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Fish flounces on Fez II, and that’s fine

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So, what’d you do this weekend? Have lots of fun, enjoying various summer activities with friends? Well, you missed some big Phil Fish and Fez II drama while you did. Here, let me catch you up on the whole situation. GameTrailers‘ Marcus Beer called out Phil Fish on his podcast, for not saying anything about the Xbox One indie self publishing situation. Harsh words were used, but that’s just how Beer rolls and anyone who’s used to is podcast should expect that kind of action.

Except, apparently, Fish didn’t appreciate it and took to Twitter. Fish’s Twitter account is set to private now, but as Kotaku pointed out by citing one of Beer’s tweets, Fish at one point in his diatribe against Beer told the man to kill himself. Which is uncalled for, but at least Beer took it well.

It was a fiasco, really. And the whole Fish/Beer thing could have been handled better and went better. But, while Beer acknowledged this and took the mature route, Fish flounced and canceled Fez II.

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Okay, I realize I should probably explain something, since that last sentence may have left some flummoxed. Namely, the “flounce” thing. I grew up during the LiveJournal years, so it’s part of my vocabulary, but the rest of you might not know what it means. It’s a verb used frequently in internet drama to describe when one party central to the drama, and usually responsible for it, suddenly quits everything in a response to current events. It’s an attention-grabbing ploy, designed to elicit sympathy from onlookers, vilify the other parties involved in the drama and hopefully draw attention away from the flouncer’s own bad behavior.

Fish has since said that he didn’t cancel Fez II because of this one argument. He then went on to post this at the Polytron Corporation its official blog,

“FEZ II is cancelled.
i am done.
i take the money and i run.
this is as much as i can stomach.
this is isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign.

you win.”

Personally, I say if it looks like a flounce, acts like a flounce and sounds like flounce, it’s a flounce. The “poetic” cancellation notice solidifies my stance.

Now, I don’t want to get into who was right and who was wrong in the initial confrontation. Both Beer and Fish acted like idiots. What I do want to say is that we shouldn’t be too upset that now Fez II (supposedly) isn’t going to happen.

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Look at it this way. We never saw Fez II screenshots or gameplay video. We never received updates on the development cycle. The original Fez took five years to make, so it was probably going to be another couple years before we’d actually get to play it anyways. At this point, all we had was the knowledge that, one day, Fez II would be a thing. We don’t have anything tangible to miss.

On top of that, look at how the creator of Fez II behaves. These are not the actions of someone who is a developer because he loves video games, his fans and the joy of creation. From what I’ve seen this weekend, these are the actions of someone who loves attention. Beer was out of line, but Fish was just as venomous in his interactions and has been the center of controversy before. I’d rather see 10 games from more professional, indie developers than see one from Phil Fish, after his behavior this weekend.

Besides, I don’t think this is over. I’ve been on the internet for about 16 years now. I’ve seen plenty of internet drama on message boards, LiveJournal, Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. I know how these things go. Every instinct in my body tells me Fish’s flounce is a ploy for attention. He may say Fez II is canceled, but I’d bet good money it isn’t. Once he sees enough outcry and gets the response he wants, he’ll come back and claim he’s going to make Fez II for his fans.

The whole Phil Fish and Fez II drama this weekend was regrettable. However, it happens, and from what I’ve read and heard about Fish, I get the feeling that it was inevitable. Yes, we’re not getting Fez II as a result, but it isn’t the end of the world. The original Fez is a fine, strong game on its own and the indie game scene is thriving, so it’s not like we won’t have some other amazing, quality game ready to step up into the now vacant limelight. Besides, if my hunch is right, we’ll probably still eventually see Fez II, someday.

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