NAG Online > Featured Articles > Opinion: Good riddance, Phil Fish

Opinion: Good riddance, Phil Fish

phil fish

Did you guys see that Phil Fish fiasco this week? Oh man, it was glorious. Fish whined about something, someone else called him a wanker and the Twitter war was AWN.

I love that Twitter has become some kind of unbridled celebrity battleground – I can just imagine Justin Bieber blowing his hair out of his eyes and swearing at all the “haters”. We all devolve into keyboard warriors when faced with internet trolls, and it’s hilarious that celebrities do so as well without their publicists around to filter them.

Not that Phil Fish has a publicist. Does he? I’m not sure, but he probably has a few dead prostitutes in the boot of his car. Let’s just get this out of the way before we even begin – Phil Fish is a dick.

Look, I’m sure it’s really hard being harassed by gamer trolls every day and running out of space under your bed for all your bags of money. However, what Phil Fish essentially did this week was look his fan collective dead in the eye and piss on their shoes.

Some journalist spoke crap about him and he decided to take his ball and go home. Which is hilarious, since Phil Fish basically spends most of his time in the media spotlight talking shit about everyone else.

So instead of punishing the trolls who hate you and your games, you punish the fans who love what you do. Way to go, Phil. Asshole.

What really annoyed me was Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski writing a “heartfelt” open letter in response, begging Phil to come back. Seeing someone like that scampering after him makes me feel ill. If you see a kid kicking and screaming and throwing a tantrum, you don’t buy him an ice cream. Come on, Cliff. We’re acting like this guy is one of the giants of the industry; like without Fez 2 we might as well Gumtree our consoles and find a new hobby. No. Pandering to this kind of behaviour is not something we should be doing.

"Awww, don't cry. Here, have an open letter."

“Awww, don’t cry. Here, have an open letter.”

The truth is, Phil Fish deserved the hate. He acted like an arrogant, egotistical prima donna and only reinforced that image when he “cancelled” Fez 2. I say “cancelled” because I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t get over himself and stop crying. Children always do.

I don’t know how many people work at Polytron, but I’m assuming it’s more than zero. Those people will all be out of a job, but does Phil Fish give a damn? Nope. Does he care about the fans who were so looking forward to his next game? Nope. Does he care about anyone but himself?


I was going to link a video here of Phil Fish’s famous “Japanese games suck” incident, but sometime today the video was taken down, and I can’t seem to find another one. You have to wonder if it doesn’t have something to do with his latest blowup. Instead, here’s another picture of Phil:

crying baby 2

To give you the gist of it, a Japanese man (identifying himself as a freelance indie developer) who clearly struggles with English gets up to ask Phil a question at GDC 2012. Does anyone even consider how hard it was for that guy to ask a question in such a public space? Twenty seconds in to the video I’m already pissed because you can see the guy behind him rolling his eyes. The guy basically compliments Fish, and tells him how proud he felt that Fish was inspired by Japanese games. He then goes on to ask what recent Japanese games he drew inspiration from.

Phil response is “nothing, Japanese games suck”, and he goes on mocking him and dismissing him and his development culture, while the crowd laughs and his shitty developer friends laugh as well. He publicly ridicules one of his biggest fans, and the guy’s feelings are clearly hurt. After insulting Japanese games and developers for five minutes, they sum them up as “a joyless husk”.

It amazes me that gamers, and game developers, a traditionally marginalised group of people, can so openly bully someone like that. Because make no mistake – that was bullying. It was a cruel, shitty thing to do. It makes me uncomfortable to watch it, and it makes me really angry as well.

The world does not need Fez 2 enough that we need someone in the industry like Phil Fish. I love a villain, I really do – the gaming industry wouldn’t quite be the same without people like Bobby Kotick or companies like EA; evil corporates we can all love to hate.

But Phil Fish isn’t a villain. He’s a petty, self-centered and mean-spirited man who we’d be better off without.

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  • compulsivejoe

    so to sum up mr fish: “a joyless husk”

    • Chris Kemp

      Hear hear!

  • Hamze Marouf
    • Michael Bouwer

      Thanks! I was just about to ask if anyone had the link :D

    • Chris Kemp


  • Michael Bouwer

    What a dickhead…I hope he does return after a few years of crying with high hopes and the intention of making millions on his next game…but fails miserably because of his drastically reduced fan base. What a dickhead…

  • FanieNel

    In the main image at the start, you can see by just the way his face looks that he is a asshole.
    I never play Fez and I will never play it because it just sucks.
    I will play a Japanese game instead of Fez.
    Haha, this guy seriously needs to see some shrink or something, if he keeps this up, he will become one of the most hated people in the gaming industry. (I think he already is)

    • Squirly

      Except he’s not in the industry anymore. Joke’s on you! Phil Fish is calling you a wanker right now.

