The man behind the indie success story Fez and who featured in the popular (if somewhat depressing) Indie Game: The Movie documentary, Phil Fish, has announced that he is done with game development and that the title he was working on, Fez 2, has been cancelled.
This comes as somewhat of a surprise, as it was only at E3 this year that it was announced a sequel to the original Fez was in development. However, the statement by Fish is quite final: “Fez II is cancelled,” it reads. “I take the money and I run. This is as much as I can stomach. This isn’t the result of one thing, but the end of a long bloody campaign. You win.”
Fish alluded to some of the “bloody campaign,” abuse he received, during the Indie Game documentary and how he struggled to deal with the negative feedback of his work. That abuse has continued to date, with some of it focused more on his personal opinions, which he’s always been relatively vocal about.
Comments about the news from people seem to be quite varied, some suggesting that Fish leaving the industry is a tragedy and others that he’s an unlikeable guy.
However, while most people seem to come down on one side of the other, it’s hard to argue that Fish wasn’t a bit of fresh air when it came to development opinions. He was quite brash and stated his thoughts unapologetically. In a social circle, that would make him kind of a dick, but in the public eye, that makes him a stand out.
Would you rather a developer told you what it/they actually felt, or some pre-written, softly softly faux opinion, that was designed to pander to not only you, but as many people as possible, because they don’t want you angry? While Fish obviously wasn’t quite able to stand up to the feedback he got for his opinions, at least for a while he had the balls to state them.
The big tragedy here, isn’t that Phil Fish is leaving the industry – hopefully he’ll have a happier life now – or that Fez II is cancelled, but that once again we – the populace – have voted with our voices that we don’t want people to be honest. We want the politician style lies, we want the faux apologies and the language that doesn’t offend our sensibilities.
There’s a reason people don’t trust developers and call shenanigans when anyone in the public eye says anything, because we’re breeding leaders and public figures to not push any buttons and it’s boring. Sometimes, it’s alright to disagree with someone and not call then a s*** head.
I haven’t played Fez and I didn’t interact with Mr Fish on any level, but I salute his stance as one of the renegades – as a developer and as a person. He was willing – for a time at least – to put his opinions out there and let them be heard. Perhaps he should have done a better job to ignore the reactions to what he says – especially when it wasn’t related to his own game development – but we all want our heroes to listen to their fans.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Phil isn’t the last of the developers to let us know he he really feels, even if we or I, disagree with them.