Phil Fish doesn't want to talk about Japanese games anymore. Like, really. The Fez creator's been smothered by haters after his controversial remarks earlier this week. But he does want to set the record straight on some things.
Fish is sick of the controversy that's dogged him, saying that it's blown up totally out of proportion. "Yes, I acknowledge that I was rude," he admits. When I spoke to the Canadian designer at GDC yesterday, he said that the Q&A where he blurted out his comment was a free-wheeling, loose affair. He said it's not an excuse, but his exclamation was in the spirit of the moment.
"And people have gotten it wrong. I said modern Japanese games suck," Fish clarifies.
"Nobody's mentioned that Jonathan Blow backed me up," Fish adds. Part of the conversation that night went to the differences between the first Legend of Zelda game and more recent ones and, according to Fish, the Braid creator "actually called modern Japanese games joyless husks."
When I asked Fish to expand on his antipathy for modern Japanese titles, one thing cited specifically was how the technology pipelines in Japanese development have been short-sighted and inefficient. "All these companies made separate engines for different games and then when Lost Planet and the first Dead Rising use the same engine, for example, it gets treated like this big revelation." Fish thinks that something's really wrong with that mindset.
He's not the only one, either. While interviewing Keiji Inafune yesterday, the Mega Man creator laughingly shot out the word "sucks" as soon as I mentioned Fish's name. Inafune said that he completely agrees with Fish's comment. "I want to give him a round of applause because it's a very brave action of giving an honest criticism," Inafune said.
I'd spoken to Inafune before running into Fish and, when I told the indie game-maker about the elder designer's comments, he said he appreciated the solidarity. The influence of older Japanese games on Fez is obvious, Fish says, and it hurts to be branded as arrogant and racist by Twitter users and message board commenters enflamed by his remarks. Ultimately, he wants to put all this behind him, he said, and focus on getting his long-brewing game out into the world.