      • FanieNel

        True, true, and I’m glad he left.
        Ooh, he is calling me a wanker, so now I’m going to leave the comments sections for good, someone called me something mean. (I’m not really going to leave)

    • Miktar Dracon

      Except, Fez was an amazing game.

      If you had to not listen to music, or watch movies, or read books, based on the people who made them and “that they look like assholes”, I’d bet you’d have very little to enjoy in life.

      Some of the biggest games and movies these days, that you likely watch and play, are made by arrogant, egotistical, homophobic, bigoted, misogynists. But the trick here is, they’re better at hiding it.

      • Squirly

        It’s like the hoo-ha surrounding the Ender’s Game movie and the boycott around it because Orson Scott Card is such torch-carrying lowlife. I don’t really like the guy, but man am I ever amped for the movie.

        • Miktar Dracon

          I have the same problem: I *really* want to see the movie, since I was a big fan of the book, but Orson Scott Card represents a large part of what I very much dislike in humanity – so what do I do?

          • Squirly

            Break the law? I dunno! I really don’t. You could just not watch it and wait for it to show up on TV. Some time in the far future. Almost makes me wish that it sucks something fierce so I can just wash my hands of the whole affair.

      • FanieNel

        I might say some stuff over and over again below…

        I have seen some gameplay videos and it looks good, but it isn’t my type of game. I am not saying the game is bad, it is good to see some indie games up in the charts. It is just the person I don’t like.

        It’s true what you say, they are better at hiding it. At least they don’t treat other people like idiots in public as harshly as Fish.

        Through some life experiences I have learnt to trust my gut, and since the Indie game movie came out, I didn’t like Fish. It’s just the way he acts and treat other people that is a major downside.

        Sure, he left the job he loves, but he left on his own. He took the “war” too far. Everyone has their own opinions and he chose to act the way he did. If he just ignored all the negative comments and stopped treating others bad, things might have turned out better than now.

        I was raised in a way that you treat others the way you want to be treated. He brought this upon himself. If he just ignored what others said about him and if he treated others better, FEZ 2 might not have been cancelled.

        For me, it all comes down to how he reacted. Sure, others love him and others hate him and some stay neutral, and now he turned all his fans against him by the way he acted.

        • Miktar Dracon

          Perhaps you should have said “Fez isn’t my type of game” at the start, instead of “Fez sucks” then. They come across differently, after all.

          The truth is, if we’re going to treat Fish like this, then Beer should be treated exactly the same way.

          Beer went on, at length, calling Fish a tosspot, wanker, hipster, fucking asshole, and on and on and on during a GameTrailers episode of Invisible Walls. But somehow that’s okay. It’s okay to insult someone, as long as they did it first, or people already perceive them as an asshole, right?

          I’m with Jonathan Blow on this:

          “People saying “indie dev X just needs to mellow” have no idea how caustic and horrible the internet is when aimed at a specific person. Yes, it’s true, sometimes developers can be more tactful and whatever else. But what gets thrown back at them, FROM YOU GUYS, is 100 times—-worse. Any comment on a developer’s behavior is hypocritical when coming from THE INTERNET.”

          • FanieNel

            Beer is also at fault here. He is one of the main causes of Fish’s departure from the industry.

            What Beer did was bad and insulting, and what Fish did is also unacceptable.

            Fish could have handled the situation much better.

            Most of the time I just read opinion pieces, but this article rubbed me in the wrong way.

            If Fish just ignored what Beer said, what would have happened? What if Fish responded to Beer in a better way other than starting a war that ended up in him leaving the industry?

            I hope Fish is successful in what he does in the future and that he learns from this experience. He should notice that how reacted is wrong and has a huge impact on other people that he worked with. He let them down and himself.

            I agree with you, Beer should be treated in the same way as Fish, since he started this.

            What “The King” said to Jonathan Blow is also true:
            “The internet is the last place I’d take negative comments to heart. 98% of these people would never say it in person.”

            What is the best way to ignore negative comments on the internet? Just don’t go online.

          • Miktar Dracon

            We live in a strange world, where people can treat you as badly as they’d like, but all the responsibility lay with you, to always do exactly the right thing in every situation, no matter how human you are.

          • FanieNel

            It sure is a strange world. It is all up to you on how you as a person want to respond to something. What you send out is what you get back.
            Both Beer and Fish insulted each other and they both got hurt, Phil more than Beer.

            This is the one of the reasons why I dislike most social media websites. You respond to something instantly without thinking about it. If they just thought about what they say and what and who they impact in the long run, things might have been different.

            I noticed that these days that if someone gets insulted they immediately go online to insult them back.

            People are quick to judge and give judgement on others, sometimes it is misplaced.

