The Twitter Shitstorm That Resulted in Fez 2 Being Cancelled
The big piece of news this weekend is about Fez 2 being cancelled by developer Polytron. Phil Fish posted on Polytron over the weekend saying, "i am done. i take the money and run."
Fez is a atmospheric platformer featuring a main character named Gomez. The game was popularized by both Indie Game the Movie and winning several IGF awards. It was one of last years most highly acclaimed games of the year.
Phil Fish himself has been a lightning rod of controversy in the last few years. Few figures in indie gaming are more distinct characters. He has received praise for Fez and his work is highly touted. But he has been known as an abrasive figure and for, in hyperbolic terms, dissing the entire country of Japan in an Indie Game the Movie Q&A.
But people in real life are rarely Disney villains, and they don't operate in a vacuum. So what caused Fez 2 to be cancelled?
Followers of Phil Fish's Twitter were treated to an interesting conversation on Saturday. If you follow Phil Fish on Twitter, you know that he can be incredibly prolific and that he enjoys using his followers as a soapbox. But you are also aware that Phil Fish gets into some serious internet arguments.
The latest was with Annoyed Gamer Marc Beer and culminated in the cancellation of Fez 2.
This is not to say that Beer is responsible for Phil Fish cancelling his game. Fish is even quoted as saying that, "To be clear, im not cancelling FEZ II because some boorish f**k said something stupid, im doing it to get out of games."
But the argument does lend context to the supposed conclusion of Fez 2. Phil Fish Twitter followers will already be aware of previous arguments on the social media site. Phil is contentious and rarely backs down from an argument.
This specific argument was started by Marc Beer. Beer, who is a video blogger for GameTrailers, asked for a comment from Phil Fish and Jonathan Blow in regards to Microsoft changing their indie gaming/self publishing policy with the Xbox One. In the past, Blow and Fish have both been vocal about the self-publishing and Microsoft's handling of indie developers.
However, both Blow and Fish declined to comment, Phil because he was waiting on the news to be released as official. Beer decided to handle this by calling the two developers "hipsters."
Now, this might paint Fish as a bit of a victim. After all, no one likes being mocked over the internet. But Fish certainly didn't handle it well or professionally. Over the course of the next hour or two, Fish called Beer:
- media leech
- middle aged parasite
- inconsequentail limey f**k
- small commentator, only being able to ejaculate vomit out of your mouth from the sidelines
- unable to create beauty
- boorish f**k
- invisible balls
- character assassinator
Phil viewed Marcus's comments as an attack, and came back swinging. In what has been widely publicized, Fish told Marcus; "compare your life to mine and then kill yourself."
Other people got involved, including @GamerHivemind, and the thing exploded into a full blown Twitter shitstorm. After the initial hipster comment, Marcus Beer really didn't say anything negative.
Fish finally signed off with the tweet that was heard round the internet:
Game culture is full of opinions. It's both a positive and a negative to the industry. On one hand, we have a vibrant community of journalists and commentary. On the other, things can be said about people that other people deem hurtful. It's the unfortunate nature of the business.
But who wins in this situation?
Fish, the guy who audiences saw in Indie Game the Movie talk with great love about playing video games as a child and being moved by the conclusion to Fez, doesn't win. A creator who does not create is a broken tool. Does Marcus Beer win? No. I doubt he wanted or intended for his comments to do more than sting as he did after feeling the slight of Fish's decision to not comment. And a person who talks about games doesn't want creators to stop creating.
The fans of Fez certainly don't win. You can take a look at the comments on Polytron's website to see the sadness of people who were anticipating the sequel to Fez.
Hopefully this isn't the last of the story. Hopefully this won't end with Fez never returning, with gamers, creators and journalists alike experiencing the loss of potentially a great franchise and game.