Over the weekend, a Twitter argument between notorious developer Phil Fish and Game Trailers journalist Marcus Beer got heated enough to become the last straw for Fish. The result probably revealed more about the state of the Internet and gaming journalism than it did about Fish’s character. Not that any more of Fish’s character could be revealed; he’s a pretty “in your face” kind of guy. Anyway, Fish cancelled Fez 2 and left game development for good.
That resulted in mixed responses from gamers and the press. Some viewed Fish’s actions as further justification for him being labelled “whiny” by many. Others were saddened by his departure, but I suspect that might have been because it means there’ll be no Fez 2. Then there’s a third camp: people who feel the industry is poorer for having lost a developer as vocal as Phil Fish.
Gears of War creator and ex-Epic Games man Cliff Bleszinski falls into that third group. He’s written a heartfelt open letter to Fish urging him to come back to the industry. It’s a good read and it throws light on an area that is all too often ignored by gamers (especially the poisonous vocal minority): that developers are people with feelings who react in ways that any normal human being would. They get upset when anonymous jerks wish that their families would get cancer and die, as Call of Duty developers were recently told.
You can find the whole of Bleszinski’s letter in the link below, but the best bit is right here:
“Someone on Twitter asked me how to deal with haters. I have some experience on the subject for well over 20 years now. Blow says you can’t ignore it because by the time you’ve read the words it’s too late. The key with the idiots is to outwit them because the idiot uses hate (and poor spelling/grammar) because the idiot does not know how to be witty. Watch what people like Ricky Gervais and Patton Oswalt do on Twitter. Heck, like him or not, even Piers Morgan is pretty good at fending them off.
Every idiot that you outwit wins you five times the fans and that much more respect.
The other key is to absorb all of that hate into one big fireball of motivation inside of your belly and then pour all of that energy into your work until you can unleash one big giant motherfucking HADOKEN upon the community that wins awards and sells millions and then the haters will truly be eating a giant bushel of dicks as you roll in a pile of money, acclaim, and community love.”
I love that last paragraph. Hopefully it has the desired effect and Fish begins working on another great indie game, because yes, no matter what you think of the guy, the industry is poorer without him and his games.