Bleszinski’s open letter asks Phil Fish to return to gaming

Tuesday, 30 July 2013 10:09 GMT By Dave Cook

Former Gears of War designer Cliff Bleszinski has penned an open letter to Fez creator Phil Fish asking for his return to the games industry following a weekend of Twitter disputes and red-faces on both sides of the journo/developer divide.

If you want to catch up on what happened with Fish and the cancellation of Fez 2 you can play catch-up here. I suggest that you do before moving onward.

Now then…

Bleszinski has decided to chip in on his blog, calling on Fish’s return because of his outspoken stance and lack of PR-approved responses.

He wrote, “You don’t owe a damned thing to any gaming journalist. We’ve seen the rise of many “Rush Limbaughs” in the gaming industry, people who do videos or podcasts digging a finger into an open wound that gets the gaming community going because, hits.

“You DO owe a great product to your community, something I hope you’ll resume doing some time in the near future. 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.”

At the risk of being hauled over coals I have to say I’m not a fan of PR-orchestrated responses either and that free-speakers are ultimately much more refreshing, honest and insightful. We need more of them and this is NOT a comment on whether Fish of Bleszinski are right or not, but it’s just that I can’t stand it when developers talk to me from a memorised script full of buzz-words written by other people. It’s fucking tedious.

Your thoughts now please?

Thanks Kotaku.


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  1. backup

    another loser like fish

    #1 2 years ago
  2. RandomTiger

    @1 Gears and Fez never made it to the PS3 eh?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Pytox

    Cliffy B the man who liked MS xbox new drm …

    #3 2 years ago
  4. RandomTiger

    Seems to me Fish should quit twitter rather than game development.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. backup

    low standard games no need to be released for PS3

    he made same game 3 times lol

    #5 2 years ago
  6. hives

    Is this ps3fanboy second account…? Ffs, seriously, that’s why I don’t like writing here on forum and in comment section :f Pathetic.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. The_Red

    Wow, some logical and sensible words out of Cliffy’s mouth instead of usual corporate apologies. In other words, I don’t agree with most of his comments but Pish doesn’t owe journos ANYTHING.

    His opinion and persona don’t even matter when it comes to games. Fez was a great game, that’s all that matters.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    Jayzus, Cliffy B was on a role recently talking absolute nonsense, and then he comes out and says something lovely like this. Fair play. Hopefully Fish gets wind of it and returns…

    #8 2 years ago
  9. backup

    Is this Ireland Michael second account…? Ffs, seriously, that’s why I don’t like writing here on forum and in comment section :f Pathetic.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Francis O

    Marcus needs to be a man and say what he said to Fish in person. Don’t be a freaking vidcast warrior. If you’re going to disrespect another person like that, be a man and tell him to his face.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. loci

    Instead of emailing fish this, he made it public. Just another mouthy wanker that wants to be heard.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dragon246

    Again, read this-

    “A standing ovation for the movie itself set the tone for an open and positive discussion about indie games with the audience, yet when an unknown Japanese developer took to the mic to ask a question, the mood visibly turned.

    The Japanese developer praised the movie and said he was pleased to see how many independent developers had been inspired by games such as Super Mario Bros and Zelda since their childhood.

    But when he asked what the panel thought of modern Japanese video games, Phil Fish (pictured) immediately replied “your games just suck” – a comment that sparked an audible reaction from the crowd, though some were cheering.

    Others looked on awkwardly as the Japanese developer was then subjected to a string criticisms about game design flaws in his native country. The developer nevertheless thanked the panel for their response and returned to his seat.

    After the Q&A many attendees were heard to be privately criticising Fish’s comments, though some went public with their complaints.

    Developer and filmmaker Zack Guido tweeted Fish the message: “It’s shameful to sit on a panel discussing an inspiring heart-felt film and then arrogantly disrespect someone’s culture”.”

    Both Marcus and Fish are showing the behaviour.
    “It’s clear that he is emotionally unstable in some way and really needs to sit and reflect before moving on with his professional career. He mentions that he doesn’t think Marcus knows “how much this shit hurts,” yet throws similar mean-spirited remarks back at him. Maybe they both need to think before they speak, a lesson that most teenagers often hear from their teachers and parents.”

