Fez creator defends Japanese games comment

Wednesday, 7th March 2012 11:12 GMT By Johnny Cullen

Fez creator Phil Fish has defended remarks he made at a GDC event, where he claimed that Japanese-developed games “suck”.

A Develop report from a screening of Indie Game: The Movie, which Fish appears in for Fez, noted that the developer said “your games just suck” in response to a question asked by a Japanese developer during a Q&A following the film.

But speaking to Kotaku, Fish defended what he said, although admitted he could have delivered his remarks more carefully.

“My delivery could have been more tactful,” Fish replied via email, “but I do think most modern Japanese games are god-damn awful,” he said.

He added: “This whole thing is being taken out of context and blown way out of proportion.”

The full story on Fish’s remark and its context can be read on Develop. Fez currently has no date, but was recently submitted to Microsoft for release.



  1. Gekidami

    How can you confirm that you think most of something is “God-damn awful”, then say its being taken out of context? Are people reporting that he actually loves Japanese games?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Joe Musashi

    As I saw elsewhere:


    Just about sums it up.


    #2 3 years ago
  3. Razor

    I didn’t even know who Phil Fish was until all this blew up.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. OrbitMonkey

    Someone needs to slap that guy on the back to help him dislodge the foot in his mouth.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. absolutezero

    I think Razor has put it perfectly, theres always a strange sense of smug self-satisfaction with a hell of alot of “indie” developers. Its something thats starting to get a little tiresome in alot of cases, look at Fez itself to my knowledge its the only thing Fish has created and its still not out yet.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. viralshag

    @5, I think a lot of that chest pounding smugness because they did independently is basically their replacement for a marketing budget. Just make a comment about one thing and hope it gets some media attention while name dropping that game they happen to currently be working on.

    I can’t say I’m a huge fan of indie games and sometimes the almost blind adoration for indie devs is amusing to see.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. DSB

    Some are total twats, I can’t stand Jon Blow personally. But they’re also actually individuals. As opposed to a lot of mainstream developers, they aren’t there to serve the corporate interest, and they aren’t having their hands held by cokehead PRs who are really just there to ensure that they don’t suddenly turn human, and tell you how they really feel.

    In that sense I like the fact that this guy actually dares to be controversial. He has an opinion. It’s extremely arrogant and insulting to try and make an objective case that something as general as “japanese games” suck – Sounds to me like he just thinks japanese culture sucks.

    And I halfway agree. I don’t get it at all. The latent pedophilia, the mindnumbing naivety, the nerdy superficial machismo. Sometimes it’s entertaining, but most of the time it just gets on my nerves.

    But that’s really just how I react to it. I wouldn’t try to make a case that it’s somehow objectively bad. It’s just very foreign :p

    #7 3 years ago
  8. Logic Incarnate

    If you are going to say it you have to stand behind it.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. viralshag

    @7, I agree with that too. I wish more devs and industry people just said it how it is. People aren’t stupid and pretty much all of the time PR chat is met with total cynicism anyway.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Mike

    Can’t disagree with him, however. But yeah, be nice, innit.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. xino

    i lost respect for this guy, what a complete prick!
    His reply was very rude and his comment every arrogant!

    Yes I agree that Japanese games are not up to standard, why? because they were NOT made for us!
    That is what led me to believe that Japanese Games industry isn’t dying.
    Simply because they aim the games at themselves.

    Just like Military shooters, the devs aim the shooters at themselves because we like shooters and they are mainly about war. While Japanese make games for themselves to what their audiences like.

    However games from big designers like Kayami, Kojima, Itagaki, Hayashi, Shinjiko etc all make great games and they are the most selling games in Japan and West.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. strikkebil

    i totally agree with him. but i dont get y this is such a big deal. everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Joe Musashi

    You have to ignore a HUGE amount of great stuff from Japan to validate his trolling. You also need to ignore a HUGE amount of crap from the West to make out like there’s some huge gulf of difference between the quality of output between the two regions.

    When Japan doesn’t warm to a Western game? “Japan are racists!”
    When the West doesn’t warm to a Japanese game? “Japanese games suck”

    Yeah. There’s an issue here. And it’s got very little to do with the quality of games. :(


    #13 3 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @13 When did he ever say that western development was somehow significantly superior?

    Japan used to be the reigning champions of gaming. If you wanted the best of gaming, Japan’s western output is where your money was safe. But they haven’t led the field in years.

    A huge unwillingness to take any risks has seen most of the Japanese industry shrink into a pale comparison of its former self. Surely you can’t deny that.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. manamana

    What a prick, he better shut up and show his Fez, which btw, must be the game the gamingworld is awaiting eagerly since the very beginning of gaming, as everyone and her mother are talking about Fez all day … Who is he again?

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Da Man

    Japs demise had nothing to do with ‘risks’. Otherwise we wouldn’t see Final Effin Fantasy continuing to be a juggernaut for decades while gems like Chrono and Valkyrie Profile bombing or at most doing average figures.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Joe Musashi

    The west typically stigmatises Japan for the handful of Japanese games that haven’t passed muster recently (read: Final Fantasy) and then apply that exception and make it the rule.

