Game Critic TotalBiscuit Says He’s Retiring: ‘I Don’t Have Long Left’

Game Critic TotalBiscuit Says He’s Retiring: ‘I Don’t Have Long Left’

YouTube personality John “TotalBiscuit” Bain is retiring as a game critic, he said today, citing his failing health and telling fans that he believes he will die soon.

Screenshot: H3 podcast

“When I went into hospital a week or so ago, it was accompanied by the news that conventional chemotherapy’s effectiveness had been exhausted,” Bain wrote in a lengthy Reddit post on r/Cynicalbritofficial, the subreddit devoted to him and his fans. He added that doctors told him his liver was failing, and that he is “currently coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have long left”.

“That will most likely be my last health update, unless some miracle happens or we do indeed find a trial that can do something despite the damage to my liver,” Bain wrote.

“I’d ask people not to speculate about how long I might have left. I’ve deliberately left out some details to try and reduce the behaviour, though it might very well have the opposite effect. All I do know is that kind of thing is upsetting to some of my viewers that read it and I’d rather not encourage it. I’ve already exceeded the ‘usual’ lifespan of someone with my condition so whatever numbers people come up with are just that.”

Bain said he would continue making YouTube videos and Twitch streams, transitioning from criticism to co-op gameplay with his wife, Genna Bain, adding that he hopes she takes over his video presence when he dies.

“I fully expect The Co-optional Podcast to go on and I love the thought that once I’m gone, the channels will go on in my absence, hosted by the person who knows me best and has been with me for the better part of my adult life,” he said.

Bain, who is 33, built a career on YouTube by playing, critiquing and announcing over games such as World of Warcraft and StarCraft. He has developed a reputation for outspoken, critical stances on a number of game-industry-related issues, oftentimes courting controversy in the process.

In late 2015, he started a Steam group called The Framerate Police with the goal of informing PC gamers when games could not run at higher than 30 frames-per-second. When members of the group flooded the Steam page of a game whose developers chose to hide The Framerate Police’s listing, Bain had to warn his fans against harassment.

In 2014, Bain announced that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer. Although the cancer later entered remission, it re-emerged last year and has spread to his liver and spine.

“It’s been a privilege,” wrote Bain, “thank you all for letting me into your life and do something so important as to have an impact on how you spend your hard-earned money.”


  • As somebody married to a person with cancer all through her body (incl. liver) I just want to point out that you aren’t given the “You don’t have long left” line anymore and haven’t been for a good three years. Even where he lives.
    I’ve seen what they can do now. The last two years have seen amazing advances in oral treatments (not cures! Treatments!) and if this dude pooled more resources into a sustainable schedule of dietary changes and accompanying meds (like Crizotinib, Ceritanib, and their associated off-shoots) he’d be able to maintain his current health.
    I don’t wamna be that guy, but he seems to be milking it for drama rather than focusing on long term shit.

    • THAT is your reaction to reading this?! You are that guy. Everyone’s circumstances are extremely different. If i know for sure some was given the “you have X amount time left” only weeks ago, they lasted half that amount of time.

      How do you know Totalbiscuit didnt try those things, or other things? And so what he is ‘milking’ for drama, maybe he is trying to find someway of coping with the news? maybe he wants to use his public face to highlight things? maybe he is just a media monster trying to take over the world or hell he could even be doing things to heighten up his click count for profit (well to pay towards all the massive expensive medical procedures or to leave his wife with something when he is gone). You dont know his circumstances, just because you share some experiences.

      It is his life and his death. He can choose how he handles it.

      • “It is his life and his death. He can choose how he handles it.”

        That’s what he’s saying!
        From an experienced point of view also.

        • No hes not.

          superdeadlyninjabees is acting like a dickhead. He is not giving his “Experience”. He is giving his unwarranted ignorant opinion which it better left in the bin.

          end of story.

        • Probably worth keeping in mind sockpuppet accounts aren’t allowed here.

    • While TB is far from my favourite YouTube personality, he’s screwed and he knows it. He already outlasted expectations but I’d he says this is the end he’s probably been told that there’s little hope barring some miracle cure suddenly appearing. IIRC he’s already been involved in a clinical trial, too.

      He spent ages pooling his resources into his treatment and did what he could. Unfortunately sometimes all the effort in the world is not enough. The “you don’t have long left” line is still regularly used in healthcare for terminal cancer, because the ones who “beat the odds” by that point are the exception and not the rule.

    • This post went places, start with you own story and then proceed to make a whole bunch of assumptions regarding Bain’s treatment followed by more assumptions about Bain’s state of mind with a conspiracy to top it off.