            What made me angry at Phil is that he announced that Fez 2 is on the way, getting all of his fans’ hopes up and then he crushed it by saying he is done. That was just a dumb thing to do. He ruined his fans’ opinions of him.

          • Miktar Dracon

            While I agree it sucks he cancelled Fez 2, I do think that if you don’t want to work in an industry, you should be allowed to leave.

            It’s insanity, to suggest that if someone is unhappy, they should keep doing it anyway just because we want them to. Fish had every right to take his toys and go home.

            Clearly, the industry didn’t want him around anyway?

          • FanieNel

            As I understand it, it was his emotional outbreaks and all the delay in the creation of Fez that caused many people to dislike him.

            Sure, he could leave anytime he wanted to, but the way he did it, it is just wrong.

            Think about it, one day you are working on a project, and go to bed. You wake up the next morning and you find out that your “boss” cancelled the project on a whim, and now you find a new job. It is just unfair to his co-workers.

          • Miktar Dracon

            Polytron is not some big company. Fez II being cancelled, likely didn’t impact *anyone* other than Fish. The indie scene isn’t like BioWare or Maxis or Rockstar. It’s a bunch of people doing a project together. Nobody lost their job when Fez II was cancelled, other than Fish.

            I doubt Fez II even had a design document yet.

          • Chris Kemp

            It seems impossible to me that there weren’t other people that had a significant stake, financial or otherwise, in the development of that game.

          • Miktar Dracon

            I think you’ve found the real story here. One that would require actual journalism, and be important.

            Who IS really impacted by this, financial or otherwise? Who was involved in the future development of Fez II?

            A pity we’re all too busy throwing mud around, instead of asking the difficult questions. Would you care to start emailing people to try and find the answers, like Blow, Fish or other indie devs who might have known who was involved in Polytron?

          • Chris Kemp

            It’s a good question, and seems to be a lot more difficult to find out than one would think.

            I think it’s highly unlikely anyone replies to me (given the Marcus Beer complaint in the first place), but hell there’s no harm in trying :)

          • Miktar Dracon

            I’d be curious at the outcome. If you managed to answer the question, and put real perspective on what Fish’s choice really means in context of other people who were working with him, you’d be doing something hundreds of well-paid “videogame journalists” have shown themselves incapable of doing.

          • Chris Kemp

            If I get anything back I’ll be sure to write a follow-up ;)

  • Samuel

    Seriously? Look no developer deserves the amount of pure adolescent fueled abuse they get on the internet. The fact that any developer can stomach to ignore the community and go on with their job as a miracle.
    The fact that Phil lasted as long as he did is incredible, especially considering the amount of hate he and Polytron received because of their inability to patch Fez on the Xbox (Microsoft is to blame here because of their ludicrous patching fees).

    We are not better off because of this man leaving. We should (media, journalists and gamers) be fucking ashamed that we drove a man out a job that he loved, via our abuse, just we can feel more confident on our end,

    I agree that cancelling the entire development of Fez 2 was rash, but hell, I cant blame the man. I have a lot of respect for the folks who work here at NAG but you are better than stooping to writing stuff like this. The problem is not with Phil Fish, it’s with all the asshats that think game development is easy.

    More than that the problem is with journalists writing articles like this that completely miss the point.

    We should not be sad that Fez is cancelled. We should be ashamed at our behavior towards this man, the media should be ashamed for treating him like shit, and you mister Kemp should be ashamed for writing this.

    NAG you’re better than this.

    • NAG Online

      Please bear in mind that this is an opinion piece written by Chris as a vehicle to voice his own opinion. For that fact, we see no reason to not publish it, or silence him.

      This whole situation has evidently instigated a minor war, with everyone having their own opinion of Fish’s reaction (and on Fish himself, based on his previous exploits – the “Japanese video games suck” debacle is a poignant example) and, as is always the case with these things, every gamer out there is flinging Internet Shit at anybody who has an opposing view on all this.

      It should go without saying that us publishing this piece does not mean all of NAG shares Chris’ views. Some of us agree with him completely, others only partly, and some still are completely at odds with his words. You may discover that another NAG writer may publish an opposing opinion on NAG Online in the near future. Miktar has already shared his thoughts in the comments section here:

      Don’t take this the wrong way, since this is what the comments section is for: feedback, discussion, spirited debate and outright silliness. Just do it without having a big ol’ angry about someone else’s perfectly valid opinion.

      • Samuel

        I get what you’re saying, But this article doesn’t come off as a opinion piece to me, it comes across as an attack on the man. I’m really only taking issue with Kemp, who wrote it. I still love the rest of the staff here to bits.

        If he would just have taken the time to thoroughly explain his viewpoint on this I would have had no issue whatsoever, but it comes across as a biased attack on him, especially with that headline.

