Cliffy B’s Open Letter For Phil Fish To Return

The back end of last week saw quite a remarkable episode unfold, as we covered over the weekend, the reporting in the run up to Microsoft’s self-publishing U-Turn saw Jonathan Blow and Phil Fish aggravated by the barrage of requests for comments.

Whilst they could have been more courteous in the way they declined to comment, the many people I’ve spoken to on the matter seem to agree that Marcus Beer’s tirade on the Game Trailers video podcast overstepped the mark by quite a margin. In doing so, he tipped Fish over the edge, as Fish then decided that the level of abuse he regularly gets was more than it was worth, cancelling Fez 2 alongside a very public explosion directed right back at Beer.


Whether you have sympathy with the controversial figure that Fish is, or not, it was particularly disappointing for fans of the first game that he felt he could not continue. Yet it’s certainly true that Fish was, and no doubt still is, the target of far more abuse than usual, through his outspoken nature. Regardless, I feel that Jonathan Blow’s comment in the aftermath of Fez 2’s cancellation is right on the money:

Being a public figure on the internet opens you up to a huge amount of abuse, and this is something which Cliffy B has tried to address, as he wrote in an open letter to Phil Fish. Within he calls for Fish to return to the games industry, and sharing some of his own experiences:

My first time being flamed online happened when I was 15 on a BBS the summer my father died suddenly from heart issues. I was learning how to code and I wrote a simple screen saver; one of those dancing multi colored lines programs. I released it to a BBS and someone anonymously posted “Your dead father could have coded something better.” I was furious, hurt, and I replied with an implied death threat. The website called my house and I got in trouble for the comment, but the damage was done.

Before closing his letter with:

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.

I personally agree, and think it’s a great shame that someone is pushed away from something they enjoy, creating games which so many people enjoy and love.

Source: Cliffy B, via Kotaku.



  1. Incidentally Fez is on the retro showcase on the xbox dash today.

  2. frankly, i’ve got sod all sympathy for fish.

    not any other week, and certainly not in the week when Stella Creasy gets death and rape threats for supporting putting a woman on a british bank note.

    and she isn’t quitting.

    if fish is that thin skinned that what Beer said drove him out of the industry, then he won’t last five minutes in a real job.

    how many people has fish slagged off anyway?

    the entire japanese games industry was one of his targets wasn’t it?

    but the way he handled this is telling as far as i’m concerned.
    having a strop and going off sulking is something children do.

    i don’t suppose he’ll give a stuff about all the people that bought his, one and only, game that’s still broken will he?

    and really the reason this whole thing started, refusing to answer questions about ms allowing self publishing.

    there’s an interview from a month ago.

    When I asked him this week what platforms he’s considering for the sequel, this is what he had to say:

    “Not Xbox.”

    he gives the reason solely as the lack of self publishing.

    but i guess it’s only ok to talk about it when he brings it up.

  3. It appears to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The media-facing industry is open to such sensational and vitriolic criticism it’s often hard to fathom. I, personally, don’t have one friend or family member in an industry where people can openly say such utterly disgraceful things to them.

    Everyone has a limit and this was his. The individual doesn’t realise that asking for something is met with twenty other duplicate emails/tweets asking for the same thing. Sure, he’s blunt to the point of “oh, here we go” but listening to Beer talk helped me see what really happened.

    The moment he said “it’s okay to be an arsehole” lost me completely. No, it’s NOT okay to be an arsehole. Ever! Sure, we might accidentally act like a tool from time-to-time but don’t ever, EVER try to justify being one. Beer is an uncouth, gobshite of a man and deserves nothing other than well-directed scorn.

    Finally, anyone issuing death threats on Twitter needs to be reported to the police. Simple as that. I’m reading, all too often, about people threatening others. The internet is a medium for us to communicate. Nothing more, nothing less. Grow up and act responsibly when you address people.

  4. Normally I’m not to fond of CliffyB, but that is well written and dead on.

  5. I know it’s not very open minded, and it’s not to say that I disagree with what he’s written (although the father of a major, overmilked, bro-mancing shoot fest like GoW needs to think bloody hard before having a go at CoD), but I’m absolutely effing sick of Bleszinski.

    The patronising, self aggrandising interludes that he insists not only on subjecting the world to, but also as if he’s some kind of mouthpiece for the gaming community, make my throat fill with bile every time unread about him.

    And any adult who nicknames themselves ‘Blitzball’ and intends to be taken seriously needs to have a long hard look at themselves…

    • *I read…


    • Yep. I have quite the problem with his attitude too but every now and again, he does speak something resembling common sense. I’m just not sure it’s worth listening to the other shite in between. :-)

Comments are now closed for this post.