Gears Of War Creator: ‘Come Back, Phil’

Gears Of War Creator: ‘Come Back, Phil’

At least one prominent game developer doesn’t want to see Fez creator Phil Fish go. Today, in response to news that the embattled designer has cancelled his game and said he plans to quit the gaming industry, Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski wrote a passionate letter in Fish’s defence.

The industry needs people like you to speak with their hearts before their brains because I’m tired of hearing the PR approved appropriate response. I’m tired of games that feel like they’ve been developed by focus groups or clueless executives going “Hey that Call of Duty is big, we need one of those!”

Besides, at the end of the day, that cycle of community feedback and crafting that big fireball is entirely too addictive.

Come back, Phil. We miss you already. Maybe I’ll be right behind you, returning with Adamantium skin.

Read the whole thing here.


  • I think heart before head responses are great when they’re inspiring and thought provoking. Phil’s responses, however, are crude, rude and offensive with little to no inspiration being imparted. It just feels like an outburst from a bitter and awkward social misfit.

    • Well he was being attacked – an outburst is to be expected. And he’s a gen Y software developer – that would explain the social misfit thing.

      • I’m talking more about all the things he’s said before this incident. There’s quite a few of them and they make him look like, in some peoples words, “a fucking asshole.”

        • The perception of him is just the product of what our society has become. We’re all entitled to judgement due to social media and we can’t stop it. The sad truth is that all of this is an excuse for fans to act like assholes while protecting themselves behind this ridiculous rule that no one can speak to them the way they speak to others. Right now, you look like a bit of a judgmental asshole. I’m sure you aren’t, but seriously, we all have stupid things we could say all day – ALL OF US. And we ALL say stupid, ignorant poopie constantly because we’re human. Any fan pretending like they’re better than Phil Fish better get to a mirror because you aren’t as perfect as you think you are.

          What sickens me is this idea that when someone says things you don’t like, the answer is to make them stop because you don’t want to hear alternate points of view, rather than form an informed, mature opinion. Words like “dick” and “asshole” are relative. If you’ve just come on the internet to call someone a dick, how the hell do you not see the irony?

          • I’m not really anti-Fish. I was initially sympathetic towards him because he obviously has a few mental issues. I don’t think the particular games “journalists” should have attacked him the way they did and so I was on Fish’s side. Then because of all the hatred towards Fish being shown in comments I did a little research on everything he’s gone on record for and honestly he’s brought all of this on himself. Particularly, for taunting and berating a Japanese fan at a Q&A session saying “Japanese games fucking suck, we’re kicking your ass now.” These are not the words of some quirky Gen-Y genius.

        • He is an asshole, but that doesn’t make his harsh words any less true. Gaming journalism HAS become a joke over the years. Bribes, conflicts of interest, smear campaigns and plain old bullshit have become the norm. I remember the way Angry Joe was treated by some of the biggest names in the industry after he pointed out that many were writing fantastic reviews for companies they were hired by and rubbishing their competitors. Even when he proved it he was still treated like crap by those who are supposed to be his fellow colleagues. Or when one of the largest gaming review sites was given an early release of Aliens Colonial Marines and wrote about how wonderful it was while avoiding the bad stuff that basically killed the game. They were paid to help the game sell based on lies.

          • I remember that. The look on Angry Joe’s face was profound, you could fell all the disbelief /shock at how corrupt things had become, on top of it all he was 100% correct. Many mainstream game reviewers are on PR Companies leashes and have no integrity. The Aliens switch-aroo was a great example.

            The said effect is that I only listen to a few “pro” reviews these days and put more stock into “peer” reviewers like Total Biscuit and Angry Joe. I may not agree with their opinions in the end but at least they are honest about the whole thing and a$$ kissing any companies.

            Look up Angry Joes Top 10 Controversies of 2012 for the full story.

          • One of my favourite things about Totalbiscuit’s content (he insists that they’re not reviews. It’s true, but they fulfil the same function) is that his preferences are quite transparent. He says how much he hates puzzle-platformers and the like, but in a way that basically says “You know what, I really dislike X, Y and Z aspects of this game, but they might be something you’ll enjoy – that’s for you to decide.)

            The written (or overly-short video) reviews of games just don’t give you the first-hand impression that you really deserve. Those mediums allow dishonest or inaccurate reviews and fuel the obsession with numerical ratings, which are very detrimental to a subjective, yet numbers-focused industry such as this.

            IMO, Fish probably needs to tone down the delivery of his opinions, but they’re still worth voicing. The whole Xbox-patching fiasco probably would’ve stayed in the dark longer if not for him. He doesn’t deserve personal attacks. They are somewhat expected from self-righteous anonymous consumers, but the smear campaigns from big industry names and the media are just sad.