        • NAG Online

          You’re totally right – it does come across as an incredibly harsh dissection of Phil Fish and the entire image he’s created for himself. And, as was said, it’s also got some of the NAG staff a bit uneasy.

          But that’s Chris! His stuff’s controversial, and he gets people talking (and arguing), and it’s fair to assume that you’re not the first person he’s irked with his view on things.

          The headline has been an itchy aspect since this piece was published. We’ve considered adding a great big “OPINION” prefix to the heading, but honestly, it’ll just tarnish the effect.

          Ultimately, it’ll be up to Chris to MAGICALLY APPEAR in this here comments section (which, if the past proves true, he’ll almost certainly do at some point) to further his argument that Phil Fish is the second most evil human to have ever existed in the history of… well, everything. :P

          • Squirly

            I hope Chris does appear so I can high-five him right in his face. Great piece.

          • Chris Kemp

            Haha, thanks Squirly. ^5

          • dislekcia

            Sorry, but you can’t honestly expect people to be okay with you waving your hands and saying ‘Oh well, that’s good old Controversial Chris, LOL’ if you didn’t at least put up an opinion disclaimer. Otherwise you do indeed have editorial responsibility for his writing.

          • Geoff Burrows

            You’re right. I don’t know what Dane’s thoughts are on this (effect doesn’t seem worth giving people the wrong idea), but I’ll just jump in here and change that heading to make it clear. It is already filed under opinion, but we can’t expect everyone to see the tags at the bottom of the article.

          • dislekcia


            Could still do with a disclaimer, I guess. But I’ll take what I can get ;)

          • NAG Online

            The only reason you’re accusing me (me being Dane) of shirking my editorial responsibilities by not including a big, fat disclaimer on Chris’ column clearly distancing ourselves from this as “definitely not NAG’s opinion”, is because you strongly disagree with the opinion in question. I don’t see you expressing such concerns on any of the other opinion pieces on NAG Online in which you’re less invested.

            It’s kind of like how the only time publications need to point out to readers that reviews are entirely subjective is when those readers violently disagree with the reviewer’s opinion.

            I also don’t expect anyone to simply “be okay” with what I said earlier. But I also didn’t expect anyone to be offended by my stating that Chris’ opinion pieces often garner controversy. Much like this one clearly has.

            However, as much as it seems redundant to now have to bow to formality and, to use a similarly mocking tone, explicitly state that “this opinion column is an opinion column, LOL”, I agree with Geoff – keeping it as it was isn’t worth giving readers the wrong idea.

          • dislekcia

            I disagree with this opinion because it’s nothing but a hate-fueled hatchet job of someone who doesn’t deserve that sort of treatment. I have reason to disagree, seeing as I know Phil and, seemingly, a hell of a lot more about the situation surrounding both Phil and Polytron than your opinionista.

            It’s also the only NAG article I’ve read in ages, seeing as I was linked here by friends. I really hope that this isn’t the quality of writing that NAG accepts these days, which is why I was asking you to distance yourselves from this sort of reprehensible troll mongering.

            This is your job guys. You really should have higher standards than this. I’m worried that you don’t understand why this sort of crap needs a disclaimer.

          • Chris Kemp

            Bobby Kotick for #1!

        • Chris Kemp

          It’s definitely biased, but it is after all, my opinion :)

          It isn’t my intention to write a news article, it’s my intention to share how I feel about the situation, and to give the readers the opportunity to do the same in the comments.

          I want to hear both sides – I can’t get the other perspective if everyone agrees with me :)

    • Chris Kemp

      There’s no denying that the way developers and people in the gaming industry in general are treated is poor. We’d be better off without that attitude as well.

      But at the end of the day, internet trolls will be internet trolls. Their words have very little meaning or impact.

      Cancelling a game, sacking all your staff and publicly humiliating fans has a lot of impact on a lot of people.

      You have the right to your own opinion and you of course have the right to disagree. You can read more of how I feel in my response to Miktar above, but I see Phil Fish’s actions as selfish and uncaring, and that’s not something I can ever agree with.

      • dislekcia

        Sorry, what staff? Who was sacked?

        I don’t see the actual sin involved in “publicly humiliating fans”, nor, to be dead honest, do I see how canceling a game actually does that. It sounds to me like you’re looking for things to throw at Phil in order to secure some sort of moral basis for your judging of him.

        Would it be too much of a stretch to suggest that your lack of regard for another human being is uncaring? Is it a difficult leap to make to consider your denigrating of someone else on spurious grounds selfish if you’re doing it for pay? How can you agree with that?

        Isn’t Phil’s real crime simply being known and scrupulously examined? Examination that you’re so far immune from.

        • Chris Kemp

          Well he shut down his development studio, so I assume all the staff there are now out of a job.

          As for humiliating fans, I’m referring specifically to the GDC incident.

