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Why Fez Creator Phil Fish Abruptly Quit The Gaming Industry

Even though indie gaming darling Fez has been out for several years, the game continues to appear on new platforms and delight different audiences. Even though fans have been aching for Fez 2, that game might never come to light, even though it once seemed like an inevitability. Now, not only is Fez 2 cancelled indefinitely, but creator of the game Phil Fish has gone largely silent, though he still pops up occasionally to voice his opinions on video games, even his own.

No one expected Fez to be as popular as it is, and Fish suddenly found himself at the center of a larger conversation about the state of indie video games, even appearing in a documentary on the subject. Of course, increased fame invites criticisms from all angles. Enter Marcus Beer. 

Beer, who goes by the handle "Annoyed Gamer," is a game critic and web personality who criticized Fish and Jonathan Blow, the creator of Braid, for being "f***ing hipsters" who wanted to believe their opinions were more important than other indie creators.

Leaked info and justified anger

In a 2013 episode of Invisible Walls, a video podcast from GameTrailers.com, Beer cited Fish and Blow as the top indie developers who were always available for a statement, calling them the "self-styled kings of the indie genre." However, Beer didn't believe that title was deserved, and went on to rant about the pair.

Later that day, Fish locked his Twitter account, but not before announcing that Fez 2 was cancelled and he was leaving the game industry. Fish actually said that he wished video games "were a building so [he] could burn it down." Later, Fish's company Polytron confirmed that Fez 2 was indeed cancelled, and he disappeared.

There was another event that could have influenced Fish's departure from gaming, though. Before announcing Fez 2's cancellation, Fish released a series of panicked tweets, stating that he'd been doxxed by 4Chan. The leak of Fish's information was intended to be a punishment for his support of Zoe Quinn, the game developer at the heart of Gamergate. The combination of Beer's harsh criticism and the alleged doxxing proved to be too much for Fish, and he released a slew of tweets describing his frustration with the gaming industry.

Gone but not forgotten

Though Fish's tweets were later deleted, screenshots from his tirade against the gaming industry have been shared by GameFront. From the screenshots, it seems that some people were accusing Fish of other bad deeds, like abuse towards his ex. Since these screenshots only show one side of the story, it's hard to say for sure what happened on Twitter, but none of it was good.

A few years later, Fish worked on SuperHyperCube, a 2016 VR game produced in part by Polytron. Fish has otherwise remained relatively silent, only popping up every now and again to give his input into how the gaming world is managing without him. His Twitter account is still locked, and given his enraged departure from the industry, it's unlikely that Fish is working on Fez 2 from the comfort of his own home. 

It's impossible to know exactly why Fish decided to quit developing games altogether, but his tweets show that he was likely fed up with years of bad blood and seemingly treatment within the industry. Fez 2 isn't the only great game that never got a sequel, but it might be the most mourned.