            Poor bugger is just an artist at the end of his tether.

    • No, no, we really need game devs to tell people to kill themselves then throw in the towel because the industry is so hostile.

  • There’s a difference between being passionate or opinionated and being a dick.

    • This.
      Cliff is known to speak his mind but he is a well respected person.

      Phil likes to kick hornets nests and expect to come out of it unscathed.

      Never played Fez (heard it was good), but im sure someone with a better attitude will come to fill his place very shortly.

    • I tend to agree with Cliffy B on most things lately, but I think I’ll stay over here and keep not caring about Phil Fish. I have a limited attention span and I would rather pay attention to people who are producing content that interests me, not people who are no longer producing any content whatsover.

  • Despite everything that Phil said, Fez is still a brilliant game. And you know what guys? I like brilliant games. The industry is poorer without Phil Fish.

    • Completely agree. A lot of artists are pretentious douche bags. Unfortunately sometimes they don’t let their art do the talking. I for one am keen for a Fez 2. Phil needs to get OUT of the social media spotlight and do what he’s good at and stop listening to everything going on around him.

  • When an ego that big pitches a fit and goes home, what they secretly desire more than anything else is to hear the wailing and woe and pleading for them to come back. Even when – especially when – they don’t actually intend to come back, they want to know that people are suffering without them, that they are/were Special and Unique and valued. Because ‘that’ll show ’em.’

    Best-case scenario for these people is either they don’t have to go back and can bask on the glory of ‘what might have been’, like if Warren Spector had quit before he spent all his goodwill on Epic Mickey and whining about being art held accountable for profits by business-people. Or, they win concessions for doing things how they want when they come back.

    I’ve dealt with people like that in gaming groups, in not-for-profits, and professionally. And let me tell you, anyone who has to deal with them because of a vital service or skill is perpetually looking for reason one – ANY reason – to drop those fuckers like a bad habit as soon as the dollars and cents or other bottom-line considerations say it’ll work out.

  • As a gamer, I don’t care what kind of person Fish is. He can run around calling people whatever he wants, he can be an embittered, raging, dickhead douch-nozzle for all I care. He can burn himself into the ground with his reactionary statements and insults, be either the most loved or most hated person in the industry, and you know what? I couldn’t give a shit.
    Because – and this is what really gets to me about this anti-Fish sentiment being thrown around here – WE CAN IGNORE HIM.
    Fez is great. Fez 2 likely would have been great, and now it will never get made. Any future projects he had simmering around in his brain will now never get made. And that’s a shame. Like the dickhead at school who always says the wrong thing, you ignore them. The fact that Fish is alive has only BENEFITED you – the gamers, the audience, who loved his creation. Hours you spent enjoying yourself in his uniquely warped interpretation of a puzzler only came about because Fish, the creative drive behind it, is who he is. Art is an expression of the artist’s personality and, therefore, Fez is the result of Fish being an arsehole. Anyone who enjoyed the game owes it to Fish to accept him who who he is. The game wouldn’t be what it is otherwise.
    Get. Over. It.

    • Yep. I dont get the hoopla.

      Beer does what Beer does and ripped the guy a new orifice, and why? Well seemingly for no good reason other than Beer doesn’t like Fish. What other substantiated provocation was there? None as far as I can see. That’s why no one else felt the need to launch into a personal insult laden tirade at the young talent.

      Well Beer doesn’t have to like Fish. That’s not really Fish’s problem.

      Beer can go Fish himself.

      I have no idea what Fish has said about anything,. I could care less. He’s not a social commentator, as far as I’m aware, he’s an independent games developer that created a rather popular and acclaimed game – something rather credible and worthy.

      Apparently Fish wasn’t particularly forth-coming to some PR reps, and guess what, he’s not obliged to be. Don’t like it? Fine. You don’t have to.

      He’s not a rock star. Your sons and daughters won’t emulate his lifestyle. We don’t even know what it is. There’s nothing to be scared of here. If FIsh is the biggest douche in the world it will effect nothing and nobody, He’s allowed to be. If he wants to be, let him.

      And let’s remember, one mans douche is another mans hero.

    • The problem is, I feel dirty supporting and paying such a prick. How would you feel you your waiter was an asshole? Would you tip them? No. Doesn’t matter how awesome the food is, if the service is crap why tip?

      It’s not exactly the same in the games industry of course, but the idea is similar. Had I know this guy was such a tantrum throwing wanker who loves to give out shit but can’t take any of it, then I wouldn’t have ever paid for Fez. I haven’t even actually played it yet (still sitting on my Steam list of games I haven’t played) but it annoys me that I gave my money to this loser.