    This generation, the West has made an especially big noise with (mostly Unreal Engine powered) console games. This percieved ‘rise’ of the Western developer is only applicable when ignoring all the achievements and innovations made by BOTH regions on PCs in the decades before.

    The tone from Phil Fish is prejudiced, ignorant and arrogant and suggests a very black and white scenario when the truth is far far different.

    The West can be just as risk averse as the East. Producing another multi-million budget space-marine FPS sure as hell ain’t taking risks.

    Frankly, there’s very little difference between the two regions other than the perception of each other by those that inhabit them.

    Also: trolling an entire nation, generally not a good idea and wholly indefensible. It’s bad enough reading ignorantly xenophobic comments from anonymous gamers without hearing a developer (with, as yet, no published games) say something similar and, worse still, be cheered by other developers in the room. There is no justification for such behaviour.


    #17 3 years ago
  18. KrazyKraut

    I mean his game looks like a goddam Japanese game. What an idiot…

    #18 3 years ago
  19. DogmanSP

    Please don’t be offended my comments, You haven’t bought my game yet~!

    #19 3 years ago
  20. YoungZer0

    I kind of have to agree with him.

    The only good japanese developer right now is Atlus.

    Everyone else seems to struggle making games that are still relevant to todays crowd. Especially when we’re talking about RPG’s.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Da Man

    #17 Producing another multi-million budget space-marine FPS sure as hell ain’t taking risks.

    You obv aren’t familiar with the multiplayer side of things. One wrong tweak and the game’s population goes down.

    #21 3 years ago
  22. Joe Musashi

    @21 That’s irrelevant because it’s doing it with minimal risk. Attaching it to an established premium IP with a pre-installed set of paying subscribers.

    Assuming we’re talking about the same space marine, that is. ;)


    #22 3 years ago
  23. Da Man

    #22, if that would be true, you would still see failed spin offs peaking with the same number of those ‘subscribers’. Which don’t. It’s not as simple as you believe, you clearly aren’t familiar with the omp.

    I say established IP is irrelevant. What do you even mean by that? What’s the purpose of making a new potentially risky game with a new name instead of experimenting with the same one? None.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Fin

    I clapped when he said this (though most of the audience was booing etc).

    The only japanese developers that are in any way relevant to the western audience these days are Capcom (SFxT), Nintendo (but even then, there’s some ridiculous design decisions Nintendo are making), maybe Platinum at a stretch (Bayonetta, Vanquish), and…well…that’s it.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Joe Musashi

    @23 What’s the purpose of making a new potentially risky game with a new name instead of experimenting with the same one? None.

    QED: West plays it as safe as any other region.

    @24 There’s a world of difference between saying “relevant to western audiences” and “your games suck”.


    #25 3 years ago
  26. Fin


    Excluding the devs I’ve mentioned (+From Software), when was the last time you played a really excellent japanese game?

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Phoenixblight


    Catherine(Team Persona).

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Joe Musashi

    @26 Haven’t touched anything from Capcom for since Ghost Trick. Obviously, this is because CAPCOM GAMES SUCK.

    Have bought Dark Souls, Yakuza 4, Catherine, Last Story, Xenoblade and Zelda:SS so far this year though. Will probably nab Binary Domain next. I’ve also bought a number of great Western developed games too – such as Saints Row 3, Rayman Origins, SSX and Vessel.

    Fortunately, I’ll have a bit more time to play them now that I won’t be buying Fez.


    #28 3 years ago
  29. Fin

    Dark Souls and Zelda would be the only very good games I’d consider out of that list – even Catherine is just weird, rather than actually being good.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. Phoenixblight


    THats subjective and thankfully you are not in control of what is consider “good”. Otherwise we would have very boring games.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Joe Musashi

    I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve seen of Catherine so far. Thematically very different from any other game. Toying with the nature of virtue and relationships and mashing it with a little bit of social rpg and a suprisingly crafty action puzzler. I really like the confessionals and the fact you get to see the first-time responses all other players gave to the same questions too.

    For my money, that’s a game that makes me pay attention and holds my interest more than any bombastic FPS ever could.


    #31 3 years ago
  32. Fin


    Yes, because when I say I don’t consider Catherine “good”, that automatically means all the games that I like are boring.

    Good job man, great deduction there.

    Anyway, Catherine is “ok” according to Metacritic (82), when I said “really excellent”, I meant a Metacritic of 90-92+.

    #32 3 years ago
  33. Joe Musashi

    @32 Yes, because when I say I don’t consider Catherine “good”, that automatically means all the games that I like are boring.

    Good job man, great deduction there.

    Wrong thread for hurt feelings. Especially after you said “I clapped when he said this” when a developer just trolled an entire nation.

    Quoting Metacritic means fuck all. Seriously. If you’re still judging a game’s worth by the arbitrary number some hack assigns it then it’s no wonder that you and I don’t see eye to eye on games.


    #33 3 years ago
  34. Phoenixblight


    metacritic =/= a good game. Again its subjective.

    “Yes, because when I say I don’t consider Catherine “good”, that automatically means all the games that I like are boring.”

    Putting words in my mouth. With all the games you just said are “ok” or horrible I would definitely consider your list boring. Especially on the fact that you base your games on 90+ metacritic score. You must love Dance Central and COD games then?

    #34 3 years ago
  35. Oyungator

    #35 3 years ago

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