Epic Can “F**k Off”

Using language that would make a pimp blush, Positech’s Cliff Harris has launched a blistering tirade at Epic’s Mark Rein.  In a panel at the Develop Conference in Brighton yesterday, Harris was putting forward the notion that smaller developers have the advantage of emailing customers directly – building a personal relationship to make a sale.

According to Harris’s blog the following happened;


“At this point, there was this derisive snort from this guy in the front row, who said something to the effect of ‘one guy? who cares, that’s a waste of time’. He then started to lecture us on how that’s a silly way to do it. I’m 95% sure that all four of us on the panel [which also included Robin Lacey(Beatnik), Sean Murray(Hello Games) and Mark Morris(Introversion)] thought ‘what the fuck?’ as well as ‘who is this guy’? compounded by Robin asking him if he worked in marketing.

‘Anyway… it turned out this guy was Mark Rein from Epic, although he seemed to assume everyone within earshot knew exactly who he was, and why he must obviously be right.”

Harris then went on to write the following;

“Mark Rein is a jerk.

Now I suspect this is not groundbreaking news, although it is to me, because I’ve never met him or even seen him before. However, this experience seems to confirm my opinions on Epic and companies like them in general. Now Mark may well look down on humble indies like me. He may well think I’m doing it wrong.

He may laugh when me and Mark discuss the pitiful money our companies make, and giggle at the fact that we reply to gamers on a one-on-one basis… But fuck him. I would rather earn minimum wage making indie strategy games for the PC, as my own boss, with an original game, satisfying a hardcore niche of friendly customers (the one-thousand-true-fans-philosophy), without a publisher telling me what to do, and without having to leave my house to go to work, without having to do ‘crunch time’ (because, dude… its like so macho to work until 3AM and never see your family)… Than I would work at epic for megabucks.

The sheer overwhelming stench of testosterone would probably give me a headcahe, combined with the dizzy excitement of exactly what shade of grey our next game’s space-marine would wear as he kicked alien butt. (I feel bad working on Gratuitous Space Battles for almost 2 years, but it seems like that old ‘wisecracking space marine with big muscles and chisel-jaw’ idea has been stretched out longer than the hundred years war).

I have absolutely no doubt mark would just naturally assume me feeling like that is jealousy, which, as anyone who knows me personally would testify, is just fucking funny. I really don’t care about Epic, and their games, as they are way way too macho and ‘dude’ for my liking, and don’t have demos, so I just assume they haven’t changed since Unreal Tournament. I try not to comment on games I don’t like, as each to their own tastes etc. The only reason I’m moved to give a damn enough to state my opinion, is that I resent having some triple-a studio jerk come and tell someone whose run a microstudio for thirteen years that he is doing it all wrong. If Mark from introversion suggests I’m doing it wrong, thats cool, he does what I do, and has some serious experience, ditto anyone on that panel, or anyone with long indie experience. And I listen carefully, often over lunch.

But Triple-A studio bosses trying to lecture me on how to communicate better with gamers? Fuck off.”

Harris wins – flawless victory.

Source: Cliff Harris’s blog



  1. LOL

  2. *yawn*
    maybe if Cliff Harris had contributed as much as Mark Rein has I would give a poo.

    Fact is Epic are constantly updating the UDK every month for developers, many many indie developers have used the Unreal Engine to create their ideas pretty easily.

    Saying that developers should keep in contact with their customers is quite frankly a waste of time.
    Also attacking someone personally for being too masculine is incredibly petty, I’m not exactly an Alpha Male with the body of a Norse God, but if you’re going to criticise someone, criticise what they do not how they are.

    • The Unreal engine is one of the things wrong with this gens gaming, everything looks the same, no matter if it’s an FPS, SSARPBC, Death Race or a third person adventure… everything has that Unreal ‘graininess’ to it and just looks generic as hell.

      There are some good uses of it, but they’re the exception rather than the rule.

      Heckling during a conference proves you’re a cock, especially when its a million miles away from your area of expertise.

      I’m only surprised that Harris didn’t mention that Rein’s biggest contribution to gaming was the million shades of brown that populate his ever more generic & samey games.

      • oh God I totally agree, heckling is stooping incredibly low.
        But, attacking someone on a blog instead of confronting them on their views when they said it is cowardice.

      • lets hope CryEngine 3 fix’s that.

    • But it’s not about how much you contribute but what you contribute and how you go about it. For example, the smaller games developers (like PopCap, Relentless, JustAddWater, thatgamecompany, etc) have often emailed me back or at least replied with an email that wasn’t automated. They’ve taken the time to get back to me just like I’ve taken the time to contact them. Even Insomniac got back to me and that was wonderful.

      I think Cliff Harris was basically looking for an angle on how to take the piss out of the generic muscle-bound leads with a charisma bypass. Possibly featuring in Epic’s titles. I wouldn’t know.

    • Erm, don’t customers keep you in business, so where is the waste of time in that? As an indy filmmaker the key thing for me is to know what my target audience wants…therefore I stay in contact with them so that my product will sell

      • id agree completely, but the games industry is a testament to the lesson – make something popular and no matter how much of a pray you behave; people will lap it up time and time again.

      • Yes,

        Declining franchises prove this like Tomb Raider & Sonic, although I suppose the same applies to other mainstream sequels like movies etc…

  3. I don’t know who this guy is. But I love him already.

  4. I wish these guys would get off the fence and tell us what they really think :)

  5. Wow, that’s pretty impressive. I don’t think I could stay pissed off at someone for long enough to write that much before getting over it. Respect to him, that Mark guy sounds like a cock.

  6. I like this guys attitude.
    I love it when people “Stick it to the Man” LOL!!

    • Agreed more people need to “stick it to the man”

  7. BOOM! You tell ’em.


    • *roars with laughter*… hahahaha! Mortal Kombat? I’m crap with beat-em-ups but that sounds superb! :-)

      • I was thinking Karate Kid just before Daniel kicked Johnny in the face

    • That made my day.

  9. Awesome, just awesome.

  10. God bless Cliffski, I really will have to get round to buying one of his games one day.

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