolasses (3224 posts) -
@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.

#36 Posted by jeffrud (387 posts) -

I guess the suckiest part of this is we're basically all here because we like vidcons, and there's always somebody willing to throw a brick through a window because that's how they get their jollies.

There was a recent episode of The Big Picture on Escapist Magazine which dealt with the sad irony that broader nerd culture spent years being openly mocked by most of the world, and now that it finds itself ascendant some of the most vocal and visible members of the community are bigoted assholes. It makes me seriously try harder to not be a shitty example of this community.

#37 Posted by TheBioLover (68 posts) -

This video sums it up pretty well and is also hilarious.

Online
#38 Edited by kerse (2117 posts) -

Don't know who Marcus Beer is but from what I read here he sounds like a douchebag, not that Fish can't be a bit of a dick sometimes. He calls them whiny, but I don't know, Beer seems like he's whining quite a bit more. It seems pretty unprofessional to get so upset about indie developers refusing to be interviewed and not even giving the no comment. I'd think it would be more expected from indie's because they aren't in it for that kinda stuff, they just wanna make games and I completely understand their response to Beer.

#40 Posted by Subjugation (4725 posts) -

Do people actually enjoy personalities like the "annoyed gamer?" Since when is being a jerk cool?

#41 Posted by SpencerBoltz (85 posts) -

My initial reaction to this news was, I think, pretty typical. I first thought about how everyone involved was being immature and they need to not let things get to them, they ought to focus on the good, acknowledge and let pass by the bad. After reading this article though I had a thought: "maybe it's not enough to simply focus on the good etc. maybe the awful vile things people post on the internet shouldn't be tolerated, maybe it should be responded by hate and and emotions of that magnitude."

I've realized that I hate that people make rape or death threats towards people they don't know, I hate the way people act on the internet. On the one hand some comments can be deconstructed in order to find a simpler intention of the original thought, but on the other it's usually blown out of proportion and that is when the totally inappropriate and hateful comments come into play. When things get to that point I think that it shouldn't be tolerated.

In a real life setting if someone were to threaten to rape your wife you'd at least respond with a "fuck you" and depending on the situation a fight or even police intervention would be implemented. As a society we don't tolerate threats like these, why should we start just because it's the internet. The internet is just as much a society as a modern city is.

#42 Posted by 2HeadedNinja (1671 posts) -

@mbr2 said:

Marcus Beer is the Glenn Beck of games journalism.

Thats just not true. While I don't agree with everything he says he usually makes good points about the industy and usually doesn't hold back on anyone. He is loud, no question about it, but that doesn't seem to be an act, thats just how he is.

While I have no real opinion about Fish the tweets show he didn't hold back there either. Make a comment that you dont agree and leave there.

Both those guys contributed to this thing, both are accountable for it.

#43 Posted by sonicbooms (3 posts) -

I have heard Beer on a few Weekend Confirmed podcasts and he is so arrogant at points that I have turned it off. He has an annoying swagger about him. Apt for his choice of podcast title I guess.

#44 Edited by mnzy (2916 posts) -

Phil Fish is an asshole, yes. But that's not part of his job, that's his hobby.

Marcus Beer, though, is a professional asshole. He's a huge dick in that podcast (and in other videos, of course) and it's his job. That is just so much worse to me. He tries to live off of this bullshit he spouts. Developers don't have to answer shit! Ask somebody else, put in the work, do your job.

#45 Posted by Razorlution (186 posts) -

You can't be in this industry and not be able to take any sort of criticism, good or bad. I'm sorry but you can't have it both ways. Patrick put it perfectly, for the most part, the internet is 99% good, but that last 1% can make it a horrible place...

#46 Posted by dr_mantas (1979 posts) -

I still love Fish. Don't get the hate.

#47 Posted by ErinIsADrunk (178 posts) -

I feel like I've talked about this to death, but I still want to say how much I hate Marcus Beer's "Annoyed Gamer" schtick.

He basically sits there and panders to the worst of bottom feeding forum trolls who are always upset about something. The kinds of scum that you see on http://gamerfury.tumblr.com I remember watching on Beer's videos and it started off with something like and I am paraphrasing here: "Hey everybody! I am Annoyed Gamer and I am gamer just like you and here are things that pissed me off this week."

There is no difference than your typical garbage forum poster who's contribution consists of not liking something and trying to take it down a peg or just general anger towards whatever thing they've decided to go off on today is. It bugs me that he panders to people and gives them a figure to rally around. I hear enough of this trash on message boards, I don't need from people who work at supposedly reputable gaming sites.

Knock it off with that garbage.

#48 Edited by Sanity (1939 posts) -

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.

#49 Posted by groverat (154 posts) -

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?

#50 Posted by Krakn3Dfx (2499 posts) -

Phil has mentioned on Neogaf that he's bipolar. Assuming that's true, he's going to be prone to severe mood swings, and if that's the case, talking to gamers on the internet is probably the worst possible thing he could do. When you look at the people who have antagonized him, it's always younger, self-important gamers who seem to feel like the world owes them a favor and throw around words like 'fag' in normal conversation like it has no lasting undertones.

These are the same people who go after Black Ops 2 developers for minute changes in weapon functionality. 9 times out of 10, they are unrestricted 12 year old who don't have parents who actually pay attention to what they're doing online. Sometimes they're 20-somethings with a 12 year old mentality, which makes it even sadder and a horrible reflection on us as a society and what we're raising for the next generation of adults.

I like Phil, probably in spite of himself. I've followed him on Twitter since I knew about Fez, and while he's well known to go on a rant probably more than he should, I tend to agree with his stances more often than not.

I really hope he's not done with Fez II, if it was even a thing in production at this point. I'd like to think he's just pulling himself away from the internet in an effort to get work done and that in 10-12 months he will pop up again and announce that Fez II is almost done. I loved the original game, and played it for many, many hours, and as someone said on the Bombcast at some point, it did feel like getting inside of his head most of the time.

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