      I hope you never have to deal with anyone making these kinds of statements against your partner.

    • Should show your wife what you wrote. See what her opinion is on milking it for drama..

    • I just want to point out that you aren’t given the “You don’t have long left” line anymore and haven’t been for a good three years.
      He never said he was… Read the entire first paragraph, he says what the doctors have told him then added that he is “currently coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have long left”.
      I’ve seen what they can do now. The last two years have seen amazing advances
      I’ll let you slide a little as this isn’t all included in this article but the original post says;
      “My body has become resistant to all forms of it according to my oncologist. 46 chemo treatments, 138 days plugged into a pump. Let nobody ever say I wasn’t stubborn. Unfortunately this was followed up a couple of days later with some more bad news. My liver is failing and its effectiveness has lowered past the point where the clinical trials I had been offered would take me on.”
      He has tried and is still trying things, just doesn’t see much hope of anything changing without some miracle.

    • Not only is this heartless, it’s making a blanket assumption on what TB’s individual case is like and what his actual options are. And how treatment is handled in Australia and by Australian doctors might be a world apart from the system in the US, too.

      • TB himself is British, though I don’t know if he currently resides in the UK or the US.

      • I don’t think you know what you’re talking about at the best of times, Alex.
        You have no idea what I do for a living or how involved I am.
        You’re so flimsy in your stances against me that you’ll wilfully throw a Scribbletaku away just so I don’t win the first guess. That’s the kind of person you are.
        Sure I may lack empathy for this rando Internet personality, but at least I have reasons for it and acknowledge why I was out of line. Meanwhile, youve just turned the Australian leg of Kotaku into a generic, indentity lacking slump.
        I never had the issues with the place I’m the Serrels days. You’re just so beige it’s frustrating.

        • Hang on, I never made any assumptions about you, your living, or how involved you were.

          I just pointed out that making a blanket assumption about TB’s specific case was … a bit reductive, that’s all. I’m not trying to be dismissive or flippant – fuck, my mum is going through a bout of cancer right now. It’ll undoubtedly kill her. And what happens to people when that realisation hits … well, you’ve probably seen more of it than I have.

          Anyway, I don’t know where the random slander against me or the site is coming from. I’ve been approving all of the comments here because I think everyone has chatted in the best possible spirit, yourself included, even though everyone disagrees. If it vanished for a bit that’s probably because it’s been downvoted so heavily, but I’ll keep approving it so we don’t lose the conversation that’s followed.

          • I can’t do this convo. I can’t. I acknowledge that. Now I’m insulting you and can’t choosing to get upset. The responses I illicited yesterday stuck with me— and I realise I drew that criticism because of my own words, but normally that’s not how it is with me.
            I’m sorry for what I said, Alex. That’s all Ive got for you. Take nothing from my words, as I am lashing out emotionally and being inferior to my usual self.
            This topic and the response it had from me made me realise a lot about my current mode of thinking. I don’t think I’m 100% dealing with this shit and I’m becoming an arsehole in certain aspects of my being in order to keep a grip. It’s not okay.
            Fuck me. I’m sorry Kotaku. I’ll show myself out.

          • Dude, it’s OK.

            Cancer puts people in incredibly difficult situations, not just the sufferers but the people around them. Coping is probably the best anyone can hope for. Not coping is pretty normal too; I’m lucky that I’m doing OK now, but I know there’s going to be a point where I won’t, and my family won’t either.

            Feel free to drop me a line at any time if you want to talk – [email protected].

          • That’s very gracious of you and far more than I deserve. But you don’t need any more of this biz.

    • Sorry about your wife, man. All the best.

      But man, you fucked up.

    • Did you wake up this morning and think “Im going to go on kotaku and be a huge c**t to someone dying of cancer”

      I mean seriously, What in your tiny brain thought your post was intelligent or a good idea? Do you go to cancer wards and yell at everyone “STOP MILKING YOUR CANCER FOR DRAMA AND DIE ALREADY!”

      I hope you or any of your family never gets cancer.

      • I understand the sentiment mate but chill for a bit… in case u missed it the postrs partner IS a cancer patient.

        • Does not give him an excuse to write such shitty comments. If anything his situation should make him sympathise with TB. clearly not.

        • what because he said it? I can keep saying I am Batman, that doesnt mean I actually am. The worse part is that what he said is true, but that just makes ever thing he said just so, so much more awful.

    • I can’t agree with the original comment, which was in poor taste but what’s with all the name calling?

