GDC 2012: Japanese Developer Openly Mocked During Panel

    March 6, 2012

The Game Developers Conference is a place where those who work in the games industry can collaborate and work towards a brighter future in the games industry. This usually infers that the event is pretty positive, but things got downright nasty Monday night.

Develop is reporting that Phil Fish, an indie developer working on the constantly delayed platformer Fez, took part in a panel after the screening of Indie Game: The Movie last night at GDC. Fez was featured heavily in the film and he was there to talk about the movie and indie games in general. The report from Develop says that it started out as “an open and positive discussion about indie games.”

It’s reported that a Japanese developer took the mic to say a few comments. He expressed happiness that Japanese games had inspired so many independent developers as evidenced by the film. He then asked the panelists what they thought about modern Japanese games. Fish immediately replied with, “Your games just suck.”

What followed was a tirade of criticism regarding the design flaws of Japanese games. While I would have fled the room crying to only drown myself in a bottle of sake, the developer took the criticism like a boss. He then thanked the panel and sat down.

Develop reports that many people in the audience were criticizing Fish for his harsh comments. Though some probably agreed with him as Japanese games are usually the first to be brought to task for stagnation in the industry.

Developers have taken Fish to task on Twitter over his comments. Andrew Dice, one of the founders of Carpe Fulgur, a localization company that has proven there’s enormous value in indie Japanese games with Recettear, Chantelise and Fortune Summoners made his opinion on the matter known:

Robert Boyd, one of the founders of Zeboyd Games, the indie studio behind throwback JRPGs Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves the World, also criticized Fish.

Not everybody thought Fish was in the wrong, however, as many said the man was just expressing his opinion.

Fish has spent the day on Twitter clarifying what he meant by his comment.

This is probably going to be THE big scandal at GDC and people are probably not going to let it die. Fish is entitled to his opinion though as harsh as it might be. It will be interesting to see the fallout of this and any response from Japanese developers on the matter.

What do you think? Is Fish right in that modern Japanese games just suck? Or are there shining examples of Japanese game development that you feel should be praised? Let us know in the comments.

[Lead image: jeriaska/]