          Phil does suffer from being in the media spotlight, but that spotlight comes with responsibility.

          • dislekcia

            You assume… And then you write articles damning someone from the perspective of these unfounded, unverified assumptions?

            Polytron was only Phil when he shut it. Renaud had been working elsewhere for ages already (ThatGameCompany, I believe, though I might be wrong there). This stuff isn’t hard to find out.

          • Chris Kemp

            There’s a lot more that goes into the game than just the development of it. As I said below, I find it impossible to believe that there were not other people with some kind of significant stake in the development of that game.

          • dislekcia

            … I am a game developer. I know how Polytron worked.

            Nobody was sacked as a result of this. Yes, some possible eventual contracts for audio work or video editing might not be happening now, but those weren’t lined up in advance AND this sort of shuffling happens all the time. The 1 or 2 people that would have been paid to work on this (no idea if Disasterpiece was going to be involved in Fez 2, nothing was confirmed) have this sort of thing happen to them often and never rely on 1 contract for their livelihoods.

            Parading a max of 3 people’s fictional financial ruination as a reason to be upset with someone isn’t just a stretch. It’s dishonest.

          • Chris Kemp

            You appear to be making a lot of assumptions about how many people worked on Fez and what they did, as well as the impact it had on them. How can you say that these employees, that we know nothing about, have “this sort of thing happen to them often” or “never rely on 1 contract”? That might be true of you, or even of game developers in general, but it doesn’t make it true of these people. Still, I do appreciate the insight; it’s always nice to learn something new.

            It wasn’t my intention to imply anyone’s “financial ruination”, so I apologise if it came across that way.

            I’m simply saying that other people are impacted by this decision, a decision that was made in the midst of a Twitter argument in the heat of the moment, seemingly without much consideration of the people it’s affecting.

          • dislekcia

            I said I know how Polytron worked. Why did you assume I was lying, or that I was spewing useless assumptions?

            It’s called first-hand knowledge when I do actually know the people involved. I can assure you that the decision was most certainly NOT a knee-jerk reaction to just one twitter argument. That might have been the catalyst for something finally coalescing into action, but it wasn’t unconsidered action.

            It’s not like Polytron has suddenly stopped paying royalties to the people who contributed to Fez… But don’t let that get in the way of you justifying your hatred for someone you’ve never met :)

  • Miktar Dracon

    I’m uncomfortable with this kind of opinion piece, because it does little but contribute to the problem. It’s tabloid writing, taking refuge in the knowledge that people love seeing other people ‘cut down to size’. Schadenfreude, and all that.

    Day by day, I’m starting to wonder if this is an industry I want to bother covering anymore, because the fanbase is incredibly self-entitled and toxic, while the people who spend years making the games, get nothing but abuse. Even the nicest developers in the industry, the polar opposite of people like Fish, get the same levels of abuse Fish did, if not more because Fish wasn’t that big of a name, or as popular as people think.

    I need only link to this again:

    While I’m fine with Chris having written this piece – it’s opinion after all – I do wonder if moving forward, if this is the kind of attitude we should have. Even with people like Fish. I’d lean more towards ostracism myself, of people who are toxic or can’t handle civil interaction towards others. The problem is, that would then include Chris next to Fish, because as much as I had issue with how Fish treated the Japanese man at the GDC conference, I also have issue with these kind of Rush Limbaugh style “opinion” attack pieces.

    You can’t have the moral high ground calling someone a mean-spirited man, while at the same time intentionally using unflattering images and mean-spirited pictures to depict them. It’s hypocritical.

    • Chris Kemp

      In a lot of ways I agree with you – there is an air of hypocrisy, but I’ll try illustrate where I feel it’s different.

      I don’t have an issue with Phil Fish voicing an opinion – if he said to a publication “Japanese games suck”, I wouldn’t take any issue with that at all.

      I take issue with him publicly humiliating someone who clearly admired him.

      I take issue with him making decisions like cancelling Fez 2 on a whim – because it has an impact on others. These are people’s jobs, people’s lives and an entire fanbase.

      What I’m saying are just words – just an opinion piece, my opinion. I’m not taking away anyone’s jobs or insulting people who admire me. I could word it with less of a heavy hand, but it’s also intended to be entertaining, passionate and to get people talking about the issue.

      The experience that that Japanese man had will stay with him for a long time. The people who lost their jobs are probably going through a tough time now. Fans who loved the original title are feeling bitter disappointment.

      Anyone reading this, on the other hand, is going to laugh, or agree or disagree or get mad, but a couple of days from now it won’t really matter all that much anymore. That’s the difference, in my opinion.

      As for developers getting undeserved abuse – I definitely agree with that. Gamers, and consumers in general, aren’t known for being the most patient and understanding individuals. Which makes it even more sad to see a developer publicly humiliate a polite, admiring fan.