    • Everyone, in regards to my first comment up the top there: sorry if I caused offense or upset. That’s was not my intention. At all. I think maybe im too close to a topic like this to display the right format of empathy.
      Yes, that was my first reaction. It was supposed to sound more like “C’mon, dude! You got this! There are options!” but instead it reads like “Pffft, what a pussy”. That’s not what I wanted to convey, but I’m seeing now that I approached it numbly and without looking outside of my own sphere of reality. I’ve been living with the fear of losing my wife for four years and I guess I’ve dealt with the fear by replacing it with a procedural viewpoint that eliminates the emotional needs of others. And that shouldn’t be anyone else’s problem.
      Again, I apologise for my words.

      • Hey man.

        I always greatly repsect anyone who can admit when they got it wrong and own up to it.

        Huge respect to you man, And good luck with your own situation.

    • That is a fascinating comment. I hope it is not removed – I think it’s an important point of view to read. I don’t agree with it but I don’t agree with suppressing it just because it is horrifically wide of the mark.

      You’re in a bad time of your life but I am astounded that you think your single example of a disease of essentially mutation can fully describe the process and everything about what could happen.

      That anybody would think someone was “milking” their terminal cancer for what? Given that he didn’t ask for money, what are we shooting for.. excess empty gestures of appreciation of his work? If I were him, I would feel almost nothing about all the adulation. It all means nothing because not one of those messages will make him live even a second longer.

      And if I know TB, I’m pretty sure he feels the same.. The words.. they seem nice, but they don’t change the outlook – and the health outlook is all that is important.

      I can only hope you treat your wife with a little more respect than you do TB. Your presumptuousness is without peer. The way he has tackled his disease has been extremely stoic and it is only now, when he is presented with zero options, that he finally admits he might be defeated.

      I have seen a young person in their final moments of cancer. It is the most grotesque image I have ever had the displeasure to carry around in my mind. Visiting a hospice to see an emaciated, skin covered skeleton, wracked with pain and out of their mind on drugs is the right up there as one of the worst moments of my life. I sincerely hope he takes matters into his own hands before that happens.

      I know I will.

      • I’ve become very Darwinian in my stance on people over the course of this process. Even though I didn’t want that. I appreciate how amazing our one chance at existence is and how it requires fighting forward in order to be worthwhile. I’ve watched my wife escape her last days twice and then get back to work by Monday. She’s an above average example of a survivor and I’m holding the rest of the world up to her example, which is unfair (because she really is above average in every conceivable way).
        I meant my words; there’s no denying that. But I do see that I need to change my tune based beyond the tunnel vision I’ve locked myself into.
        It’s just scary as shit, man. But despite how negative this experience has been due to my comment, it’s allowed me to look beyond my perspective. So I am deeply thankful for that to everyone here, even reason the replies hurt. Feeling things about this experience has actually helped kick off some inner reflection. It’s a good thing.

    • You ARE that guy. Shut up.

      They most certainly do give ETAs as a loved one of mine recently received one – not that it’s any of your business but she had exhausted those wonderful options you talk about as well. I actually have seen what the medical profession can do these days and EVERY case is different, even when two people are diagnosed with the same type cancer. Every body reacts differently.

      I bet you believe coffee enemas and meditation cures cancer too.

      The last person who tried that died.

      Of cancer.

      • I am a man of science. Don’t ever accuse me of subscribing to coffee enemas. I gotta say, despite my harsh viewpoint, a lot of you are certainly jumping on a bandwagon you require more information to ride.
        And no, you are NOT given an ETA. Seriously, what do you all think I do for a career? This is all right in my lane. I live and work WITH cancer. I understand the outrage, but at least respect my knowledge compared to yours. I find it hard to take the criticism of numerous retail workers, students and Kotaku’s least dynamic contributor ever as anything other than based on their entitlement value.

        • “least dynamic contributor” please list your editorial or journalistic or even high school creative writing experience. So we can understand why your personal and professional attacks have merit. Furthermore I missed the part where as a reader our profession is listed. Sure I did retail once, for a summer, back in like 2000. Sure i was a student through all levels of education before. That doesnt make me a student, retail worker now.

          It sounds like someone is overly stereotyping and dictating what they think should be fact, pretty much exactly what you did with your original comment and opinion of how Biscuit should be doing with what is left of his life.

    • Pretty much every case of cancer is different. Unless you’re a doctor and have studied his charts you won’t know the slightest about what you’re talking about, even if you’ve lived with dealing with another cancer ordeal, even if you had had cancer yourself.