    Fish deserves no sympathy. If he wants to leave the industry, so be it. We are probably better without mentally unstable kids like him.
    Same goes for broke-ass entitled journos too.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. NeoSquall

    As much as we don’t want tabloid-like gaming journos, so aren’t needed weak-minded, self-entitled, hipster devs.
    Let him experience work outside the industry, the one some people call “real work”, and let’s see how he reacts and if he still wants to be a dick.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Blackened Halo

    I hope Phil will ignore his request and leave out of the gaming industry forever

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Joe Musashi

    I can quite happily enjoy a videogame industry without asshat attention-seeking ‘superstar’ devs making LOOK AT ME statements such as Phil Fish and Cliff Bleszinski are so fond of doing.

    I extend the same courtesy to LOOK AT ME games ‘journalists’ who are not content to report news factually and accurately but seek to make news by unnecessarily prodding at the nearest low-hanging fruit.

    There are a great many better, more honest people in the industry that deserve our attention rather than these glory seekers.

    To paraphrase one of Fish’s infamously remorseless tweets:
    Suck on Karma’s dick, Phil. CHOKE ON IT.


    #15 2 years ago
  16. DirtEHarry

    Wow, so much hate in the comments here. Quite sad, isn’t it?

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Clupula

    Suddenly, the air is filled with the smells of Axe Body Spray and douche…it must be another Cliffy B. statement.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. mistermogul

    “At the risk of being hauled over coals I have to say I’m not a fan of PR-orchestrated responses either and that free-speakers are ultimately much more refreshing, honest and insightful. We need more of them and this is NOT a comment on whether Fish of Bleszinski are right or not, but it’s just that I can’t stand it when developers talk to me from a memorised script full of buzz-words written by other people. It’s fucking tedious.”


    #18 2 years ago
  19. zersus

    Omg this is so funny, Cliffy B is talking about standard games, hahaha!
    I hope Phil will ignore his request and leave out of the gaming industry forever, and that Cliffy Bling Bling Blingzinski joins him, and together they become a big family of “no one cares about you and your opinion” and hopefully delete their twitter account.

    That would be so awesome!

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DeVitowned

    Fuck Fish and Cliffy B, both a couple of pompous douche nozzles.

    To outright disrespect a Japanese developer like that, he should have his keyboard shoved straight up his ass. The only reason Japanese development has devolved into such garbage is because it’s trying to dumb itself down for the Western audience, you know, people like Guppie here.


    #20 2 years ago
  21. Beta

    Sorry, but Fish comes across as an arrogant, mean spirited narcissist. He can deal out abuse but can’t take it.

    Personally having never played Fez I couldn’t care less what the man does in the future.

    Also this Marcus chap doesn’t have my support either.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Gronke09

    Can’t they just buy the rights to FEZ and throw fish out of this. Fish can’t handle things as a man, so we don’t really need someone like him. I respect Marcus for his work, but sometimes he may be a bit harsh, but that does not justify what fish said to Marcus.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Badger

    Phil Fish says some unpleasant things about certain people/groups and people begin to say unpleasant things about him

    Marcus Beer says some unpleasant things about the unpleasant things that Phil Fish has previously said.

    Many internet-goers then explode in unpleasantness regarding both Phil Fish and Marcus Beer, although more to the former.

    How are any one of those people better than the other?

    You don’t have to agree with everything everyone says all the time. Hell, I don’t even have that with my partner. And you shouldn’t. It’s called the diversity of human personality. It’s what makes life interesting.

    Live and let live.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. RandomTiger

    @25 +1

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Fin

    Gamers and people on the internet are generally cunts.

    That’s what anonymity breeds.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. DeVitowned

    Live and let diiiiiiiiiiieeeeee!

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Lengendaryboss

    Whyyyyyyyyyyyyy are we referencing James Bond films?

    #27 2 years ago
  28. polygem

    the games industry and the gaming community is full of shitheads…
    but that said…
    can we have phil back and make cliffy leave instead…?