      This isn’t a matter of “justice” or anything like that. I just feel that if Phil Fish wants to leave the industry because he is upset by criticism, he should think of how what he says has an impact on others as well.

      • Miktar Dracon

        You presume Fish is unaware of the impact of his leaving the industry, and cancelling development. That’s a strong presumption, and it shows you’ve already made up your mind about the person – you leave no room for benefit of the doubt.

        I posit this. If Fish *was* fully aware of what his choice to leave would entail and impact, and yet STILL did it – what would cause someone to do it, knowing full well of the outcome?

        There is nobody here, on this website, that could handle the amount of abuse thrown at Fish. I won’t deny that Fish brought much of it on himself, but the dogpiling, and easy character attacks from people just wanting hits, or to write “entertaining pieces” for the sake of Bread and Circuses – that’s not helping, is it.

        How Fish embarrassed the Japanese man at GDC, should have been a lesson for him, AND us.

        Because what’s been going on here against Fish, is exactly the same as what he did, if not worse, because of sheer scale.

        • Chris Kemp

          But what’s happening to Fish, right now at least, is still a reaction to his actions.

          The man at GDC did nothing at all to warrant an attack.

          • Miktar Dracon

            Agreed. Fish handled that situation poorly (as did pretty much everyone there – even Blow was being a dick).

            However, the hatred against Fish started long before that. The GDC thing just cemented it, since it was great headline fodder “Fish says Japanese games suck”. Which is ironic, since half the gaming websites on the planet say Japanese game suck regularly.

          • Chris Kemp

            Again, I feel the need to express that I don’t really care if Fish says Japanese games suck. It’s an opinion that he’s entitled to. What bothers me is how he treated that man.

            The man wasn’t attacked directly, but he was humiliated. The crowd, Fish and all those idiots on the panel openly laughed at him and treated him like shit.

          • Miktar Dracon

            I agree, that was wrong, and they should have apologized.

            And yet, now we see the same thing being done to Fish, a thousand times worse. And somehow, that’s okay. Because he deserved it?

            That makes us no better than him.

          • dislekcia

            They did apologise… Seriously, where are you guys getting this from? Nobody laughed AT anyone, there was no maliciousness, they actually raised interesting game design considerations.

          • Miktar Dracon

            The video of the scene (which is getting increasingly difficult to find on YouTube), is not favourable to Fish, or Blow, or anyone there. That’s how it looks, anyway.


            I do have a question though, do you know who’s standing up next to the Japanese man?

          • Chris Kemp

            I think it’s just the guy who’s organising the whole taking questions from the audience?

            He really annoyed me as well, because he starts rolling his eyes as soon as he hears the Japanese guy can’t speak English well =/

            Not cool.

          • Miktar Dracon

            Agreed. The Japanese man, it was his first trip to GDC, he’d learned English specifically to be there and ask questions. However: cultural divide. His embarrassment was half about being perceived as being mocked, and half at not quite understanding the tone of the conversation or what’s going on.

            There is a LOT of retroactive justification going on here, using this one event as validation for many people’s dislike of Fish, when really, their dislike is irrational, and based entirely on knee-jerk, first-impression dislike.

          • Chris Kemp

            That’s true. Everyone can act impulsively and come off like a real dick in an isolated incident, we’re all guilty of it I’m sure.

            Of course, not all of us are recorded for repeated scrutiny.

            That being said, that video had a real impact on me – it really upset me to watch it. People may have different interpretations on it, but that was mine and it was more than enough to shape my opinion of the man.

            He may not be a bad guy, he may be misunderstood, but my own view of him as someone I’m not sad to see getting out of the industry.

          • Miktar Dracon

            I’d rather have a hundred Fishes, than one Beer. Because Fish at least made games, while people like Beer, just sit in judgement, and act the insult critic for the hits, not even trying to hide how they’re a parasitic entity, producing nothing of worth.

          • dislekcia


            I like how people are all “No! I’d rather hold on to my particular interpretation of a slice of time” instead of y’know, listening to an eye-witness account of what actually happened.

          • Chris Kemp

            But… it’s a recorded video. I think people may have their own interpretation of it, but it’s not like this is hearsay or anything.

          • dislekcia

            Perhaps you should find the entire video then. Get more than 1 source.

            Or, y’know, ignore information that doesn’t mesh with your assumptions.

          • Chris Kemp

            I don’t think it’s fair to say that I’m ignoring anything. The video shows a complete incident, unedited, and I didn’t like what I saw.

            What Miktar says is true, that it’d be interesting to get a little more context, but it doesn’t alter his behaviour or his interactions.

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think our disagreement is on the interpretation of the incident, not on what actually happened.

          • dislekcia

            “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think our disagreement is on the interpretation of the incident, not on what actually happened.”