      Even studying the charts, most treatments, even today, are guestimations. When you treat it you hope it hasn’t spread elsewhere. You hope that the treatment is effective. And those are the doctors. They’re the oncologists who’s seen 100’s of cases and still they don’t actually know for sure on a case by case basis. The science just isn’t there yet.

      I’m sad that TotalBiscuit isn’t up for it any more and hope he gets all the time and more than they’re hoping for now.

  • Ah shit, I didn’t know!

    Never really kept up with TB but I respected the fact he was cynical without being an absolute douchebag and would curb his fan base from taking things too far.

  • he was a rarity on youtube, cynical and insightful without being an unwatchable tryhard. I may not of always agreed with him but always enjoyed his insights.

  • Hes a trusted opinion in video games journalism that I sorely miss everytime he has to roll back cotent production to take care of his health, a fighter for consumer rights in the video game market and I think changed the industry for the better with fellow youtube reviewers that hold the industry to a standard and call them out when they do things bad after an era where getting good game reviews was just about making sure your paying for banner ads on IGN and Gamespot.

    I hope the he surprises the doctors and lives longer than they can fathom possible.

  • Bain’s voice has been destructive, arrogant and insular within the gaming space. I won’t be sad to see him step away from commentary, but I will be saddened by the reason for his doing so.

    A terrible thing for him and his family to experience.

    • Don’t know why you’d get downvotes for this – Bain has been an outright arse at times. Doesn’t mean it isn’t sad that he’s finally succumbed to cancer.

      • Probably the same reason it’s considered distasteful to speak ill of people at their funeral. There’s a time and place for criticism. This isn’t one of them.

        • Sorry but I disagree. I still can feel bad for him and acknowledge that it sucks, and I don’t wish this sort of illness on him at all. But I don’t think that’s any reason to ignore opinions about him. It’s entirely possible to feel bad for him but to acknowledge that you thought he was arrogant. Being terminally ill doesn’t change his history in gaming media.

          • “There’s a time and place for criticism. This isn’t one of them.”

          • Dude, the fuck? You upvoted my original comment and then call me an arsehole because I refuse to ignore the fact that Bain could be a right prick when he wanted to be?


      • The first part of his comment is not warranted at all. Its like stabbing someone with a knife, But then saying sorry and thinking its all okay.

        There is a time and place. This isnt it.

        • That’s a fair call, and you’re not wrong. Within the context of his retirement, the first part of my comment is a cruel and unpleasant response to a person who I oft times have found to be cruel and unpleasant. It’s an uncomfortable reflection and is unwarranted.

          My saying that his circumstance is tragic and that I empathise with the pain his family and friends, and even the people who are youtube-close, feel isn’t an apology. It’s a forthright acknowledgement that although I find Bain to be a deeply unpleasant person who has wrought grief upon many people, he is still a human and I respect more than one of his sides.

          There is much in this that isn’t okay, I don’t believe my contribution is.

      • The names of the people downvoting him should tell you all you need to know.

  • Shame that his cancers returned. I’d like to see all forms of cancer eradicated entirely so that we don’t lose anyone to such a deadly and horrible disease. I’ve lost members of my family to at least two separate forms of it.

    Hope his remaining time is enjoyable and is spent doing what he loves and with who he loves.

  • Man… this is the guy I used to learn to mod Skyrim, all those years ago. Sucks to learn that he’s younger than me and he’s dying. :/

    • you sure you’re not mixing him up with Gopher? TB did the “WTF is X” impressions/reviews never seen him doing anything in reguards to Skyrim Modding

      • Yeah you could be right man. I just had a google around and I think it was someone else. Oh well!

  • I’ve lost 3 grandparents, a (non-blood related) uncle, and most recently my father to various forms of cancer over the years. It really, really sucks.

    I think one of the worst things about cancer is what it does to you – my father was a carpenter by trade and was a very physically strong man, and to watch him get progressively weaker like that was heartbreaking. But there’s still that glimmer of hope that maybe…MAYBE he might pull through it, but then the “final phase” begins. Once that starts, it’s a rapid deterioration and you’ve probably only got a matter of weeks or maybe even days left.

    I don’t know if TB is at that “final phase” or not just yet, maybe he’s just coming to terms with the fact that if it hasn’t happened yet, it probably will soon, but it sucks either way regardless. I know what it feels like when you know a loved one is going to die and there’s no options left to try to change that. You’re trying to come to terms with it, your brain is overloaded and you can’t think straight, so I really feel for his wife in this situation too.

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