Love him or hate him, Phil Fish has been an outspoken voice in the independent gaming community. Much of his quotes have been bent, misconstrued, and even modified – much like his peers in Indie Game: The Movie – and he’s been the subject of much scrutiny and hate ever since. But regardless of how much he’s pissed you off these past several years, does he truly deserve the kind of backlash that he’s gotten?
It’s often said that for every 10 positive comments, we always hone in on that 1 negative comment. It’s been one of the themes that pop up frequently in Indie Game: The Movie and its pseudo-sequel/anthology, Indie Game: Life After. Being that I’m a writer, nay, an Editor-in-Chief for an independent video game site, I certainly can empathize with these developers. Daily, we deal with acidic and vitriol comments, condemning our choice of words or even our personal preferences. Apparently, if people on the internet are to be believed, we should be living in a communist society where we all have to like and hate the same things. And if people don’t agree with us, they must be put down. They are the enemy.
Let’s look back a year ago from today, when Phil Fish decided to quit game development and subsequently canceled Fez II. Here’s the last thing we heard from him:
“Fez 2 is cancelled. I am done. I take the money and I run. This is as much as I can stomach. This isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign.You win.”
While Fish claims that this is any one thing, we can certainly pinpoint the peak of his displeasure from an argument he had with writer Marcus Beer. On the GameTrailers show Invisible Walls, Beer made a decidedly pointed critique of Indie Game: The Movie’s featured developers. Specifically, he went to jab at Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish:
“Gents. You were the guys who did Indie Game: the Movie. And some of you looked relatively normal in it, one of you looked like a total tosspot in it. But you can’t have it both ways. You’re successful game designers — you’re ‘indie’ game designers — hurrah, good for you, you fucking hipsters.”
The context of this statement stems from the fact that both Blow and Fish had commented about press questions. Whether or not they actually “bitched” about these is subject to opinion and the context of the period, entirely.
And so Phil went on to cancel his game and leave. You would think that at the very least he’d see some encouragement coming from fans of Fez, the ones who truly enjoyed the game despite its often misunderstood designer. But, nope. The internet has a way of fanning flames of hate that no other medium can provide. And as expected, his departure comment was met with tons of comments. Backlash? You decide, as I provide some choice comments here for you to read:
I am made happy by these news, thank you Fishy Fish.
Guess this is one game my SpreadSheet Machine won’t be missing huh?
Well done, Phil.
Cry me a river, Fishy-boy. No one cared for FEZ, no one cares for FEZ II and no one cares for the cancellation.
Get lost you waste of talent. Shitbag telling others to kill themselves, you dont deserve your fame, money or attention.
Good. I hope that you never come back
I would be sad if this was a good game. Fez is not a good game. I am happy a hack such as you gave up on releasing your next abomination.
You are an embarrassment.
Good news. Stop making games please.
Typical Quebecor: Take the money and run, who cares about obligation.
Suck my dick, choke on it.
Good, Fez was shit, who would want more of that shit?
Grow a thicker skin and a pair, buddy. Do not go back on the cancellation however, mankind ill needs garbage games such as this.
THANK YOU BASED GOD
You’re game was shit anyway, where was the shooting and gore?
Wow you’re a whiney teeny weeny baby bitch boy. Grow a pair.
I really enjoyed FEZ, but I can’t stand Phil Fish, he deserves all the hate because he acted like such a fucking dick, not sure how I feel about this news since I would have enjoyed a sequel
Compare your life to mine, then kill yourself.
So long, and than… actually, hold the thanks. Nothing good came of this hack designer.
I like how the pussy is hiding his twitter too. Scared bitch piece
You should consider killing yourself.
Hey Phil, you pretentious hipster dick, if you think it’s over and forgotten, think again. I hope you die a horrible death, you bearded asshole. Suck my dick and choke on it, you fucking idiot. Don’t ever, EVER come back. Unless you want the history to repeat itself, you douche. Tally up the comments. Those precious few ass-lickers are nothing compared to the number of people who infinitely hate you.
You must understand one thing: The goal of this article isn’t to say that this guy is a good person or a saint. That’s not the point. But you have to imagine that this kind of vitriol is happening not just to guys like Phil, but also other content creators out there whose fan base just didn’t speak up and say, “Hey. You know what? You guys are all wrong. We loved this thing. He might not be the best person in the world, but there’s other people out there who actually liked it.” Surprisingly, this sentiment came nearly a year later by an anonymous commenter on the same post:
Fez was a really great game.
Who is Phil Fish? Does it even matter?
Phil Fish went through developing the game for several years since its revelation in 2008, amidst people’s frustrations and vile commentary. And despite all of that he made a game that was, in my opinion, as pure and as close as he could make it to his original vision. Granted, it was remade several times during its lifespan, but I didn’t doubt that the feelings that he wanted to convey to players experiencing his game were portrayed in a more refined manner. At least that’s what I got from playing the game recently thanks to PlayStation Plus.
So is there really a moral to this editorial or even some sort of commentary? Well, not really. I just wanted to remind everyone that at one point, this event happened. And that despite your feelings about Phil Fish and his actions, there are some of us… myself included… that do feel that Fez is a fantastic game. It might not have the “shooting and gore” that some of his haters asked for (to them: obviously, you’re trolling), but it didn’t need to be. Fez is a momentary escape from all the negativity that’s happening in the world, and a brightly colored tile based wonderland filled with secrets, nooks, and crannies that we still have yet to fully expose. I play Fez to escape the hate, the stress, and the evils of our time. I wouldn’t doubt that Phil would’ve wanted me to do the same.