            And yet you keep talking about how you’re judging actions, not opinions. How does that allow for judging an interpretation of only a small section of a greater whole? What were the actual OUTCOMES of that interaction?

            You’re ignoring me saying that I was there and that your opinion is not based on an accurate representation of events. As a journalist you should know as well as anyone else that removing something from the context it occurred in is a great way to manipulate how it’s perceived.

          • Chris Kemp

            I agree that behaviour doesn’t have meaning without context, but there’s a lot of context embedded in that video. It’s a GDC panel, its audience Q & A etc. etc.

            I know that you didn’t interpret the situation as malicious, or as the audience laughing at him or humiliating him. But that’s how I interpret it.

            Two people can look at the same thing and interpret it in different ways, and I fully respect your interpretation, but at the same time stand by mine.

            If there’s some vital piece of information or an event that occurred that isn’t shown in the video that is relevant I of course would like to know about it.

          • dislekcia

            It’s not a GDC panel. It was a screening of Indie Game: The Movie at GDC and happened after the conference wound down for the day. The panel discussion was a surprise that Lisane and James organised for after the screening.

            Everyone in that room had just watched an extremely emotional unveiling of a movie that meant a lot to them. IGTM is a very different experience if you’re an indie developer, many people there had just had a movie speak to their souls in a way that few people get to experience. It was quite raw for a while, eventually transitioning into an atmosphere of camaraderie and war-story-like joking. It was in that frame of reference that this particular question was asked and answered.

            There was also an undercurrent of mainstream developers kinda not getting it, which is fine (nobody absolutely has to fit in with any subculture’s values) but it did create this odd feeling where some questions were a little barbed. I’m not saying the Japanese games question was like that at all, but it wasn’t answered any differently in spirit to how all the other questions were. Phil just shared his opinion.

            An opinion which, unlike yours, is actually tempered by experience and relevant knowledge. Phil held that opinion because it’s informed by his game design sensibilities, which drove him to dedicate years and years of his life to making a game for others to enjoy. Your opinion, Chris, is that it’s okay to be offended on behalf of someone you don’t know, in order to hate and belittle someone you’ve never met, all so that you can avoid challenging assumptions you’ve made that aren’t factual or useful.

            Tell me, if we’re judging based on actions, why should your opinion be worth defending?

          • Miktar Dracon

            “Photos and videos don’t lie”. But they do only show one viewpoint, one perspective, and one tiny slice of a much larger picture. We don’t see what happened after. Did Fish go to the man and apologize? What was the tone of the panel with other people who asked questions? Etc.

          • dislekcia

            The guy is just the next dude in line to ask a question. He’s looking around because he doesn’t know what else to do, there are cameras pointed at him and he’s nervous. There were a few mics around the room, everyone in those queues didn’t look comfortable.

            I love how Chris has decided apparently he’s rolling his eyes because if he’s associated with the event he must be reprehensible. Gotta support that narrative!

          • Chris Kemp

            I have to agree with Miktar; we have the right to our own interpretations but I found the video really upsetting.

          • Chris Kemp

            I’m not sure it’s quite the same, because people are criticising his actions directly.

            I’m sure the amount of hate he’s receiving is totally disproportional, but that’s a consequence of the media spotlight.

            If I do something douchey, 10 people around me are going to think “what a douche.”

            With someone in the public eye, it’s millions.

          • dislekcia

            I was there.

            The Japanese man didn’t get attacked. Nobody called him a horrible person, assumed anything about his character or threatened him in any way.

            In fact, people apologised when he looked hurt at the opinions expressed. There was no ill will towards that guy at all, Phil even said afterwards that he wasn’t aware of what was coming out of the Japanese scene beyond the AAA stuff.

      • Almost A Hero

        So opinionasta’s can be dicks because they’re paid by the word for it? I just want to be clear here. The irony, Chris, the irony; I’ve literally got a metallic taste in my mouth.

        You’re clearly misrepresenting the situation. As Miktar’s highlighted elsewhere in this thread, Marcus is as much to blame for this debacle as Fish for the entirely unprofessional manner he acted.

        He threw a hissy fit because they declined to comment on a then unconfirmed rumour out of some entitled expectation that Jonathan Blow and Fish were available for quotes ‘on tap’, which he says as much in the video. He proceeds to publicly deride them for clicks, and when they blow up on Twitter he offers an olive branch in the form of – you guessed it – another fucking video interview to discuss the issue. Stay classy, bro.

        Fish responses were also unacceptable – you don’t get to tell someone to kill themselves, especially when you’ve threatened the same in a video documentary about your first game and its potential success.

        I don’t think you can argue that one is more acceptable than the other. Or you can, because it’s your opinion. There seem to be a lot of those these days.

        • Chris Kemp

          The thing is, I don’t really mind if people get into a disagreement and decide to use a public forum to voice their opinions on each other. That’s their prerogative.