      On the other hand you have some awesome well respected developers like CD Projekt Red who support their customers, care about them and deserve all our money and respect.

      Yes we can ignore Fish… but clearly the industry cant… and that can be a long term problem. Especially if people like Cliff B seem to think that kind of behaviour is acceptable

      • I understand that you’re taking the moral stance here in not wanting to support an arsehole. Fair enough. However, Fez is already in your Steam library. Why not give it a go? It may end up being the best game you’ve ever played, or will ever play. 30 years from now, you may be saying, “Man, that Fish guy was a massive dick, but goddamn that game was good.” Is the possibility of missing an enjoyable gaming experience worth the moral stance on something that, at the end of the day, doesn’t actually affect you?
        What I don’t get is why Fish’s abrasive personality should matter so much as to make the idea of playing the game untenable. And it’s not like not tipping a bad waiter – because waiters are in the service industry, and that’s what they do. It’s their job. If they’re bad at it, they’ll get fired. Fish’s job is to make videogames – no more, no less – and he excels at it. At least, he used to.

        PS. CD Projekt for the win. I can’t argue with you there.

        • Yeah, I don’t have anything against the game. I’m sure I’ll give it a go at some stage… but that’s because I already own it. If I was to buy it now I would look elsewhere. There are plenty of game out there, and hundreds I’ll never get to play. I just feel like my time and money could be spent better supporting more likeable developers.
          I guess for me the funny thing is that, as a developer, Fish is punishing his fans for a twitter argument he had with a blogger. That is just so crazy I can’t get my head around it.
          People like his games, for good reason I’m sure, so how does it make sense to give them all the finger because you had a little tantrum?
          That to me is simply a developer that doesn’t deserve our respect and support as customers. I see what your saying but I don’t think the end should justify the means… because then we end up in this situation where he just goes and cancels Fez 2.

          • Yeah, that’s the middle ground. Fez 2 won’t get made, for no other reason than that Fish is a bit of a crybaby – and it’s the fans who’ll suffer. At the end of the day choosing to buy or not buy a product depends on a myriad of factors, and if people don’t support Fish because they don’t like his portrayed personality, that’s their choice. It’s no different to not buying products tested on animals, for example.
            My whole thing is Fez fans bitching and moaning about Phil’s eccentricities (and I believe that’s the motivating factor) when they’re the very thing which made Fez a unique and distinct experience. People can’t have their cake and eat it too.

  • Fuck Beer… Getting pissy because Fish and Blow didn’t want to comment on a rumour.

    Not commenting on rumours is a fucking sensible thing, something journalists (even the self proclaimed ones like Beer) and gamers alike should learn.

    Nah let’s just crucify him for being an “arsehole” because the general gaming community by and large are not “arseholes”… Nup no way.

    • Argument goes both ways. As in, Fuck Fish, being a baby and getting all heated because someone said a slur about him. Words are words, who gives a flying F***. Both of them should be able to say what they wanna say and move on.

  • I’m okay with a guy like Phil Fish quitting the industry because there’s plenty of people who can make great games while being decent people at the same time. People seem to feel like the product justifies the personality, but I feel pretty much any industry is better off with less ugly poisonous personalities in it.

    • None of us have any real understanding of any of the personalities in question here. Didn’t one developer just get caught with child pornography? He could have been considered a great guy up until that point. Maybe he made his colleagues cups of tea and brought in cookies on a regular basis. Who knows. Not you. Not me.

      The personality of any of these guys is meaningless to us. We have no interaction with them outside of reading or watching an interview that we would do only if we wanted to learn more about their perspective.

      If we just wanted to play and enjoy games, then their personality would have no direct impact on the game at all.

      • That’s true, we can never really know the personalities entirely, but what is shown seems gross enough that I’d be lying if I said it’s meaningless to me.

        • Hmmm. Well I suppose human beings are perfectly capable of giving meaning to anything should they wish to.

          It doesn’t mean that they ought to.

          • That said, in the event he does come back and finishes it, I’m sure there will be plenty of people who would happily buy another game of his. I can almost certainly assume he’s not going to care if I’m not a return customer.

            Fez is a fine game and I’m sure he’ll keep making games even if he doesn’t release them, but at this point my wallet feels pretty safe from that, lol.

  • What I don’t understand is why everyone is treating Phil Fish like a role model or spokesperson. He’s just another human at the end of the day. Just because he became such an indie-icon doesn’t mean he is obligated to fill any role other than being Phil Fish. I don’t blame him for his decisions, I completely understand… but he’s Phil Fish, a person. People should stop imposing roles and responsibilities on him instead of saying “It comes with the territory.”

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