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Lengendaryboss


    As for Cliffy B

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Biscuitpants

    i am just hiding on the roof of the charity shop in town because i just did the best trick that i have ever made up in all of my life and when it was the morning time this morning i put myself inside of a charity clothing bag on my front door step and i made my body go in to a indian trance so it went completely still and i waited inside of the bag for the charity people to come and get me and i made a hole in the side of the bag for my eye to hang out of so i could still see things and after nearly a hour a old man and a old lady came to my house to get me and when the old man was putting me inside of the boot of his car he said god jean it is a heavy one and the old lady who i think was called jean said that someone must be getting rid of a lot of clothes and i was trying not to burst out laughing when she was saying it because i am not a lot of clothes i am a 30 year old man and when i was inside of the boot of the car it smelled of the same smell that my dying old neighbours house smells like and then the car stopped and the old man took me out of the boot and he carried me inside of the charity shop and he put me in a room that was really quiet and all i could see was dead peoples clothes and peter andre cds and then after ages the old lady came in to the room and when she opened up the bag i jumped out of it and i shouted snakes really loudly and she screamed the loudest scream that i have ever heard in my whole life and when she fell out of her wheelchair it was actually like she was being shot it was so funny and then the old man came in to the room and he shouted for me to get the hell out so i jumped over his head and i ran out of the shop and now i am hiding on the charity shop roof until the ambulance has gone so i can get the bus back to my own house.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Calistarius

    This whole thing is incredible. Every newspost about Fish leaving the industry has a comment section that makes me completely understand why he’s sick of this fucking shit.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. MCTJim

    Cry me a river..he had a tantrum, took his ball and went home…see ya

    #32 2 years ago
  33. DreadSabot

    @27 speaks the truth – so many of these rage filled comments are from losers and people who probably cannot fight. What I love about the internet is that any 2-bit gangster on paper can come on here and air it out without any concern for reprisal.

    what Phil did was wrong for sure but the response he got in return was also over the top. The gamer in me and programmer hates to see one of our own leave an industry that has too many of those cookie cutter products out there for any reason.

    There is nothing wrong with discourse but there is a major problem with faceless posters calling for harm to come to this man. To those people I say shame!

    #33 2 years ago
  34. Cobra951

    Looks like Phil is getting what he wanted: attention–lots of it. Shame on Cliff for encouraging his toxic behavior.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. orakaa

    Phil Fish asked for this. REALLY. By the way he previously insulted other people, cultures or developers.
    You can’t spend all your time sending sh*t to everyone and not expect to receive some yourself one day.

    If he had been innocent, I’d have backed him up, but he’s just a bully who discovered what it feels like to be bullied. He got what he deserved.

    And unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have enough maturity to realize this and change his behaviour: instead, he prefers to act like a drama queen by quitting, whining and being all “look what you did to meeeee !!!!”

    #35 2 years ago
  36. selderane

    Cliff Bleszinski clearly doesn’t understand who Rush Limbaugh is or what he does. Which bring into question everything else he posits afterward.

    Regardless of how you feel about Limbaugh, he’s been doing his thing for 25 years, no one can touch him in the ratings, and his demise has been foretold time and again by lesser media pundits. But he keeps going on like a damned institution.

    Who the hell in gaming journalism has anything approaching that pedigree?

    #36 2 years ago
  37. MCTJim

    Good Riddance to bad rubbish…he had a tantrum..and skulked off. Bub Bye

    #37 2 years ago
  38. salarta

    I agree and disagree with Bleszinski this time. For once.

    I agree that I loathe the current system where completely changing old IPs to fit whatever modern gimmicks and trends sell sucks, and I’ve unfortunately seen it happen to every IP I loved and even the ones I merely respected. We need the industry to have people that are willing to try new things as new things, not slap them on old things, and not completely “reinvent” those old things as if the way they were was a cancer on society rather than a much-loved part of it. I also think we’ve gotten to a point where some people are punished far too harshly, and others not enough, purely because mob mentality says “I enjoyed playing it therefore it was a good thing and the people that made it are good” or “I didn’t enjoy playing it therefore it and the people that made it suck and should be punished.”

