Saturday, July 27, 2013

Editorial : I'm with Marcus on the Fez II thing.

Not really the part where he rips in to Fish just because Fish wouldn't comment on the Xbox indie self-publishing reversal.  Everything Marcus says is a fiery editorial, and while I understand his frustration with two indie leaders not chiming in about the Xbox One self-publishing rumor, I don't actually think Blow and Fish were out of line to say "no comment, at least until we actually know what's going on."

For the record, Marcus calling them names?  Pretty douchey, Marcus.  But Fish's reaction...

I am about to, for the record, editorialize - I'm about to side with someone who was a total prick and started a fight - so it's entirely possible and even likely that you'll heartily disagree with me.  I am pro developer.  Pro little-guy, and Phil Fish - on paper - is the type of developer I adore.

The games industry would be a far poorer place were it not for folks like Fish.  Folks like Drinkbox and Klei and Supergiant and Capy and Dennaton and Jasper Byrne.  And the games industry is poorer for his departure.

Don't know what happened?

Marcus Beer and Phil Fish (the picture's irony is unintentional.  But funny.)

I think The Examiner has the best breakdown I've seen of events.

The short version?  Marcus Beer said some shit in a podcast that made Fez creator Phil Fish pretty upset.  Phil had some nasty things to say to Marcus on Twitter about it, and Marcus said some nasty things back.  Phil Fish then announced that Fez II was now cancelled, and the official Polytron Twitter feed confirmed it.

The common reaction across the 'net seems to be "who the hell is Marcus Beer?"

Marcus Beer works over at GameTrailers.  He appears on their weekly Invisible Walls podcast, and does a minishow called Annoyed Gamer.  He's an ex-industry PR man, a Welshman and an all-around entertaining personality - mostly because he doesn't subscribe to your usual game-site-speak in the least.

When he plays a preview build of a game that feels like shit, that's what he'll say - as opposed to, for example, every preview article you'll ever read, anywhere - because (whatever the hell Marcus's job may be, now) he doesn't need to play the PR game.  He's at GameTrailers because the staff there loves him - and I'll be honest, I do too.

I appreciate his honesty in an industry where the enthusiast press is entirely beholden to the games and publishers they cover.  I also completely agree with his statement in a recent episode that Jon Blow is a total blowhard - I've said so myself on more than one occasion.  Blow, at the very least, comes across as an arrogant, dismissive fellow who thinks any title that's not his game is pedestrian crap that holds the games industry back and isn't worth discussing, unless you're taking the time to shit on it and explain how much better Braid or The Witness is/will be than every other video game, ever.

What a... dipshit.  I stand by that.  Jon Blow, you need to get over the smell of your own farts - 'cause they ain't so sweet.

Now, who's Phil Fish?  Is he a dipshit to the same degree Blow is?  I have no idea - beyond the fact that Fish is the guy who told a Japanese dev at GDC that "your games just suck."

I didn't play Fez and only followed Fez II to the point of saying "oh look, that Fez game is getting a sequel."  For all I know (above quote aside) he's not a dipshit - but Marcus thinks so - and if Marcus is prepared to lump anyone in with Jon Blow, I'm prepared to reckon it's because they're an indie dev so self-important they border on insufferable.

What did Marcus have to say about Fish?
"He's a fucking asshole most of the time."
Given Marcus's history of honesty..?  I believe him.  He's never lied to me, that I can tell.   In response, Phil Fish Tweeted... well, he Tweeted a lot, but the standout bit is this:

The fact that it may be a Futurama reference doesn't make it any less of a shitty thing to say. 

...which does little damage to the concept of Fish as self-important jerk.  If I didn't know who Phil Fish was before today, I sure do know.

He's another Jon fucking Blow.

A little Twitter war happened, and then Phil Fish decided to take his ball and go home.

Note : Fish's Twitter account is protected - all Tweets shown are from screenshots taken by others.

And he is - from the look of it, at least - serious.  He says he's quitting the games industry entirely, and not "because some boorish fuck said something stupid," but because "i choose not to put up with this abuse anymore."

I, for one, am glad I never checked out Fez.  Not because it would have dropped a few pennies in Fish's pocket, but because it allows me to feel nothing as a result of his dramatic announcement.  A guy who made a game I never played is quitting the industry.  I couldn't care less.  If you loved Fez and wanted Fez II, I am - honestly, not sarcastically - sorry for your loss.

I do worry there will be fallout for Mr. Beer, whose open, honest criticism of games, the games industry and the personalities that inhabit it, is... valuable.

Pure, unfiltered candor is far too precious and rare a thing in the gaming press.  Marcus is the guy who actually points stuff like this out:

And I'll take one of him over a thousand egotistical indie auteurs any day of the week.

Did Fish and Blow actually owe the media a response to a rumor?  Of course not.  Was Marcus out of line calling Fish an asshole?  Yeah, sure - it's not like this is a private conversation at his kitchen table.  Invisible Walls is a widely-viewed blogcast - but Fish's response was...

Whatever sympathy I have for someone who gets bullied on the internet (which is a serious issue and not to be taken lightly), it's pretty much obliterated when they tell someone to go commit suicide.

But then again, I just referred to a man I've never met (and never will) as a dipshit, merely based on his behavior in articles and interviews.  So what do I know?

Y'know what's a good read on this subject?  Patrick Klepek's missive over at Giant Bomb.  Check that out.

And while I have no great love for Cliff Blezinski, I really like his open letter to Fish.

1 comment:

  1. You should watch "Indie Game: The Movie."

    If it costs you money to see, I think it's worth spending. It will give you a fuller picture of Fish, Blow, and the guys that created Super Meat Boy.

    It's really really good.