          What bothers me is that Fish took an issue with Marcus, and ended up punishing his fans and his employees, people who admire and respect him.

          • Almost A Hero

            I agree on the point regarding his responsibility to his team. Likewise with the public airing of grievances. I don’t think either of them are in the right here. And I found his treatment of the Japanese developer quite distasteful.

            But I take issue with the column, which exaggerates one side’s failings while eschewing focus on the other; especially when it aligns in manner so closely with the person it’s supposedly criticising.

            Again, it’s your opinion. I’m just voicing mine.

          • Chris Kemp

            Sure I can see that – I fully admit there’s a ton of bias here. Since it’s my opinion, I get to only voice my side :) That’s why I love interacting in the comments though, gives me some more perspectives, which I definitely take into account as well!

      • dislekcia

        I sincerely hope, for your sake Chris, that you aren’t some sort of game-indsutry-related success at any point in your life. Because, if you are, then this comment and this article will be all the justification someone somewhere will need to attack, insult and belittle you for obviously being an asshole.

        If you’re ever in the public eye as a creator, hordes of other people who have never met or interacted with you in any way, will feel that their assaults on you are something you deserved, given your past behavior. You’ll be denied empathy, endlessly assumed about and your family will be threatened. All completely justified by your own logic.

        So I really do hope you’re never famous. Otherwise you’ll end up having written about yourself.

        • Chris Kemp

          If people want to attack me for my opinion they have every right to.

          I’m entirely open to people disagreeing with me. I wouldn’t say that it wouldn’t get to me, because I’m sure it would, but I’d still stand by what I said here.

          • dislekcia

            Except above you said that what you said here is irrelevant because nobody will care about it in a few days time…

            Yeah, I really hope you’re never in the public eye. You’d make way more mistakes than Phil and get crucified much faster.

          • Chris Kemp

            You’re mixing things up a little here – I was referring to your scenario of me becoming mega-famous and someone dredging this up and having millions of people attack me for it.

            That being said, even the Phil Fish hate will be gone in a few days time. That’s how this stuff works, everyone gets excited about it and then we move on to the next thing. The people who lost their jobs, the fans who were looking forward to Fez 2, the GDC guy – those people aren’t going to move on quite as easily.,

            What I should try explain is this – yes my article has an imflammatory tone, because I’m speaking as an individual, not as NAG. It’s meant to convey a passionate opinion, but also be entertaining to read and to firmly declare myself on one side of the argument. I stand by the things I’ve said.

            If Phil Fish wrote an entire aggressive article on Japanese games sucking, I wouldn’t care either. Because it’s just one guy’s opinion, it’s easy to agree with, disagree with or ignore. I love opinionated people in the industry, it makes things a lot more interesting.

            The issue is the humiliation that occurred (as I see it, anyway). The issue is people losing their jobs, the issue is fans not getting their game. It’s his actions I disagree with, not his opinions.

  • Phil Fish

    Hai guize, Phil here, just wanted to say that my conduct has been unbecoming a man of my position, Chris is 100% rait here, preach brother, preach!

    • Miktar Dracon

      This kind of fake-account thing is not as funny as you think.

  • Alex Rowley

    Whoa! Talk about controversial lol. This comment section got filled up and it ain’t even for a competition. I have already said what I think of Fish and all this but hey might as well reiterate it. Everyone seems to agree that Fish was a very opinionated man and even a bit of a dick ( I happen to agree)

    How can someone who seems to make news by making controversial statements react so poorly to people Giving him negative comments (okay it’s more fucking distasteful comments). That Japanese games sucks comment especially would have brought him negative press. If he wants people to stop calling him an asshole then it would be a great idea to stop acting like one. It would have been good for him to react neutrally to Beers attack but seriously telling him to kill himself Was a stupid move as it just seemed to reinforce Beers view.

    Does Fish deserve the shit happening to him? Hell no. People in the gaming scene really need to stop taking shit so seriously. People that troll and spam Twitter feeds with the most vile things imaginable need to re evaluate their lives because honestly it’s pathetic. However Fish is no stranger to this industry and the horrible darkside to it nor is he the only one affected by it. He’s just the only one I know of who actually cancelled a game because of it and really I hope it’s really because of him just wanting to leave the industry And not a childish attempt to lash out at people as this just screws over the people who support. But again he should not be surprised at the hate Unfortunately nearly every single developer gets it and they handle it a shit ton better than he did. Its unfortunate that you can’t speak your mind without backlash but that’s the gaming industry and if he can’t handle it then he’s making the right decision. I Don’t think the gaming industry has lost any thing from his departure but it hasn’t gained anything either.

  • Zelm

    Yeah, real nice guy he is…

    Great article, thanks Chris.


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