    On the other hand, saying a developer doesn’t need to take in community feedback and let it influence what’s being made is bullshit. Listening to criticism, even excessively harsh and mean-spirited criticism, is an opportunity to improve.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. fearmonkey

    I used to like Cliff but when he started supporting MS’s DRM then he lost my friendly opinion. If Fish wants to be a baby then let him be a baby. The guy looks hipster and acts like it, probably crying in his latte while the black keys is playing in the background.

    Cliff needs to go quiet for awhile, his constant appearances in articles and his opinions are getting annoying.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. bradk825

    @39 you have to consider a couple things about that though. First of all we are all well aware that DRM was misrepresented. If the game is to be installed on the HD, you can’t have people just installing it and reselling it while they keep playing. It was poorly messaged and most reporting on the subject came not from asking the source but regurgitating what people were saying in forums.

    Second, look at his point of view. He makes a game, spends a long time on it, they spend a lot of money, and he goes to a gamestop location for a promotional tour, and he sees a sign in the window that offers you a bonus to trade it back in within 5 days. They invite him to come out and then show him a sign that basically says they are going to steal his work 5 days after release. Someone waiting only 1 week to pick it up gets to buy it pre-owned. You don’t think a dev has the right to find that stuff upsetting?

    I wasn’t a fan of the idea of having an online check-in myself, but that doesn’t mean I will blind myself to the other side of the coin and refuse to think for myself. I recognize there are other points of view out there and I think people have the right to reap the benefit of their own work. (Let’s not forget Gamestop is ripping us off on trade value too, before we jump to their defence)

    #40 2 years ago
  41. xino

    lol…he’s been telling developers how to fix their games

    #41 2 years ago
  42. salarta

    @40: I was somewhat with you until you started saying letting people trade in a video game amounts to stealing someone’s work. It’s not. It’s a business transaction made by people that decide they want or need to keep a game after they finish it, and would like to ultimately have more money or get more good things. Not allowing a person to trade in a game by forcing them to retain ownership, and making it impossible to transfer that ownership onward (at least not without a working internet connection), is just plain wrong. I don’t care how badly someone working at a company wants to make more money off a game they made, that doesn’t supersede how a person that doesn’t want to keep a game forever shouldn’t be forced to keep it forever.

    As for the installation on hard drive, here’s an idea: for physical media, allow for hard drive install but include a slot where a card can be inserted for verification purposes. Each game comes with disc and verification card. Card stays in the slot, it shows ownership. There we go, no idiotic always-online or anti-used games element, and no need to keep a disc in the system. You’ve even got your DRM against pirates since a card would be much harder for a pirate to pull off than burning a disc, and set up right said card could only be read properly in the console.

    There’s a difference between understanding other viewpoints, and trying to force one’s own viewpoint on everyone. Bleszinski’s past comments were the latter, entirely self-absorbed, entirely motivated by his experience as a developer wanting to make as much money as possible. I mean, sure, I bet car companies would love to get more people to buy their own cars instead of sharing, but I don’t see them pushing for a system where the first owner can be the only owner of the car and their car requires their fingerprint or a retinal scan to open it up. And I certainly don’t see the people that come up with car designs lamenting how used car dealers are “stealing” their work by accepting used cars and reselling them.

    Bleszinski wants more people to buy more new copies of his games and keep them instead of trading them in, find a legitimate way to do it. Don’t demand that the industry punish consumers for daring to actually buy the games.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. Fin

    The rise of the angry gamer/passionate fan has been bad for the games industry.

    Instead of being able to make what they want, designers and developers are more and more frequently lambasted for their decisions by people who were never going to play in the first place, and love to get on the hate train.

    Did Phil Fish come across badly sometimes? Yes.
    Does fucking everyone in the world come across badly sometimes? Yes.
    Did it change Fez, or my opinion of Fez? Fuck. No.

    Ye’re all entitled cunts that like to jump up and down when there’s something you don’t like, regardless of whether you’re jumping on someone.

    #43 2 years ago
  44. Stardog

    “I have to say I’m not a fan of PR-orchestrated responses ”

    Yet this entire thing is just some PR for these two.


    #44 2 years ago
  45. TheWulf


    It’s not just that. Anyone can be passionate or weary. I certainly am all the time and, honestly, who the hell listens to me? Here’s the thing, though: Some people are manipulative about it, they’ll shepherd a fan flock to do terrible, awful things. I’m reminded of the ring leaders behind the BioWAre fiasco, which lead to death threats being sent to Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk.

    I think it’s anyone right to not like something as much as it is to like it. Especially if the market is super-saturated with boring franchises, milked for every last drop of worth they ever had. Creativity creates positive feedback, milking creates negative feedback, but I digress. The issue I have is when people start attacking the person for their game, instead of the game itself. Unless the person in question has been responsible for a lot of hate-speech, I don’t even see the need to mention them.

    Is Fez a decent game? Yes, Fez is a pretty decent game. One without an ending or a proper explanation for the lore, which stops it from being a very good game, but it’s definitely a decent game. It has its good points and it has its flaws. Does Phil Fish deserve to be attacked? Eh, not really. There are more horrible people on the Internet, spouting hate speech all the time. What gets me though is that people go after Phil Fish for being a bit of a hipster, and then ignore others who’re openly spouting anti-gay rhetoric.

    And this is due to the cult of popularity.

    I hate to say this, but most people are sheeple. It’s a truth. Sheeple and shepherds. The thing is is that not many people are actually self aware, they don’t ever stop to consider their own thoughts, and they just accept their thoughts on the way of things. Every day I take some time out to meditate on my own opinions and my leanings, and even if I dislike something I’ll still try it anyway just to make sure I’m not horrendously wrong. With a self aware person, you have two layers of thought — you have your everyday thinking, then you have the layer that examines your everyday thinking. That’s what separates a self aware person from a creature who’s just going through the motions.

    I could probably create a cult of popularity if I wanted to. But I don’t want to. I think they’re ugly, horrible things and a detriment to society as a whole. So what we have here is people gathering together under more charismatic, forceful, loud, more noticeable characters and just aping what they’re saying.

    I’d posit that not many people hated the Mass Effect endings, and those that did only did so because they were told to. How many of you go looking for reviews because you want to be told what to think? And that’s why I hate reviews, and I’m glad that VG24/7 doesn’t bother with them. I barely ever read them, and I tend to rely on word of mouth and my own ability to judge how much I might like something. So I won’t read a review and then jump on a preorder, often I’ll wait for something to release.

    And this is why we have the Phil Fish problem. Some ape attacks Phil Fish, and then it’s cool to attack Phil Fish, so the herd follows through. X person or X group is cool to attack, so the herd follows through. I fucking hate cults of personality, I hate that we’re so obsessed with fashion, and trends, and people telling us what to think and how to think it, and that we never… NEVER stop to question this. Ever.

    That pisses me off.

    Picking on Phil Fish is trending! Let’s all do that!

    X brand is releasing a new, overly expensive product! Let’s all buy it and ignore the better product because it doesn’t have a big name attached to it!

    I read a review by my cult leader that said this is great! I’m going to preorder it yesterday, because they said so!


    This is what leaves me furious at humanity, very often. WHY DON’T WE THINK ANY MORE? I don’t like Phil Fish, but you can follow the chain of what happened with picking on him. You have one charismatic, noticeable person picking on Fish on their blog and encouraging everyone to do it, and they do. You have one encouraging people to send BioWare death threats, and they do. It’s acidic, and toxic, and horrible. And what’s worse is that the personalities and celebrities in gaming tend to often be sociopathic at best.

    I don’t like Phil Fish much, but I don’t agree with witch hunts against him.

    We just need to think more, and let other people do our thinking for us less. Yeah, Phil Fish isn’t the nicest guy on the planet. He’s an introvert and a hipster, but he’s also creative and capable of making decent games. Is he worthy of being attacked like he has been? No. But hey, some gaming celebrities think so, so people do so.

    I’m sure I’ll be labelled as pretentious, or a hipster, or whatever else despite saying that I don’t like Fish. But I’ll tell you what’s special about me right now: I actually stop to think occasionally.

    That’s it.

    That’s my big secret.

    And you too can be a self-deterministic, self aware entity if you follow that one, simple step.

    #45 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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